Saturday, April 04, 2009

PRE-GAME PRIMER: Spartan Surroundings

Greetings from courtside at Ford Field, where a sea of green is poised to greet the "home" UConn Huskies for tonight's Final Four matchup. There were a lot of Sparty fans out on the streets of Detroit on my walk to the arena this afternoon, and as people still file into this cavernous stadium, it appears a lot of them will be in the building tonight.

But, as evidenced by the accompanying picture, there are plenty of UConn fans here, too.

Some sights and sounds from courtside:

***Magic Johnson just walked by, sporting his Sparty green. He had some fun with the UConn student section, which didn't seem to mind that he was wearing Michigan State gear and, rather, seemed awed by his presence.

***While an assistant coach at UMass, current UConn assistant Patrick Sellers recruited Michigan State's Goran Suton hard. Sellers even called up Suton's mother and introduced himself in her native Bosnian language, saying something to the effect of "I played basketball, too." Then, Michigan State went after Suton, who lived in Lansing, Mich. at the time, and he wound up going there.

***UConn had a hard, 50-minute practice at Wayne State University on Friday morning, before its open workout at Ford Field. Sellers said Stanley Robinson has been particularly impressive in practice lately, in every aspect of the game.

***Robinson's pre-taped message on the big screen: "This is Sticks, and welcome to the NCAA Final Four. Let's have some fun out there."

***Took a wrong turn on the way to courtside and walked by the visitors' locker rooms. Standing outside of the Michigan State locker room was Steve Mariucci, the former San Francisco 49er head coach who is close friends with fellow Upper Peninsula native Tom Izzo.

***Spotting UConn president Michael Hogan in the stands while the crowd was still sparse a good 90 minutes before tip-off, the UConn student section broke into a chant of "Hogan! Hogan!" Didn't realize he was so popular.

***Congrats to UConn radio man Joe D'Ambrosio, new (occasional) radio voice of the New Britain Rock Cats (he'll do about 50-60 games this season for WTIC and/or


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dave, have to wonder, since youre a providence native, are you a uconn fan?

9:28 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

I grew up a Providence College fan, but can honestly say I have no real rooting interest in any team anymore. Still love college basketball and baseball, just not particularly attached to any one team.

As a writer, you try to remain as neutral as possible (though you tend to root for the team you cover to do well, as it makes for better stories and, of course, better road trips).

11:50 PM 

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