Tidbits - April 20, 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



AND IT CONTINUES

  The remarkable sports season in South Carolina continued last week.
  Since it began in 1969, no South Carolinian had ever won the Heritage Classic on Hilton Head Island. That’s ever!
  During this year’s tournament, there were FOUR South Carolina golfers in contention, and Sunday, Wesley Bryan, a graduate of Dutch Fork High School and Carolina, won the championship. The 48-year streak is over!
  I enjoyed hearing the commentators talk about Russell Henley from Charleston, Will McGirt from Boiling Springs who graduated from Wofford,  Kevin Kisner of Aiken, and of course, Bryan, who is also a well known YouTube golf trick shot artist. They also mentioned Clemson grad Lucas Glover, who had a good tournament, as well.
  Sunday, as the tournament was winding down, Jim Nance mentioned all the success teams in this state have had, dating back to Coastal Carolina’s college World Series championship. He talked about Clemson’s football and USC women’s basketball National Championships, and gave a plug the Carolina men for making the Final Four.
  He concluded by saying the number one golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, was from South Carolina.
  Last Thursday night, the WNBA draft was held in New York City. Before the first pick was announced, the University of South Carolina women were congratulated for winning the national championship, then Dawn Staley got the honor of announcing the number one pick.
  Three Gamecocks were chosen in the first ten picks of the first round. I would love to have seen the two ladies who declared early  return next season, but this can only help in future recruiting. Come to the University of South Carolina and you can win a national championship and be a first round pick.
  The coming NFL draft will only boost Clemson’s recruiting, as if the Tigers need anything to make recruiting better.
  The ties to this state have paid dividends in the college basketball coaching profession this year.
  Will Wade is the new head coach at LSU. He is a graduate of Clemson. He comes to LSU from Virginia Commonwealth, where he succeeded Shaka Smart, who was a one-time Clemson assistant for three years.
  Mike Boynkin the new head coach at Oklahoma State. Mike is a graduate of Carolina, where he played basketball and served as an assistant coach.
  He got the job when Brad Underwood left to take the head coaching job at Illinois. Brad was Frank Martin’s top assistant at Carolina in Martin’s first year. He took the head coaching job at Stephen F. Austin and took Boynkin with him.
  Matt Figger succeeded Underwood as Martin’s top assistant at Carolina, and a few weeks ago, he was named the new head coach at Austin Peay.
  Monday, the word came out that Carolina men’s basketball player P.J. Dozier had decided to hire an agent and forego the rest of his career with the Gamecocks.
  This is a good news,  bad news situation. The good news is Dozier’s departure as a sophomore shows recruits they can make it to the NBA, while playing for Carolina. The bad news is he won’t be back to play for the Gamecocks.
  Is Renaldo Balkman the last Gamecock to play in the NBA? If so, the Gamecocks have not had a NBA player since 2012. That speaks volumes about the mediocrity of the program.
  But Dozier shows the Gamecocks can recruit NBA quality players. I wish P.J well.
  He had four seasons in one this year. The first part he was better than he was last year. The second part he had to take up the slack when Thornwell was suspended and was great.
  The third part was during the Gamecock slump and he was absolutely awful. He couldn’t even hit a free throw.
  The last part, during the NCAA run, he was great.
  Such as it is with young players. He was not Kentucky “one and done” quality, but he was two and done.
  He would have been great for the Gamecocks next year, but that’s not going to happen.
  The good news for P.J. is he’s a South Carolinian during this amazing sports’ year!

WHERE’S HE FROM?

  I had to look up to see of Braves centerfielder Ender Inciarte was from South Carolina.
  Why?
  In his first 48 at bats this season, he has hit four home runs.
  Why is that special?
  Last year he batted 578 times and hit three home runs!
  Unless there is a Venezuela, South Carolina, however, he is not from this state!
  The new Braves stadium looks impressive. Of course, I didn’t see anything wrong with the last two stadiums. At least, Fulton County and the Ted were easy to get to. They were on “this  side of town.”
  With all the road problems around Atlanta right now, I don’t know when I’ll see the new place, which is on the “other side.”

WHAT?

  Near Carolina Cup time, Belk’s at Columbiana gets in some very colorful sports coats.
  Last week, I posted a photo of a blue floral sport coat on Facebook with the question, “What do you think?” and added, “No, I didn’t buy it.”
  I don’t know when I’ve gotten more responses. The reactions were mixed from “awful” to “I love it.”
  There was a time when I would have worn such a coat, I of the green velvet bell bottoms and floral shirt fame.
  I actually had a hall mate borrow that outfit to go out on a big concert date.
  Those days are over. I will still wear a floral shirt, but a sport coat is too young for me.
  Monday, Debbie Riser posted a picture of a man wearing the coat in the Vista. She said the picture was not very good, because she didn’t want to be too obvious!
  When I posted the Belk’s coat, several others tagged me with the “Flamingo” suit from Kohl’s. Yes, suit! Matching coat, pants and tie!
  It made the Belk’s jacket look conservative.


JACKIE WASSON

  I was saddened by the passing of Jackie Wasson in Laurens last week.
  She grew up in Saluda County and  was widowed when her son Lewis was only four years old.
  She was an integral part of Emory Church, until she remarried and moved to Laurens with her husband and remained there until her she died.
  She was one of my Sunday School teachers in a class that included the “Emory Four.”
  In one six week span in 1951,  little Emory saw the birth of four babies in seven weeks.
  Jackie’s son Lewis Matthews started it off, being born on February 10. A week later, Thomas Shealy was born on February 17. A week later, Lynette Black (Forrest) was born on February 24. Then four weeks later, I was born on March 24. We were all born on Saturday.
  Jackie Gentry Matthews Wasson was a great lady and will be missed by all who knew her. She came home to Emory Church on Good Friday.