Friday, January 27, 2012

Three For All

TigerBlog gets a billion emails a day. Okay, not exactly a billion. Maybe it's just a few million.

Most of them are deleted immediately, since they're obviously worthless. They actually make TB wonder how his email address ended up on some of these distribution lists, as in "who sold them TB's email address?" The government has to be involved, right?

TB often thinks back to communications he had earlier in his life, in the pre-email days, and wonders how he ever put up with it.

For instance, back when TB first started working here, he used to have to actually mail photos back-and-forth with other Ivy League schools, especially for football game programs.

TB still has nightmares about having to piece together head shots, captains shot, four actions shots, head shot of the University president and athletic director and then send them off to Dartmouth, lest the late, great (and highly intimidating) Kathy Slattery not have them in time for her deadline.

TB remembers one time when Slattery called to remind him that she hadn't received that package, and TB went into Ralph Kramden mode, because he knew he had completely forgotten to do it.

These days, of course, there are no such things as actual photos, at least not in the athletic communications realm. Everything is digital and emailable.

Of course, the flip side of that is that the phone doesn't ring as much and as a result, interpersonal communication has suffered radically. As much as Slattery and TB would butt heads, there was still something nice about hearing her voice on the other end of the phone, even it was to scold TB.

These days, email have taken all that away. TB's phone rarely rings, and he can't remember the last time he had a conversation like the ones he used to have with Slats.

Most emails, as TB said, get deleted with out ever having been opened. Of the rest, a few are kept for a long time, and TB has emails archived from as far back as Sept. 9, 2003, an email from former publications director entitled "back in the day" and beginning with "You know you worked in the OAC in 2001-2002 if ..."

The message then has a bunch of bullet points, which, if you did work here then, makes you crack up like few other things can and if you didn't work here, makes you say "what's funny about that," such as:
* You get there early to make sure you get Tuna
* You're sure the record book is updated
* You've actually talked about squash at the water cooler
* You love Luis

Every now and then, TB gets an email that's a little out of the ordinary, such as the one the other day from a newspaper looking to put a story out that includes the No. 1 three-point shot in the history of each Division I school's men's basketball program.

Princeton has made as much out of the three-point rule (which turns 25 this year) as any team. The Tigers have made at least one three in every game since the rule's enactment, and Pete Carril recognized early the value of taking three points for a shot that his team had been getting two for for years anyway.

The Tigers have had some great three-point shooters, guys like current assistant coach Brian Earl, Sean Jackson, Bob Scrabis, Gabe Lewullis, C.J. Chapman, Mike Bechtold, Chris Marquardt, Matt Lapin and through today to Douglas Davis.

Even big guys like Steve Goodrich, Judson Wallace, Chris Young and others were reliable from the outside, a fact that was not lost on the media in Honolulu when Princeton played in the 1998 Rainbow Classic. Bill Carmody was asked about it, and his response, with TigerBlog next to him:
"You have to be able to hit the three-pointer here. Everyone in the program can. Our SID can."

So for all of the threes that Princeton has made, what was the biggest? And who made it?

TB began to think of a few of them, big shots at big times. Then he considered that it had to have huge historical significance, and then it was obvious that there were two of them.

And they were both by the same guy. In a span of a week. In 1996.

So it should be pretty obvious that TB is talking about Sydney Johnson.

The first was in the playoff game against Penn at Lehigh, when Johnson hit a three from the corner with a minute to go to snap a 54-54 tie and put the Tigers on top for good.

The second came in the NCAA game against UCLA, when Princeton fell behind 41-34 after a 7-0 UCLA run.

Johnson hit a long three-pointer that made it 41-37, and it was that shot as much as anything that set the tone for the rest of what happened. Johnson's shot was from well beyond the three-point line, and it came just after Charles O'Bannon missed a layup.

Instead of being up by nine, UCLA suddenly found itself up by only four.

So which shot was bigger?

TB will go with the one in the playoff.

As much as people remember the win over UCLA, imagine how different so many things would have been had Princeton not beaten Penn.

And if Johnson's shot didn't go in and Penn got the rebound? Who knows.

So there you have it. TB's choice for the top three-pointer in Princeton history.

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