Tidbits -March 28 2019 2

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

  Sunday was my 68th birthday.
  I’m like that meme I saw recently: I think I’m 18, I talk like I’m 12, but my body feels like, “shouldn’t you be dead already.”
  I appreciate all the birthday greetings I got on Facebook, Instagram and in person, around 800 total.
  It really made me feel humble that so many would take their time to remember me.

MAKING S.C. PROUD

 From all I’ve seen, the top two players in the upcoming NBA draft are both from South Carolina, Zion Wil-liamson of Duke and Ja Morant of Murray State.
  The two joined Durant of Mississippi on a South Carolina AAU team a few years ago. I’d say that was a pretty good team!
  Everyone has followed Zion’s career since he was in high school. His dunks became YouTube favorites  his senior year at Spartanburg Day.
  Morant was more of unknown, however.
  “Forbes” website recently featured a story entitled, “Meet The College Coach Who Discovered Ja Morant, Murray State’s All-American and Top NBA Prospect.”
  Why should that interest you? Because the coach mentioned was Saluda’s own Trevor Deloach!
  Trevor had begun his first full-time college basketball assistant job at Maryland Eastern Shore and began recruiting his home state. Yes, the story did mention Trevor was from Saluda and began his college basketball career at USC.
  Trevor said Morant reminded him of himself when he played and convinced Maryland Eastern Shore to offer him a scholarship. Other teams began to notice Ja, including USC, but he committed to Murray State, which is coached by a man who was an assistant at UNC-Wilmington when Trevor played there.
  The rest, as they say, is history.
  In case you don’t know, Trevor left MES to join the staff at S.C. State. His is now an assistant coach at Nichols State in Louisiana.

TOURNEY TIME

  I love “March Madness.”
  Former Saludan Rob Mitchell posted a picture on Facebook that showed four big screen TV’s tied together so all four games, playing at the same time, could be watched.
  With my two TVs, iPad and iPhone, I could have done that, but I just couldn’t keep up.  Besides, most of the early games aren’t very good.
  It seems, however, for the first two or three years, my bracket was burst with the very first game.
  Minnesota beating Louisville eliminated me from winning millions. The irony in this game is Minnesota’s coach is the son of Rick Pitino, who was fired by Louisville.
  The best thing about this year’s “Madness,” is the tourney returned to Columbia for the first time in nearly 50 years.
  My sister Elizabeth and her husband Rickie Turner got tickets to the Duke game. Because they paid full price for this game they were offered reduced priced tickets on the other three games, so they made a day of it. They brought food and tailgated in their van between games.
  Elizabeth said she didn’t have time to get a Duke t-shirt before the game. Hearing that, I quoted the late Frankie McGuire, “Beat, Duke!”
  As a student at the University of South Carolina when the Gamecocks were in the ACC, I can’t till this day pull for any of the Tobacco Road teams, UNC, Duke, N.C. State or Wake Forest. The Gamecocks were treated horribly by those schools and their fans back then, because a team from outside of the Tar Heel state dared to build a good basketball program.
  I kid you not, if Clemson plays UNC, Duke, N.C. State or Wake Forest in basketball, I pull for Clemson!
  That said, I was glad the Gamecocks got host Duke and another former ACC opponent and number one seed Virginia.
  Those two top teams allowed Columbia to attract the top broadcast crew, Jim Nance, Bill McCafferty and Grant Hill. The tourney brought great publicity to the City of Columbia and the university.
  USC also played a major role in Duke’s current success. Did you know that?
  David Cloniger had a story last week on the “Charleston News & Courier” about the time Carolina hired Duke’s basketball coach Bill Foster.
  To replace him, Duke hired an unknown coach from Army, better known today as “Coach K!”
  Wofford made the state proud, advancing the second round, only losing to Kentucky 62-56..
  Sadly,the Terrieors record  breaking 3-point shooter Fletcher McGee was 0-12 from 3-point land. If he had hit just 3-12....
  Finally, congratulations to Dawn Staley and the Gamecock women for making the Sweet 16 for the seventh time.
  Coach Staley has recruited what some have called the greatest class in women’s basketball history for next season, so look out!

REMEMBERING GEE

  I was so saddened by the death of my old friend, Gee Sample, last week.
  Gee was only 62 when he lost his battle with cancer.
  He was, simply put, a character, who could make you laugh in a second.
  He could keep you entertained with his stories of growing up in Saluda, his days at Carolina, and life in general.
  I enjoyed delivering papers to People’s Drug and later Long’s, because Gee and I would spend too much time talking.
  He will surely be missed.