Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Buzz In Jadwin

TigerBlog went to the start of women's basketball practice Monday to meet up with a television crew that was going to be there to do a story on the Tigers.

Then it snowed, and they never showed up. That was okay. It gave TigerBlog a chance to experience the great center of activity that Jadwin becomes on your average weekday at 4:30.

The women were on the main court. The men were on a side court. Track runners were everywhere, kept inside by the snow.

The cheerleaders were practicing as well, out in the lobby. Oh, and the track runners? They kept running laps, out one door, through the lobby, back in the other door, around the track and back around.

That has to get dull after awhile.

Indoor track practice is quite a sight. There are athletes everywhere, men's and women's. They are doing different things at the same time in a small space, and TigerBlog is always amazed when he sees the choreography of it all.

Amanda Berntsen was the first women's basketball player out on the court, and she was doing an interesting warm-up exercise. She had a tennis ball and a basketball, and she was dribbling the basketball while sort of juggling the tennis ball.

It reminded TigerBlog of the basketball tricks that Pete Maravich used to do. He was famous for THESE.

By the way, if you never saw Pete Maravich play, you missed something really special. He's not considered among the greatest basketball players ever, but he was way, way, way up there on the list of great scorers.

Actually, in college, nobody - absolutely nobody - was ever a better scorer. In fact, can you name the top three all-time leaders in points per game in a season in Division I men's basketball?

Here is the list:
1. Pete Maravich (LSU) 44.5 (1969-70)
2. Pete Maravich (LSU) 44.2 (1968-69)
3. Pete Maravich (LSU) 43.8 (1967-68)

Yes, Maravich played for his dad, Press Maravich. And yes, it was all about how many points "Pistol Pete" could put up.

But hey, that's a ton of points. And that's with no three-point shot. In all, he put up 3,667 points, the most ever in Division I history. Second place is 418 points shy of Maravich, and that was from Freeman Williams of Portland State, who played four years.

Second place among three-year players is Oscar Robertson, who had 2,973 points while at Cincinnati. That's 694 fewer points than Maravich.

About the most incredible way TigerBlog can put it is to say that Maravich scored 1,164 points more than Bill Bradley, whose 2,503 points rank 10th all-time among three-year players. Bradley, of course, has basically made updating the Princeton record book irrelevant, as his 2,503 points are 878 more than Ian Hummer, who is in second place.

Taking the math a little further, then Maravich scored 2,042 more points than the second-place scorer at Princeton.

So where was TigerBlog? Oh yeah, Maravich. Amanda Berntsen.

While TigerBlog was on the court Monday, he saw two basketball alums, one women's and one men's.

The women's alum was Blake Dietrick, the 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year. She came in, hugged a bunch of players and coaches and then watched practice.

The men's alum was Darren Hite, Class of 1998, which makes him a classmate of current head coach Mitch Henderson and a teammate of current assistant Brian Earl.

Hite came to Princeton from Mater Dei High School in California, and he was a part of three Ivy League championship teams and two NCAA tournament wins. His senior year saw Princeton go 27-2 and move into the Top 10 nationally in the rankings.

Hite has always been a TigerBlog favorite. As it turned out, he just turned 40, which is somewhat shocking to TigerBlog, who met Hite when he was still a teenager.

Hite and Henderson were shooting around, and Hite was actually making as many as he missed from the three-point line. Well, almost as many. Henderson was making more than he missed.

It was a light moment between the head coach and an old friend. Then it was back to work for Henderson, as he prepares his team for the showdown Friday against Yale.

The women's race shows all signs of building to the March 8 game between Penn (7-0) and Princeton (6-1). As TB said yesterday, Princeton and Penn are 12-0 against the rest of the league, with 11 of 12 wins by at least 15 points.

Harvard and Cornell are both 5-3, and they play each other Saturday, which guarantees a fourth loss for one of them. And they both still have Princeton and Penn to play again.

So while they're not out of it, there is no margin for error for them. Or, really, for Princeton, if you assume Penn isn't going to lose again before March 8, which is an assumption Princeton needs to make at this point.

As for the men, it's been a series of huge games weekend to weekend. First there was Princeton-Yale. Then there was Columbia-Yale. Last week it was Princeton-Columbia.

And this weekend, it's Princeton-Yale, Friday night, at 7, in Jadwin.

Yale is the lone Ivy unbeaten at 8-0. Princeton is in second at 6-1 after its wildly dramatic game Saturday night in which it came back twice to beat Columbia 88-83 in overtime.

Columbia is 6-2. Nobody else is over .500.

Yale still has to play at Columbia, which it will do in its final regular season game. Columbia is at Princeton next Friday.

But first, there's Friday. The math is obvious - a Yale win and the Bulldogs are two up on both Princeton and Columbia, while a Princeton win basically makes it a tie race.

It's a huge one, and Jadwin figures to be buzzing for the game. You know, a different kind of buzzing than it was earlier in the week.


Anonymous said...

The Princeton-Pistol connection...Butch coached him at the Jazz. He would have been a better player had Butch been his coach right out of college.

Anonymous said...

TB, you mentioned that the women were practicing on the main Pete Carril court, while the men practiced on a side court. Wouldn't it make more sense to have whichever team will be playing at home the upcoming weekend practice on the main court?

As we know, Jadwin creates a huge home court advantage of about six points, about twice the second place HCA at Yale. Most people think the HCA is created by Jadwin's unusual sight lines. Why not maximize that edge by having the home team that weekend shoot at the same baskets all week in practice?