Big East summit at the Mecca

MSG, Mecca of world basketball

Once again Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of college basketball, was where to be Wednesday. Card Game was there to observe some of the goings-on.

Outside, a dusty, cluttered mess of construction barriers and rusty scaffolding, the usual throngs of New Yorkers.  Inside, the hectic scene of hustling, bustling legendary and rising coaches, crazily coordinating SID’s, and stoic AD’s for the 2010 version of the Big East’s Media Day for men’s basketball.

Shoulder to shoulder with coaching giants Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim, and Bobby Huggins. Eye to eye with up and comers Jay Wright and Jamie Dixon. Giving the nod to Kevin Willard and Mick Cronin in the early stages of their careers.

To quote Obiwan Kinobi of Star Wars, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”  But since John Calipari doesn’t coach in the Big East, we have to reword to make it appropriate for today. “You will never find a busier hive of mentors and expertise.”

Though the hustle and bustle of coaches, players, sports personalities, cameramen, reporters, and SID’s made the scene very busy, everyone was at ease with each other, making for a great event.  There were a couple of anomalies, however.

The Godfather in a light brown suit with a pink shirt?  Huggy Bear in black pinstripes with a double-breasted vest?  What is this, Bizarro World?  Gene Keady?  What the heck is he doing here?  Steve Lavin?  This isn’t a halftime broadcast.

A lot of things have transpired since the end of last season:  Willard, a Pitino protege, taking over at Seton Hall. Lavin leaving the broadcast booth for the St. John’s sideline, and Keady back in the game as Lavin’s assistant. Calhoun and UConn coming under fire.

Finally, Card Game was treated lavishly by the good folks at Volvo and Cake Group New York, using the Big East as a chance to market their new sporty sedan, the naughty S60, boasting 300 turbocharged horsepower in a car comparable in size to an Accord or Camry.  Hotel room in the heart of the city, just across the street from The Garden, and a few scant blocks from Times Square and the Empire State Building.  Thanks guys.

Check back for additional insights from BE Media Day.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.