Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hey, Coach Danowski, Who's Your Favorite Athlete Of All-Time?

Today's story begins at one of the NCAA men's lacrosse Final Fours in Philadelphia. Or maybe it was Foxboro.

It doesn't matter. Hey, this story isn't even about lacrosse, so if you're thinking "another lacrosse story? I'll skip today," don't.

This story is about Duke men's lacrosse coach John Danowski. If you've ever met anyone who has ever met him, they'll swear up and down that he is a great guy.

TigerBlog has met him but doesn't really know him well at all. He can say that Danowski comes across as what everyone says he is.

Anyway, that day at the Final Four, TigerBlog was getting ready to work, as he always does. It was either the day before the semifinals or early on the day of the semifinals, and a friend of his - whose husband had been TigerBlog Jr.'s first high school coach - wanted to see if she could get her picture taken with Danowski. When he agreed, she sort of leaned up next to him, unsure if she should put her arm around him or just stand next to him. Before she could figure it out, Danowski put his arms around her and hugged her, and in the picture, he is smiling wider than she is.

TB has a sense that that story pretty much defines how Danowski is.

TigerBlog has a similar story about Dick Vitale and former Princeton OAC intern Vinnie DiCarlo, by the way.

Danowski was featured with a Q&A in the current issue of "Lacrosse Magazine." If you don't get it, ask Princeton men's soccer coach Jim Barlow to borrow his. TB is reasonably sure Barlow is a subscriber.

It's a typical Q&A. Some light questions. Some deeper. What's your favorite sports movie? What did you want to be when you grew up? If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? What's most important for a lacrosse team to be successful? That kind of stuff.

The first one is this: Who's your favorite athlete?

And what did Danowski say? Keep in mind, this is Duke's men's lacrosse coach.

That's right. Bill Bradley. The full response: "There are so many great ones. I had a lot of men that I idolized, but Bill Bradley is my favorite. He played for the Knicks - a Rhodes Scholar, Princeton graduate."

TigerBlog would not have guessed that Danowski would say Bill Bradley, who led Princeton to the 1965 NCAA Final Four and is, for TigerBlog's money, the greatest athlete in school history. Just as a reminder, in three years, Bradley scored 2,503 points (with no three-point line), a figure that is still 878 points more than the second-best total (by Ian Hummer). Bradley has the 11 best single-game points totals in program history, and never, ever in his three-year varsity career scored fewer than 16 points in a game.

That last one is the most nuts, TB supposes.

So yeah, that's not a lacrosse story. It's a Princeton basketball story.

Speaking of Princeton basketball, the Tigers hosted St. Joe's yesterday, with tip-off at 5.

As with any St. Joe's game, the Hawk was there. If there's a school out there that takes more pride in its mascot than St. Joe's, it's hard to imagine who it is.

You've heard it before. The Hawk Will Never Die. And there was the Hawk, the entire game, as always, wearing the costume that looks like maroon feathers over tan pantyhose, flapping its wings the entire game. This is a student, a full scholarship student by the way, who flaps and flaps and flaps, never stopping, ever. You have to admire that.

As for the game itself, St. Joe's rallied past the Tigers 76-68 on the strength of a late 11-0 run that turned a three-point Princeton lead at the under-four media timeout into a Hawk win. Princeton's next two games are on the road, at Monmouth Tuesday and Bucknell next Thursday.

TigerBlog loves the early starts on weekdays. Does everyone else? Attendance was 2,360 for the game (televised on ESPNU). What would it have been with a start time of 7?

Regardless of start time, Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson - who reached 100 career wins in the victory over Liberty last weekend - used nine players, all of whom went at least 10 minutes. Four players were in double figures, led by Devin Cannady with 17. Princeton also took 62 shots in the game, of which 31 were three-pointers and 31 were two-pointers.

The stat line TigerBlog would like to mention was that of Spencer Weisz, who came very, very close to doing something no Princeton player has ever done.

Weisz, who recently went over 1,000 career points, had 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. No Princeton player has ever had a triple-double. That's about as close as anyone has come.

Well, maybe Bill Bradley did it. Probably a few times. It's just that assists weren't kept until the 1974-75 season as an official stat.

And that's it for today.

See? No lacrosse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I assume that Bill Bradley is everybody's favorite athlete.