Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'Nostalgia' category

Tranghese looks back on the Big East

March 9, 2009 10:00 pm by donald

The Quad has an awesome Q&A with Mike Tranghese, the commissioner of the Big East for the last nineteen years. Some wonderful tidbits here about how he grew the league, its history, and his favorite moments. Here are my favorite excerpts.

Q: How old were you when you became the first employee.
A: I’m 65 now, so when I started with the Big East when I was 35.

Q: When you tell people that you worked for the Big East…
A: They would say, ‘What’s the Big East?’ And I would have to explain it to them. That’s what the common question was. Dealing with newspapers was difficult. It was difficult getting agate in.

Q: There’s obviously turning points to get where we are today.
A: Patrick Ewing. Plain and simple. Patrick Ewing announced he was going to Georgetown and we jumped on the bangwagon and marketed to death and we took our tournament to New York. I think that was the thing that did it. Patrick turned out to be such a great player. And we had Chris and The Pearl. It just all happened.

Pretty remarkable to think of the day when people would say “What’s the Big East?” Also, if there was a logo for the Big East with a player on it, it would be a silhouette of Patrick Ewing (with kneepads and all).

I think when you get older, you look back at the players. I don’t know that anything will ever match Patrick and Chris and Pearl. It was so magical and so exciting. Have we had better guards that Pearl? Yes. We’ve had Ray Allen and Allen Iverson and great players. But I don’t know that there’s been a more electrifying and dynamic person that’s ever played in Madison Square Garden than Pearl Washington when he was at Syracuse. There’s never been a better shooter in this league than Chris Mullin. And Patrick has been the most influential player to ever play in this league. But those were the days when people stayed for four years. It doesn’t happen now. Someone asked me the other day to pick the five best players, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Interesting. I know all about Patrick Ewing, but never got to see Pearl Washington play — I would have loved to, and this brings me to the next quote…

Q: Was the 1985 Georgetown team the best that you’ve seen in the Big East?
A: I thought the Georgetown 1984 and ‘85 teams were good. The Georgetown 1989 team was unbelievable. They won the Big East tournament in 1989, and we were a really good league. You’d have to look up the scores, but they won by an average of about 20-plus points. They destroyed everyone in that tournament. That was with Dikembe and Alonzo and Charles Smith was on that team. They left that year and I was convinced that Georgetown was going to win the national championship. I didn’t think that there was anyone that could beat them, that’s how confident I was. So what happens? They play their first-round game against Princeton and Pete Carril. They take the air out of the ball. Georgetown is lucky to escape and they’re never the same and Duke beats them.

If anybody has that Georgetown-Princeton game on videotape, I would love to see it. Best game I never saw. Glad I saw Kentucky-Duke live in 1992 — one of those games you never forget where you are.

Alum Report: Ray Allen, 33, still doesn’t suck

January 25, 2009 4:16 pm by Juice

When the Celtics acquired Ray Allen, UConn’s first legitimate NBA superstar, they figured they knew what they were getting: a perimeter offensive threat, a defensive liability, a guy who was at the tail end of his career.

He surprised everyone (me included) with his defensive competence in last year’s playoffs, and though he slumped early on offense, he ended big. Nevertheless, there were a lot of questions about the Celtics this preseason, mostly having to do with age, and Ray was probably the biggest reason for that: he’s 33, which is about 250 in NBA years.

So the Celtics surprised everyone again with an utterly dominant start to the season. When they came back down to earth, losing 7 of 9 to bracket the new year, the same old questions arose.

Yet they’ve turned things around once again, and, biggest surprise of all, it seems like Ray Allen is the reason. He never seemed as integral a part of the Celtics as Pierce, KG, or even Rondo. But here he is, putting up monster numbers (some of the best of his career) over their most recent 8 game winning streak: 60-89 FG (67%), 26-39 3PT (67%), 18-18 FT (100%), while averaging 20.5 PPG.

It’s easy to dismiss a perimeter shooter who relies on picks rather than his own athleticism to create most of his shots. (18 free throws in 289 minutes is pretty pathetic, it’s true.) But as old age looms, and athleticism declines, it looks more and more like Ray Ray is playing it smart — contrast with Allen Iverson, another Big East alum, just as old, and struggling mightily to match his already-inefficient career stats. Denzel would be proud.

Etan Thomas: political blogger?!?!?

January 23, 2008 12:30 am by donald

This won’t be news to the guys over at Cuse Country, Orange 44, or Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, but it was news to me: Etan Thomas, former Syracuse Orangemen and two-time Big East defensive player of the year is a blogger for the Huffington Post, the best political blog out there, at least according to the 2006 Webby awards.

Etan writes on a handful of political topics — why terrorists hate us (not because of our freedom, but because of our foreign policy), the death policy (which he is vehemently against), and Giuliani’s exploitation of 9/11.

Color me impressed. This warrants the very first web cartoon for Big East Hoops:

Etan Thomas

Best of luck to Etan, who had open heart surgery earlier this year and is trying to come back from it to play NBA ball.

Pyrrhic Victor-y

December 12, 2007 10:43 am by Mister D

This one from the old news department. I hadn’t been aware of the story until now, so forgive me if you’ve seen this already.

In March of last year, the New York Times did a feature on former Georgetown jump-out-of-the-gym guard, Victor Page. Most of you remember Page as the prolific scorer with bad teeth who was the heir apparent to Iverson. Like Iverson, he had a big nose for trouble. Unlike Iverson, the lefty went undrafted when he left college after his sophomore year.

After a 4-year stint in the CBA with Sioux City and another stint in Europe, he found himself back on the streets of D.C. in 2003…

…where he was shot. Three bullets. One in his leg. One in his chest. And one in his right eye.

Victor Page

As of the article’s publishing, Page seems to have started to turn things around, despite having been shot again in the leg in the summer of 2005. He’s giving motivational speeches through the Urban League, presumably stressing the importance of staying out of trouble. Sadly, had he been given this advice 11 years ago when he was the Big East Tournament’s MVP, things might have turned out differently for Page.

Francis Ford Cipolla

November 8, 2007 1:18 pm by Mister D

So it’s been in the news for a while, but ever slow on the uptake, we here at Big East Hoops hadn’t seen it until just recently.

It turns out that former ‘Cuse sharp-shooter Jason Cipolla has been dating Soprano’s star Lorraine Bracco for over, like, 5 years now. Cipolla was a behind-the-scenes driver for the show; Bracco was on screen, playing the mob-boss’s psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Psychoanalyze this, though: Bracco is 52 compared to Cipolla’s 31.

Cradle robber or Sugar Momma? (not that the two are mutually exclusive)

We congratulate Jason. Though he couldn’t make the NBA, he chose the next best thing…the AARP.

Kidding, of course. Best to both. Love the show.