Almost Tip-Off Time!

October 12, 2007 |

This is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year as a sports fanatic.  The NFL is in full swing, college football keeps providing great theater in the form of remarkable upsets, and the LCS is under way.  There’s even NHL going on for all the puckheads (a small subset in this area, for sure).  Even the NBA is in preseason.  So many choices as a fan, it’s like a buffet on a cruise ship right now.  But my favorite sport of all officially gets under way tonight.

Maryland basketball is back!  Maryland Madness is tonight at Comcast Center, and it marks the beginning of real practices.  In less than a month, the Terps’ season begins against North Florida.  And I, for one, cannot wait!  Especially after attending my first media day yesterday, and having the opportunity to meet and interview the coaching staff and players.

I must confess that Terps hoops is my earliest childhood sports love.  My first distinct sports memories are of my father taking me to Cole Field House in 1974 to watch UM play UNLV.  More than any other sport or team, I identify with Maryland basketball.  It’s always been there, the teams have always been interesting and competitive (yes, even under Bob Wade, but more for comic relief) and I’ve never once had to worry about them packing up and moving in the middle of the night.  This may strike some of you as heresy, but when the Terps won the National Championship in 2002, it meant more to me as a lifelong sports fan than Super Bowl XXXV.  Honestly, I’m that way. 

So yesterday was an extremely special day for me.  I had lunch with Johnny Holliday, spoke at length with Keith Booth (one of my All-Time Terps Starting Five) and reminisced with Michael Adams about watching him play at Boston College when I was a student at Northeastern University.  Adams played for Gary Williams, and NU was coached by Jim Calhoun and starred Baltimore’s own, the late, great (and I mean great) Reggie Lewis.  Those were great times and great games played by quality players and teams.  Reggie Lewis was just an exceptional college basketball player; if the three-pointer had existed in 1985, he would have averaged 30 points a game.  He was that good.  And Coach Adams was no slouch himself!

Coach Williams seemed relaxed and candid.  I get the impression, from both him and all of the players, that they’re excited and embrace the idea of being unknown and young.  There was a quiet confidence among them, a sense of trust in each other, that they have every intention of matching last year’s 10-6 ACC campaign and improving upon it.  Even the freshmen spoke like veterans; they aren’t satisfied with just being Terps, they want to continue the tradition of excellence that Coach Williams has established in College Park.

So if you’re a college hoops fan, and in particular a Terps fan, keep checking WNST.net this weekend for the audio clips of all my interviews from yesterday.  And I know Nestor shot plenty of video for wnstV, so look for that soon as well.  And when I make my return to the airwaves following the TU football season, I’m planning a college baketball show for the weekend of Thanksgiving, November 24.  If you’re a college hoops junkie like me, be sure to tune in that day; I’ll have guests on the phone and (hopefully) in studio. 

In the meantime, enjoy the audio clips and the video!

mark@wnst.net

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