Monday, January 11, 2010

This week in The Washington Post

Here are this week's articles The Washington Post, both focused on college basketball.  Today's column was on George Washington, and over the weekend I wrote about Connecticut's Jim Calhoun.

The following is today's article --------

With 8 minutes 24 seconds left in the game Sunday at Smith Center, George Washington's Hermann Opoku had just made two free throws to give the Colonials a 60-50 lead over Xavier. GW had finished the first half strong to take a 41-30 lead and the margin had stayed between seven and 11 points throughout the second half.

That's not enough, Colonials Coach Karl Hobbs thought as he glanced at the scoreboard.

"I knew at some point in the second half we had to get the lead to 14," he said after the game. "I knew Xavier was too good and too experienced a team for us to keep stopping their offense the whole day. After we got to 60, I kept looking up and we were still on 60. It felt like we were there a long time."

They were there for more than five minutes. By the time Aaron Ware made a free throw with 3:04 left, Xavier had the lead and the Musketeers never looked back, cruising to a 76-69 win. In all, Xavier outscored GW 20-1 over a stretch that last nearly eight minutes.

Click here for the rest of the column: GW has spice, needs seasoning

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Some losses are tougher to take than others. As the celebration began Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center in the seconds after Georgetown's stunning 72-69 victory over Connecticut, Jim Calhoun walked through the handshake line, a blank look on his face, probably not even seeing any of the players or coaches he was congratulating.

"I've just never gotten to the point where a loss doesn't tear me up," he said. "I still feel as if I've failed whenever we lose. My friends will say to me, 'Don't you know how much you've done?' My answer is, no I don't. Not when I've got Georgetown to play at noon today. I stay in the present."

Calhoun actually said those words about three hours before Saturday's tip-off. As he spoke, he easily might have passed for just another visitor to the nation's capital, someone looking to stay inside on a frigid morning. He already had worked out and was sipping a cup of coffee while his players sat quietly around him eating their pregame meal.

Click here for the rest of the column: Connecticut's Jim Calhoun still loves coaching

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article on Calhoun. I've never really known what to think of him (in the southeast we don't get tons of coverage), as you hear great stories of him behind the scenes but what you see most of the time, he isn't necessarily shown in the best light and doesn't come off great. There are a lot of other guys that fall in that 'tweener range for me, as Calhoun does, where I know they are great coaches, but am not entirely sure what to really think of them. Its amazing, even ones at the top of their game, can stay somewhat shielded nationally.

Thanks for the profile, or quasi profile, of him.

charles pierce said...

When I was covering college bb in Boston in the 1980's, my coaches were the 'Houn, Gary Williams, Mike Jarvis, and Frankie McLaughlin over at Harvard. This was as good as the beat gets. The first three would spend time bad-mouthing each other, and then Frank would tell me that they were all right.
My favorite Calhoun moment came in the late Reggie Lewis's senior year, when a tourney-bound Northeastern team got beat at home by a UNH team that was about 4-259. Calhoun came out and told me and Jackie McMullan, "We stunk. I have nothing to say. Write whatever you want." Then, he chased us down the hall and talked for another 45 minutes, pausing every 8th or 9th sentence to remind us that he had nothing to say.
Longest "No Comment" in journalism history.

Ed Tracey said...

After Connecticut won its second national title, (Calhoun) was invited to throw out a first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He politely declined. "I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan," he said. "I wouldn't feel right doing it."

Jim Calhoun just rose several ranks in my estimation.