TheBeagle's NCAA Tourney / Bobcats @ Blazers weekend
The latest from long time BobcatsPlanet member TheBeagle on his March Madness / Charlotte Bobcats weekend.
A crazy, bewildering, fun whirlwind weekend wraps up. My love of the NCAA tournament and Tar Heel basketball is not something I conceal, so the fact that this past weekend played out like it did would be incredible in and of itself, but add in to that the fact that my dad's old Army buddy (whose name I won't drop here, out of modesty and privacy) who is longstanding icon of the Philadelphia sportswriting and talk-radio scene was in town to cover the regionals in Charlotte. I can't even begin to explain the stories this guy has to tell, the people he's spoken with, the person he was talking to in the living room Friday night (!!!!) on his cell......just a trip!! (I think I now have more dirt on the AI-Larry Brown feud than any professed NBA analyst that's ever been employed at ESPN.)
Just a quickie: his forte is college basketball (covered every Final 4 since '92, but a handful before that), but even in Philly he was surprisingly well-versed in our Bobcats. Covering Penn State basketball, he told me he was able to talk to JRich individually a handful of times when Michigan St played Penn St, and he said he is as genuine and good-natured as he comes off on-camera. Like us, he thought it was a great draft day trade for us when it went down. He's a gamer who's purpose is to continue to improve and help his teams win games. Like everyone else, he loves Jared, and told me he was the steal of the draft. Matt Carroll is the man; he went to high school 5 minutes from where the guy lives, and he knew the family very well. He was closer to his brother, Pat, since he went to St. Joe's, but was very high on Matt and you could tell he was proud how hard the hometown Philly native worked to make it to where he is now. He was shocked at how little development Emeka has shown since UConn days, but he really thinks it has to do with such poor coaching since he's been here...but there's no coaching that can improve stone hands. He's still high on Raymond and says everyone should calm down (the family friend telling me this is not a native Philadelphian, obviously, which explains his even keel and patience with athletes) and realize how much better of a PG he really is compared to the majority of PGs out there. He absolutely loves Gerald and thinks he's one of the most freakish athletes in the league, and that he his actually a lot more well known around the country than I thought, which is a good thing; he deserves national recognition.
Well, due to sleep deprivation, he had to head off to sleep before the Sonics game was over, wishing them luck. At the time they were down by 1, and through persistence, they pulled it out and we won 2 in a row!
Saturday, through some miracle or another, he's able to get me and my dad seats in Sec. 103 for the game, while he's sitting on first row media table directly across for the Louisville bench. After some drama, and lots and lots of standing (no one sat down in the second half in the lower bowl that I know of), the Heels pull it out, and we get a really good view of the celebration and ritual net-cutting....that never gets old, even if it's not the final net-cutting. Anyhow, we hang around, and the friend comes out and gives us his pressbook with all kinds of awesomeness in it (if you're into sports collectible stuff that you can't just go out and buy), and tells me I'm two for two that night. I smile and ask him what he means, and he tells me the 'Cats just won their 3rd straight!!!
Me and dad didn't get home 'til 2am (which isn't all that late to me, but due to the craziness of the last few days, and lack of enough sleep) and we were worn slap-out, but damned if that wasn't the best weekend I've had in recent memory.
I finished watching the Blazers game a couple hours ago, and I was amazed at the team I saw out there in the 4th. Sure, Roy was out, but the Blazers were gunning hard for this game, trying to get a win, and we took their best shot, and with stellar defense, and Raymond, chanelling Hansbrough and March's past, put us on his back and we finish with an unexpected 3-1 road trip.
Wow, such a shame the players didn't have the coach they needed, cause I know this is a playoff team. We're every bit as good as Atlanta, and not far off from Toronto, Philly and Washington to boot. Oh well, some answers are starting to become clearer, and maybe with a change here and there, and a ping pong bounce here and there, next year will be what this year was supposed to have been!