Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Final Cut

Because the men's basketball game was played at the same time Saturday night, there was no radio for the men's lacrosse game at Johns Hopkins.

For TigerBlog it was a bit weird. He's used to doing radio at road games and stats at home games. At Hopkins he had nothing to do.

TigerBlog can't begin to imagine how many games he's done on the radio at Princeton, dating back to a 1989 men's basketball game against Arkansas-Little Rock. He's done a lot though.

Does that qualify him to be a local radio personality?

He asks this because of the story he saw in which Rich Kimball - who is called "a local radio personality" and not a doctor accused of killing his wife who was freed while being transported to prison and forced to constantly switch identities while he searches for a one-armed man who actually committed the crime (it was a way better series than movie) - reported that Richard Barron would be named the head men's basketball coach at the University of Maine. As it turns out, Kimball was right (so, too, was Richard Kimble).

Maine announced yesterday that Barron would in fact be the new head men's coach for the Black Bears. You can read about it HERE.

Barron should be familiar to Princeton fans. He was the women's basketball coach here for the six season before Courtney Banghart took over.

You're not going to find too many nicer people than Richard Barron. And now he's in an interesting spot. TB hoped to see how many former women's coaches have taken over men's teams, but he couldn't find a list anywhere.

There are a lot of men who coach women's teams. It's harder to find women who coach men's teams. A local Mercer County high school has had a woman who has coached the boys' team for years with great success, but that's a rarity.

Why is that?

Would Courtney be able to coach a men's team? She certainly wouldn't be intimidated, and they certainly would listen to her. Perhaps TB will bring this up on the next episode of "The Court Report," the weekly podcast they do.

TB and Courtney have done their podcast each week this season. The most recent one, which is up today, talks about Princeton as it heads into the Ivy League tournament.

In case you forgot, the Tigers are the top seed in the tournament, and they will take on fourth-seeded Yale at 6 Saturday at the Palestra. The other semifinal matches No. 2 Penn and No. 3 Harvard at 8:30, and the final is Sunday at 4.

To the winner goes the NCAA tournament automatic bid. Princeton will be the Ivy champion for 2018, regardless of what happens in the tournament.

If you want to buy tickets, you can do so HERE.

TB and Courtney will do "The Court Report" through the end of the season. On the men's side, the series "Hard Cuts" has reached its conclusion, after 21 episodes that took you through the entire season.

If nothing else, "Hard Cuts" shows how long and grueling a college basketball season is. Hopefully the series gave you a sense of the people involved in Princeton men's basketball and what they're like beyond just what you see on the court.

The driving forces behind "Hard Cuts" were Director of Men's Basketball Operations Chris Mongilia and Princeton Athletics filmmaker John Bullis. Together they came up with the different episodes each week, and the finished product was done by Bullis. Judging by the number of people who watched, it was a very successful endeavor.

The men's basketball team didn't have the kind of season it would have hoped. It is perhaps a small consolation at least that senior Amir Bell earned the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Award and that juniors Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens were second-team All-Ivy picks.

Even after the grind of the season, there probably isn't a returning player who doesn't want to get going on 2018-19 already. For seniors everywhere - and in Princeton's case, that's Bell, Alec Brennan, Mike LeBlanc and Aaron Young, the subject of the final "Hard Cuts" - the immediacy of knowing that their college careers have ended is hash and unforgiving.

And sometimes very public. And that brings TB to Sydney Johnson, the 1997 Ivy League Player of the Year here who then coached the Tigers to the 2011 NCAA tournament and a two-point loss to Kentucky. Sydney is now the head coach at Fairfield, and he found himself in the middle of a rather poignant moment with Tyler Nelson, the Stags' all-time leading scorer, as the final seconds were about to tick away on the MAAC final, which Fairfield would lose to Iona.

You can see it HERE.

March is known for its emotions. And there are a lot more of them to come. 

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