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For all the WSU grads on the west side of the state, hard to listen to UW’s Mike Hopkins, as Seattle media plays lap dog

POOR MIKE HOPKINS. The new Husky basketball coach has had to fight so hard in life to get ahead. And so for all the WSU grads living on the west side of the state, for the umpteenth time, a misleading narrative makes it hard to pick up the paper or turn on the radio.

He was forced to grow up in an upper-class Orange County neighborhood dubbed “idyllic” by one news outlet.

This son of a prosperous business owner was forced to attend Mater Dei, a prestigious private college prep school.

He was forced to hop a plane in high school to attend a hoops camp across the country where a guy like Jim Boeheim could see him.

It’s been tough to be Mike Hopkins. To listen to the UW’s new head man talk about himself, you’d think his life was nothing but a hardscrabble climb out of a shack with a dirt floor.

“The self-described underdog,” says the Seattle Times.

“I always had to fight for everything,” says Hopkins.

Strike up the violins. This is a modern-God-damn-Charles Dickens fable here, folks.

The tale of how mom made him get out of bed one morning as a kid to help dad wash the car, well, that just screams true grit.

Hopkins came off like a polished poseur who has been afforded every head start in life.  He talks—with a straight face—like he’s Horatio Alger. The phrase delusional martyr comes to mind.

The story about the inspiration he found in the diligent security guard at one of his dad’s new plants blares out “I will not be denied.”

And the sheer drama of playing driveway games with childhood pal Chris Patton, who was a nationally ranked prospect. Oh, the humanity.

This is a classic case of a guy being born on third and thinking he hit a triple. There’s nothing wrong with being born on third. Lots of great people are. It’s the phantom triple that doesn’t work.

Hopkins told Syracuse’s Daily Orange in 2015 that he turned down various head coaching jobs over the years because there are only five to 10 truly great jobs in college basketball and he wasn’t going to soil himself — like so many of his contemporaries — at a place as pedestrian as a Charlotte or St. Bonaventure.

Curiously, when he ticked off those five to ten dream schools, he didn’t mention Washington.

The guy is a salesman.

And yet the Seattle media— dutifully playing its lap dog role for the UW — is fawning over his “charismatic”  and “striking” introductory press conference (one no doubt crafted in part to better recruit Seattle-area prospects).

Hook, line and sinker they parrot the nonsense. An up-from-the-boot-straps journey to head coach in a Power 5 conference.

Oh, the determination. The tenacity. The pluck.

I’ll give you a moment to dab at the tears in your eyes.

Yes, “Hops” — as one of Seattle’s sports radio personalities chummily calls him — may be a smart, hard-working guy with some personality. But nothing would indicate that at the outset.

What instead has been conveyed is that Mike Hopkins was born with a silver spoon in his mouth — and not only does he not know it, he seems to actually believe he had a hard road to hoe.

For the Zima and Brie cheese crowd at the UW, maybe that’s a perfect fit.


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