Villanova’s Jay Wright would think twice about going back to the White House

Some preconceived notions from some odd sources are causing division in America.

The anti-Donald Trump fervor so obvious in the mainstream media may also be present in the sports media and even among some coaches, if a recent interview of Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright by Maggie Gray of Sports Illustrated is any indication.

For some obscure reason, Gray feels compelled to ask Wright if would take his team back to the White House again if Villanova were to repeat as national champions in the NCAA tournament this year (click on video below).

Straight out of left field, she leads off the interview with a comment about some “divisive election” results and controversy on “college campuses where we’re seeing a lot of people speaking out about Donald Trump. What’s the role of a college basketball coach with all this going on? What kind of discussions are you having with your team?”

Wait. What? Was that a serious question? From an objective interviewer? A neutral observer would have to immediately conclude the reporter was dead set on driving a political agenda.

Amateur hour in full effect.

Even more disturbing that Jay Wright takes the question seriously, saying he’s had a lot of conversations with his players. “We did go to the White House to meet President Obama who was, for many reasons, just a great role model.” 

“How are your kids feeling about it (Trump’s election)?” she asks, again, almost with a straight face.  

To which Wright responds, “I think scared. I think a lot of them are very concerned about the direction of the country. African American kids are very concerned about their own culture, their own people.

“Someone asked me, ‘If you won it (again), would you go to the White House?’ It’s something we would have have a long talk about as a team. I would suggest that out of respect for the tradition of our country and the office of the President that we should go.”

After some posturing, Wright finally concludes that deciding whether his players should go to the White House would be a good problem to have, meaning that Villanova would have won second national championship.

What’s really troubling, however, is that some people who are supposed to be objective, who should respect the individual serving as President to tackle America’s enormous problems, and who should value differing opinions are so closed-minded.

Maggie May needs to stick to sports, Jay Wright to basketball.

 

Mangok saves best for last, Louisville edges Notre Dame

Mangok Mathiang could make Louisville a more serious contender if he could match his output against Notre Dame (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Mangok Mathiang may have had his best game since he first donned a University of Louisville basketball uniform five years ago during UofL’s 71-64 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

 Just happened to be Senior Night, a good time for the jovial 6-foot-10 Mathiang to also display traits of confidence and composure. Coming off the bench to score 18 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. 

Rick Pitino never minces words on the sidelines (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Equally impressive is that the official stats indicate that Mangok didn’t have a single turnover during his final game before a crowd of 22,612 at the KFC Yum! Center. Not even after he lost the ball on a one-man fast break that was as predictable as it was inevitable.

The win wrapped up a second place finish for Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference and guaranteed the Cardinals a double-bye in the upcoming conference tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mathiang scored 12 of his points in the first half, relieving Anas Mahmoud who had taken his starting position at center a couple of games ago. Whether this game was a breakthrough for him remains to be seen, with Coach Rick Pitino pointing out the play of his big men has been inconsistent at best.

— Donovan Mitchell was back as an offensive threat after all but disappearing in the Wake Forest loss, contributing a team-high 20 points on five of 15 field goal attempts. His four consecutive free throws in the final 22 seconds were crucial for the Cardinals.

— Quentin Snider was clearly the take-charge player during the final 20 minutes, scoring 15 of his 17 points in that second half.

— Deng Adel managed only six points on two 3-pointers, one of them a dagger giving UofL at the 39-second mark giving UofL a five-point lead.

Mathiang, meanwhile, was making the best of his last impression at the Yum! If he continues to show up, Louisville could be a serious contender.

Senior Day already for Mathiang, Hicks & Levitch

Mangok Mathiang, David Levitch, Tony Hicks.

So many ups and downs for Mangok, so many defensive stops for David Levitch, so few games for Tony Hicks. But another Senior Day has arrived for the University of Louisville basketball team. 

Thanks for the memories. UofL fans treasuring the remaining games, no how many or how few.

Forever Cardinals. Forever family.

Denny Crum birthday bash draws more than 800

Denny Crum was surrounded by adoring fans on his 80th birthday while raising funds for his scholarship fund at the University of Louisville.

A night to remember for all Denny Crum fans. More than 800 of them showing up for his 80th birthday party to celebrate him and to support his University of Louisville scholarship fund. 

Denny Crum began coaching at Louisville in 1971, and won two NCAA titles and made six final fours in 30 years.

Crum, a Naismith Hall of Fame coach, greeted celebrants from his La-Z-Boy chair donated by Rodney McCray, a member of the 1980 championship team and the owner of the local franchise, rewarding fans with photos and autographs during a silent auction.

The live auction getting off to a great start with the first Denny Crum Maker’s Mark label (No. 1 of 80) going for $5,000, followed by a Genesis Diamond gift certificate, a full Lasik procedure from Kenyon American Eye Institute, a gourmet chef dinner at home, and a week at Denny’s Idaho wilderness vacation home. Proceeds from the event could reach $50,000 but event organizers will have the official results when expenses are deducted.

Darrell Griffith was among many former players attending the birthday party.

Denny, who is rarely at a loss for words, seemed a bit overwhelmed by all of the attention. “It’s an amazing feeling that I have right now,” he said. “I can’t begin to tell you what it means to me for all of you being here to help us raise money for the scholarship foundation. I can remember when I thought 30 years old was old. Now I am 80, are you kidding me?  To be able to share it with you is a wonderful feeling.”

A number of celebrities wished him a happy birthday from a jumbo video screen, including current UofL Coach Rick Pitino, Bill Walton, NBA broadcaster and former UCLA player, Bobby Huggins, coach at West Virginia, Brent Musberger, former CBS broadcaster, Scott Davenport, coach at Bellarmine, Bill Olsen, former assistant and athletic director, Joe B. Hall, former University of Kentucky coach, John Calipari, current UK coach, and Kenny Payne, former UofL player and current UK assistant.

“I love Louisville. Believe me I’ve had many offers to go elsewhere. But I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Louisville means the world to me.”

Wake Forest survives, deprives Louisville of possible No. 1 seed

The Wake Forest players couldn’t wait until the end of the game to start celebrating, some of them jumping up and down with 10 seconds to go, their fans making their way down to the court.

The 88-81 win over the eighth-ranked University of Louisville obviously a big one, an unexpected triumph for the Demon Deacons.

Deng Adel kept Louisville in the game with his 22 points but still waiting for the Calvary (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Senior night for the eighth-ranked team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, not headed for the NCAA Tournament after the season, nothing to lose, letting it all hang out on a nationally-televised game. You know like they play this way all the time.

The Demon Deacons refusing to live up to their reputation, not rolling over, oblivious to UofL jumping out to an early 14-point lead in the first half. Hitting the circus shots, staying close, waiting for the Cardinals to go cold, whittling the lead to one point at the half. That was all the motivation Wake Forest seemed to need with all of the adrenaline flowing in the 14,500-seat facility.

Not a good road team this particular UofL basketball team, Donovan Mitchell seeming to lose his way after scoring all of his seven points in the first five minutes of the game. Mangok Mathiang credited with only one turnover but rarely able to catch a pass or make an easy shot look impossible. Ray Spalding getting off to a good start but mysteriously pulling a muscle or something, and never the same after that.

Deng Adel and Quentin Snider keeping UofL close with 22 and 15 points, respectively.

Not the best time to go sour, not with Louisville being mentioned prominently as a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Just another motivational factor for Wake Forest, nothing to lose, not much to gain except for a win over a top 10 team.

Watch them storm the court, those delirious Demon Deacon fans.