McDermott Starts Off 3-0
So the new look Cyclones are off to a 3-0 start after sweeping the field in the Cyclone Challenge this weekend. When looking at the caliber of opponents, one might say "big deal." It is a big deal for this young team.
I saw a lot of things this weekend that gave me encouragement that this team will compete in the Big 12 this season. Not to win it of course, but to be a solid mid-pack team.
The first thing that impressed me
was junior Michael Taylor. With
Jessan Gray was a pleasant surprise to me. On Saturday night against Louisiana Monroe, Gray had nine points in only 12 minutes of play. He's doing that all with basically one hand. On top of that, Gray has missed two weeks of practice so he's still not in game condition. He can only get better.
It wouldn't be right to talk Cyclone basketball without mentioning the two Johnson's. First of all, let me say this. Wesley Johnson is one of the most talented freshmen I have ever seen. He is a natural on the offensive end. He's lengthy, he can shoot, and his freakish vertical doesn't hurt anything. I think he'll struggle playing the four against Big 12 teams though.
Cory Johnson, like I've said all
along is Greg Brunner, but a better shooter. There's something about when
Johnson is out on the floor, this team just looks like they're tougher. The kid
is a bruiser and he'll be a crowd favorite for the next four years at
Greg McDermott said after the game on Saturday that defense and rebounding will allow this team to be competitive. From what we've seen so far, this team has the attitude to do both of those things successfully.
I know one thing, I can't wait.
Thanks Coach Mac
Like many of his players over the
years here at
When I was a blurry-eyed freshman
Talk about getting my feet wet early.
I was a green reporter working for the school magazine, interviewing McCarney about my best friend Adam Carper. The piece was going to be a feature on the life of a high school football recruit.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. The interview was set on a foggy Friday morning at 8 a.m. I didn't sleep the night before. I was nervous, anxious, excited and flat out scared all in one. Not to mention I was in the dorms at that time and we all remember how they are on a Thursday night.
I showed up about 15 minutes early for the interview. Coach Mac wasn't in his office yet but his secretary Betty assured me that he would be showing up soon. Eight o'clock rolled around and there still wasn't any sign of the coach. Around that time the phone rang. It was Mac telling Betty that he was running a little bit late.
Of course, I was cool with that. Sooner or later the man walked in. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and went into his office.
I think I was more in aw of his
office than I was of him.
We started the interview and for the most part I feel like I did a decent job for being a rookie. It's funny to look back on it now. I bet I said the word um about 50 times in that 20 minute interview.
As we wrapped up the interview, the two of us got up and approached his door to leave. Mac said as enthusiastically as ever, "nice job buddy, you were really professional, like you've been doing this for years."
If only Mac knew how much those words meant to an 18 year old kid trying to get a start in a very hard business.
For that single day, I thank you Coach McCarney. Thank you for making every person who you talk to, feel like they're the most important person in the world at that moment in time.
For that, you will be forever
missed here at
No matter where my career takes me from here, that first interview with Dan McCarney will always be very special to me.