Before Matheny coaches a game for the Phoenix, he’ll watch his alma mater play Elon in Saturday night’s football opener at Rhodes Stadium. That’s quite a balancing act: Former Davidson football player, current Elon basketball coach.
“I haven’t really thought what way my heart will pull,” Matheny said a few days ago, though fully pointing out that he’s all Elon, all the time these days.
Our trip ended with four days in Bormio, a ski town in northern Italy nestled in the Alps. From our hotel rooms we had views of plush green mountains with snowy white peaks. The views were amazing. On our second day in Bormio we took ski lifts up to Bormio 3000, named because it is 3011 meters above sea level. Standing on top of the mountain I could see for miles upon miles of snow-covered mountains.
In this particular case, Memphis is only guilty of doing what everyone else does -- accept student-athletes who have been cleared by the NCAA’s own “Clearinghouse.” Memphis just happens to be doing so for more talented players than most schools.
Another coach told Chadwick he would be the face of the program for four years, he said, and do for that team what Stephen Curry did for Davidson.
I wonder how often No. 30 and March 2008 come up in different coaches’ pitches these days.
Davidson and other U.S. college teams are permitted to take summer overseas playing tours every four years, Davidson sports information chief Marc Gignac said Tuesday. Thanks to Coach Bob McKillop’s European connections, they usually find plenty of opponents.
And they have a chance to travel, something not always possible for Division I college athletes, Mr. Gignac said. “It’s a great opportunity for student athletes, who don’t get a chance to study abroad like other students,” he said.
A dozen years ago, he said, he was always looking for the next victory; now, he wants to savor each one. Back then, he said, he was always searching for the next job opportunity. Now, he said he’s ready to settle in and build a consistent, winning program, much like that of Davidson coach Bob McKillop.
Downing didn’t take official visits, but made plenty of unofficial trips. He loved the campus at St. Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y. At Winthrop, the coaching staff impressed him. Wright State, in Dayton, Ohio, had a great practice facility. And Xavier is a top 20 program.
But it was Davidson he kept coming back to.
“I remember two years ago watching them play in the NCAA tournament when they made it to the Elite Eight,” Downing said. “I thought, ‘They’re good. I need to check them out.’ The more I watched, the more I liked. The style coach (Bob) McKillop plays is very similar to our style at Hopewell.”
Also of note is this from Hopewell coach Eric Davis: “I think Jordan is going to be very successful there. As he matures physically, I think he can have the same success at that level as he has at the high school level. He can be a player-of-the-year-type player.”
Pray, Warriors fans, that Curry isn’t as sensitive as he looks, that he has the skin of a rhino and the Jedi ability to translate Nelson's tact-free ranting into positive instruction.
If so, Curry has to be in the rotation from the beginning, and has to stay there even when he sucks lemons, which he will do at times, because he represents real hope.
If Curry is able to bring about 80 percent of his college game to the NBA, he and Randolph will soon move Monta Ellis to the No. 3 spot on the ladder of Most Important Warriors.
1. Hard work beats talent only if talent chooses not to work hard.
2. Success always looks easy to others who weren’t around when it was earned.
3. The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.
Hopewell High basketball player Jordan Downing, a 6-5 senior, has committed to Davidson, Titans coach Eric Davis said.
Downing chose the Wildcats over Air Force, Appalachian State, Northwestern, St. Bonaventure, Winthrop and Wright State. Downing was one of four Hopewell starters to average 13 points per game last season when the Titans finished 29-1 and reached the N.C. 4A state semifinals.
“He didn’t take any visits anywhere,” Davis said. “He decided Davidson was where he wanted to go. He’d been up there on some unofficial visits and he told me (Saturday) that basically for the past year, that’s where he wanted to go to school.”
It’s big because it’s early. It’s big because he’s local.
Scout. Snippets: “has had a very strong pre-senior summer” ... “isn’t afraid to defend.”
Telep on the BlackBerry: “Good player! Winner!”
ESPN in April: Downing is a good athlete with great length on the wing. He runs the floor in transition and can get to the rim with ease. In the half court he scores with a nice mid range game. He can knock down the jumper to 18 feet after one or two rhythm dribbles. He is a good rebounder on both ends and can clean the defense glass and go coast to coast. Downing can finish in the lane using his length to elevate over smaller defenders. He is a good on ball defender that is capable of defending both wing positions. Downing is a very good all around guard with good upside.
Quick-culled info off Nexis: His Hopewell team went 29-1 last year before losing in the state semis and was 20-0 in summer league play. ... He was on the All-Observer second team last April. ... Also all-conference. ... Langston Wertz at the Carolina Challenge last March: “OK, he missed a wide open dunk, but he continues to show improvement in his ball-handling and shooting. He was one of the bigger surprises of the day.” ... Downing in the Observer in January: “North Meck-Hopewell is like Duke and UNC,” Hopewell basketball player Jordan Downing said. “The fans are crazy. The schools are close to each other and when we play, the temperature is just hot.” ... And in January after scoring a team-high 16 points in Hopewell’s win over Vance: “I think we were tougher.”
... none of the state’s mid-major and low-major schools have thrived. Outside Davidson’s Elite 8 run in 2008, UNCW (2002) and Charlotte (2001) are the only ones to win a NCAA tournament game since 2000.
Except for, you know, the GIANT exception, as mentioned, in northern Mecklenburg County. And not just in ’08.