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Found 6 results

  1. In this post, I justifiably poked fun at the sports media for proclaiming every "next great thing" as "The [X] Jordan" - Harold Miner was "Baby Jordan," Tamir Goodman was "Jewish Jordan," etc. Len Bias could have been the next Michael Jordan, and was quite possibly the only player I've ever seen in my life who was *that good*. Like when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, I remember exactly where I was, and exactly what I was doing, when I heard the news of Len Bias's tragic death - the two events happened only six-months apart. To young people today: I realize it's premature to even infer such a thing, but Len Bias was one of the greatest college basketball players I've ever seen. When he was drafted by the Boston Celtics, and then died from an overdose of crack cocaine, none other than Red Auerbach (who said he'd been planning for *three years* to draft Bias for the Celtics), said the city of Boston had not been so shocked since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Larry Bird, who had urged the Celtics to select Bias, and who had uniquely made plans to attend the Celtics' rookie camp to work with him, said, "It's horrible. It's the cruelest thing I ever heard." At 6'8", Bias was bigger and stronger than Jordan, and had everything you could possibly ask for in someone of that height. He had no weaknesses that couldn't have been fixed in short order, and when I'm in my old age, I will be telling this same story. Len Bias had all the tools he needed to be one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived. It isn't so much that he would have been the *next* Jordan; it's that he would have been Jordan's primary competition: Just as we had Bird and Magic, we would have had Jordan and Bias - he *was* *that* *good*. "Remembering Len Bias 30 Years After His Death: 'He Was It.'" by Cindy Boren on washingtonpost.com
  2. "Naismith Hall of Fame Finally Does Right by Lefty and Votes in Driesell" by John Feinstein on washingtonpost.com Brian Magid's Facebook Status regarding the announcement Pam Driesell's Facebook Status regarding the announcement Some insider trivia: The Driesells lived right across the street from Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, MD - I went to school with Pam since 5th grade (when they moved up here from Davidson, NC), as well as Chuck (who played for Maryland), but here's the really esoteric, insider trivia: Their house was literally right next door to the family of Harold Solomon. who is the only tennis player from Maryland ever to be ranked in the World Top 10 (excluding Fred McNair in doubles) - the Solomons (with son Harold, and daughter Shelley) were, as incredible as they may sound, the best-of-the-best in terms of Maryland Tennis - now, having been next-door neighbors (although I think the Solomons might have moved to Florida before the Driesells arrived in the early 1970s) these two families can perhaps boast the only next-door homes whose family members are in the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame (although my former tennis coach, rival, and friend, Gil Scheurholz, who was ranked #1 in the United States in the 35-and-over division for several years, has a father *and* a grandfather who are both in as well - if you ever go to Camden Yards, look on the wall - they're both in there, and I assure you that Gi III deserves to be also - he is the most devastating tennis player I have ever faced in person; not the best, but the most devastating).
  3. I grew up reading about Anthony "Jo Jo" Hunter in the Sports pages, watched him win the MVP Award in the 1976 Capital Classic, and then had season tickets to the University of Maryland games, where he was a minor star, but never reached his full potential. Sometime in 2007 - "Set Him Free! - The Jo Jo Hunter Story" by Ryan Thorburn on dcbasketball.com Jan 16, 2013 - "The Comeback" by Dave McKenna on grantland.com Is this true?! If so, why haven't I heard *anything* about it? The only reason I found it is because I was doing some research to start a thread about Hunter. I'm not sure I believe it, because I can't find anything else about it, anywhere. Can anyone verify that Jo Jo Hunter is still with us? I would NOT assume the above link is true, as I cannot find *any* confirmation of it, and the local basketball community would have chimed in. <--- NOT true Notice also that the numeric date on that website says 5/23/2017, but the written date says April 23, 2017 - given that I cannot find anything else about it, this almost looks like one of his friends was playing a joke on him (maybe someone beat him in one-on-one on that date, and was taunting him?) More importantly, note that Hunter was absolutely not born in 1962 - if he played in the 1976 Capital Classic, he was born in the late 1950s: I can promise that he's older than I am, and I was born in 1961.
