What’s Not to Love?

God, I love these guys.

Honestly, what’s there not to like about our men’s basketball team? They shoot the lights out. They dominate the glass. They play D like hound dogs. They’re unselfish, classy, hard working, relentless and they’ve got ’em. You know, them. They’re Awesome baby, and that’s with a capital “A.”

Wait, I found a flaw: They don’t have a 6’8″ Indian. Oh, never mind.

But seriously, watching these guys play basketball is a pleasure. They made it easy (well, maybe not easy) to wake up this past Sunday morning after 100 Days and drive to Amherst on a few hours’ sleep to watch the NESCAC final. And, of course, they made the trip worthwhile by exorcising the demons of that gym and sticking it to the ‘Herst.

Everyone who has seen them play knows how Tim Folan ’03 can get hot in the blink of an eye. And I’m talking when he gets Rachel Hunter-like hot. You don’t think that there is a chance the shots are going in because he’s shooting before he’s even facing the basket. But at the same time, we never have any doubt he’s hitting nothing but nylon.

They have the best point guard in the league, maybe even the nation. Mike Crotty ’04 makes everyone else on the floor a better player, and everything he does is fundamentally sound. You’ll rarely, if ever, see him dribble through his legs or behind his back. But he doesn’t have to; he just beats you the old fashioned way.

Drew DeMuth ’03 works harder and longer than the Energizer Bunny. Ben Coffin ’04 gets more double-doubles than Tim Duncan, and who doesn’t love his calf-high tube socks? Tucker Kain ’05 doesn’t miss from downtown. Jaris Cole ’05 has a crossover that can break ankles. The list goes on and on.

How can you not respect a team that is 26-1 and whose leading scorer is averaging 12 points a game on a team that averages 83! Every game has a new hero, and that goes beyond the starting five. Their backups could make a run at the NESCAC. Head Coach Dave Paulsen ’87 legitimately has 12 players that he can shuffle in and out and the Ephs do not miss a beat.

The funny thing is, despite the sensational offense, their defense is what they pride themselves on. They play man-to-man as well as Jimi played the guitar (Sorry Jaypo). Anyone want to try and drive on Chuck Abba ’04? Or take it to the rack with Sumant Bhat ’03, Coffin, or Demuth waiting there to greet you?

Bottom line is that they are just fun to watch. They epitomize the team concept. The great thing is, we all have a few more opportunities to watch them. With the #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Ephs have home-court advantage until the Final Four.

You know what that means? That means Chandler Gym should be packed for every game with loud, screaming fans. We shouldn’t need Amherst to get excited and rowdy. These guys deserve our support because they certainly have earned it.

So let’s fill the gym for every game from here on out. Let’s chant and cheer and clap and make life hell for the opposing team. Let’s make 1,000 more Bhat-masks. And let’s burn the Thunderstix while we’re at it.

This isn’t just about basketball either. This is about school spirit. This is about supporting your classmates and your friends. They’ve worked their fannies off and we should support them as much as we can in this final stretch.

The prize is staring you straight in the face boys. Now go out and get it.

TEEING OFF

This past week, a pitcher on the baseball team went to the trainer’s room and asked for a quick shoulder massage because he was a little stiff. He was told that shoulders are one of the muscles that the trainers will not be massaging. Are you joking? Does this make any sense to anyone? The baseball team has either the second or third most participants on a spring team at this school. And since throwing is kind of an important part of the game, wouldn’t it make sense to offer proper treatment to arguably the most important body part that a baseball player has? There are major problems at the head of the training staff. Major problems.

Quote of the week, courtesy of David Wells and his autobiography: “As of this writing, 15 men in the history of organized baseball have ever thrown a perfect game. Only one of those men did it half-drunk, with bloodshot eyes, monster breath and a raging, skull-rattling hangover. That would be me.”

Quotes of the week runner-up, courtesy of Mike Tyson: “I don’t know, I had bronchitis. I’ve had bronchitis many a time. I was born with it.” And: “I went to a strip club and gave a dancer a lap dance. That’s what I do. I do what I wanna do.”

Assuming he gets enough official at-bats, Barry Bonds will hit .400 this year.

This week’s award for People Who Should Be Drilled By Office Linebacker Terry Tate: Manhattanville women’s basketball player Toni Smith, for refusing to face the American flag during the National Anthem before every game this season. I realize that people have freedom of speech, but come on. She’s going to a credible four-year college and playing a sport. I’d say that America has offered her plenty of opportunities she couldn’t dream about elsewhere, wouldn’t you?

Play of the week: Coffin’s turnaround, fadeaway J with 30 seconds left in the NESCAC final against Amherst to put the Ephs up by four and virtually seal the game.

Anyone who says Michael Jordan has nothing left: Did you see him in overtime last Thursday night? He is still the man.