(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Greatest College Basketball Game in a Long While

Was played yesterday in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The Vols had kicked their best player off the team and suspended 3 others. Others were injured or in foul trouble, and a walk-on with a name that belongs more in a law firm that handled your grandfather's estate than on a hoops floor nailed a 3 during crunch time to help the Vols upset #1 Kansas. You can read the recap from here.

It's not everyday we hold as equivalents character and NCAA Division I sports. But Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl and the Vols' administration took a stand -- at great cost to their program -- and they were rewarded with the type of effort that should epitomize college sports. They're not always supposed to be about the exploits of the kid who was identified as the star when he was 12 years old. On occasion, they're supposed to be the stories of walk-ons such as Sklar McBee, the player who hit the critical 3-pointer. Sure, McBee probably went into the season figuring that he'd add value as a gung-ho, happy-to-be-there practice player, but yesterday he showed that he's much more than that. The kid shined on a national stage.

Which makes you wonder what if everyone -- from boosters to your average alums to athletic directors, coaches and players -- had the attitude of the walk-on or lightly recruited player who's told up front that he'll have little chance of the bright lights and playing time but who shows up day after day and gives his all?

What would all college sports -- and particularly the revenue sports -- be like?

Hats off to the Tennessee Volunteers for one of the great character moments in the recent history of college basketball and the NCAA.


Anonymous coach basketball said...

Thank you very much for sharing this cool post about The Greatest College Basketball Game in a Long While! Keep posting! and keep playing basketball!:)

1:58 AM  

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