  4. If you have followed local sports for a fairly long time the name Steve Francis rings a bell. He grew up in this area, played 2 years of excellent JR college basketball and then one marvelous season at the University of MD, 1998-99 Following that season he was the 2nd choice in the NBA draft. He had several excellent seasons and then slowly succumbed to injuries and personal issues. At one point though probably stretching from that season at MD through about 5 years in the pros he was simply one of the more exciting dynamic basketball players or more narrowly guards in the NBA and the world. His athleticism was extraordinary and his game was accomplished Problems in his life emerged. He somewhat disappeared from public view. Here is his recent revelatory story of his life from selling drugs in his youth in Takoma Park to college, the NBA, and his life afterwards. It is remarkable: "I Got a Story To Tell" by Steve Francis on playerstribune.com
  5. From the wonderful thread, "The Agony of Defeat - The 1973 NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship Game": May 27, 2016 - "Maryland Lacrosse is in its Fifth Final Four in Six Years. It's No Longer Enough" by Roman Stubbs on washingtonpost.com The University of Maryland Men's Lacrosse team has reached the NCAA Finals for the first time since 1975. May 28, 2016 - "Terps Men Survive Brown in OT To Reach Lacrosse Final" by Roman Stubbs on washingtonpost.com
  6. "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" was the catch phrase of the long running TV show ABC Wide World of Sports, which officially ended in 1998 after a 30+ year run. This story is about the Agony of Defeat. I was reminded of it recently. I was stunned at the impact when I first heard it, and when recently reminded of the tale I was again struck by the long term impact. I attended The Johns Hopkins University. Among other attributes its known for its lacrosse teams, that have been national champions and challengers for a national championship decade after decade reaching back into the first half of the 20th century. During the period I was there in my 3rd and 4th years of college the team went to the National Championship game and lost in the finals. During the following year they won the National Championship. A good stretch. I was friendly with some of the players. This story involves a conversation I had with one of those players probably a dozen or so years after we had graduated. In my Senior year the team was very good, going undefeated through the season up to its final regular season game. The opponent was U of Maryland, the long time traditional rival and also undefeated. Maryland was ranked #1, Hopkins #2. As good as our team was they were crushing opponents all season, most of whom we both played. We had some great players. They had relatively speaking an entire team of great players including one that would probably be ranked among the handful of superstars over all time. Most of the players from the best teams knew one another through high school and summer leagues. The regular season match up was at College Park and drew a relatively huge crowd for a college lacrosse game. It had appropriately received a lot of press with the two teams, both undefeated, featuring terrific stars, and ranked #1 and #2. But woe was me....and the fans from my school. U Maryland might have had its best game of the season, and crushed Hopkins by a score of something like 18-5, possibly its most dominant victory of the year. The score might not have been representative of the U Maryland domination. From my perspective it was crushing and pathetic. Certainly the worst loss I ever saw Hopkins take, before and for a long after. The 2 teams went into the National Tournament ranked #1 and #2 and worked their way into the final game. Clearly Maryland was favored by a lot. They probably had one of the most dominant seasons of any team in any year, pummeling virtually all opposition. But in the final game Hopkins unveiled a surprise, to Maryland, to Lacrosse at that time, and to all the fans at that game: a slow down. It worked. Hopkins' most skilled players would hold the ball for endless minutes and pass among its most skilled players. It totally stymied U Md's dynamic team over the course of the game. At the end of regulation the score was tied, 9-9 I believe; a complete shocker to all, but a great thrill to those of us cheering for Hopkins. Overtime was sudden death; first goal wins. At a point in the play an attempt at a clear was fumbled at roughly mid field and it appeared as if virtually every non-goalie of both teams was bunched around that part of the field. Suddenly one of the Hopkins Defense men raced through the entire scrum, cleanly picked up the ball and burst down the field unobstructed, unguarded, ahead of the pack and aiming at the goal. A lacrosse field is roughly the same size as a football field so he had 40, 50 60 yards to the goal, but was far ahead of any other player and had only the goalie to beat. That was the "old friend" I ran into at lunch in DC, possibly around a dozen years after we had graduated. We weren't great friends but had mutual friends, had probably hung out together, partied together, were at the gym together. He was in the class after mine and was a starting defense man on that subsequent team, being a starter on a National Championship team. Good for him. Anyway we ran into one another in DC at lunch one day possibly a dozen years after he or I had graduated. An unexpected pleasure and get together. We caught up about our own lives and referenced various people we both knew. I had been in more contact with someone with whom he had been friendlier and I could give him some updates on this mutual friend and how to get in touch with him. At the end of the lunch I asked him about that play, referenced above. Here is what occurred. He burst past every other player and had a clear run to the goal. He was pretty fast so nobody from the Maryland team could catch him. As a defense man he carried a very long lacrosse stick; good for playing defense, poking at the other teams offensive players, good for disrupting passes and shots and picking up ground balls, but terrible for accurate shooting. He probably had not taken a shot all year or had done so extremely rarely. Defense men don't shoot. As he approached the opposition goal the Maryland goalie stepped out to try and cut angles. My friend while still a distance away, but reasonably close reared up and fired a shot. It was slightly high and slightly wide. It got past the goalie but just missed scoring. The missed opportunity of a lifetime. Maryland recovered the ball, got it down field, ultimately fed their super star of super stars. He angled by a clump of players, was somewhat obscured from view from the Hopkins (first team All American) goalie, shot and scored. Game over. University of Maryland wins. Utter joy on one side. Utter despair on the other side. Now my friend had been a critical and positive starting player on a National Championship game in the following year. Bully for him. Regardless, I had to ask him about the shot at the game we lost. He looked at me. Despair in his eyes. He said something like this: "Dave, I think about that shot EVERY NIGHT". Every freaking night. Imagine that. About 12 years after the event. Count them up; Over 4,000 nights. That is the agony of defeat. Anyway I recently heard a postscript. That shot doesn't haunt his evenings any more, or so I heard. Good for him!!!!!!!!!
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