Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A salute to MSU cross country, and the Santa Clara basketball game

Allow me to lead of this post by congratulating the MSU women's cross country team, who won the national championship on Saturday.  When the result was announced at the football game, it elicited loud applause from the freezing denizens at Spartan Stadium. Last night, the women's cross country team was at the Santa Clara basketball game and, during a timeout, took center court with their national championship trophy to accept more applause. It's richly deserved.

I don't pay enough attention in this blog to non-revenue sports, and I'm ashamed to say that outside of an occasional MSU baseball game (if that qualifies as a non-revenue collegiate sport) I don't attend nearly enough of them in person. When one of the teams does exceptionally well, they deserve to be acknowledged.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a second consecutive Spartan basketball game, compliments of my awesome brother-in-law.  Here are some brief observations, that I will attempt to flesh out later:

Before the game, we saw Gregory Kelser on the sideline, who was presumably there to broadcast the game for BTN. Impeccably dressed in a suit as always, Kelser walked from around the basketball floor to give a hug to his old coach, Gus Ganakas (broadcasting the game for radio). It was a warm, private moment shared between an old mentor and his pupil, who I'm sure are good friends now. It was a private moment in as much as a moment can be when in at takes place in a sports arena with 10,000+ people in attendance--but I doubt how many people were paying attention.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson was also at the game and was introduced in the first half. He waved to and acknowledged the crowd on the center court "jumbotron" scoreboard, as he was seated in a private box. Magic must be in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. So we had Special K and Magic in Breslin at the same time.

As far as the game goes:

Gavin Schilling was great and played perhaps his best game ever.

Free throw shooting must improve or it might cost them some games.

Denzel Valentine is making better decisions and had a double-double.

Marvin Clark can shoot the lights out. This will be one fun player to watch over the next few years.

Travis Trice can also shoot the lights out.

I love the energy that Tum-Tum Nairn brings to the game, and he will also be a fun player to watch over the next few years.

The Spartans played a very good game without the services of Branden Dawson, who was sick with the flu.

The defensive intensity was better than it was in the Loyola game, and this seems to be an area of improvement for the team.

I love the teamwork I've seen on display and how well the team works to find the open man. They all seem to like each other and communicate well, which bodes well for the future.

I still contend that this team could surprise some people this season.

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