Saturday, February 9, 2008

These Wildcats Hustle

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Coll. of Charleston

I get asked quite commonly now, “How do I warrant a mention in your blog?” And while I admit it's mostly in jest, there is certainly something about our YouTube/MySpace culture that loves to see our names in lights, isn’t there? (Or on a T-shirt perhaps?)

Simply put, you gotta earn it, people, and assistant director of ticketing April Albritton did just that on Saturday afternoon, conducting the post-game conversation with
SteV-en Rossiter. (I don’t use the term interview intentionally, as I don’t particularly “interview,” though, a bit paranoid, he kept insisting things were “off the record.” Too much Law and Order, Steve?)

I caught some slack for being a bit tardy with my last post, and I expect the same treatment this time. But you’ll come back, because where else can you learn that SteV-en Rossiter’s favorite “actress” is Jessica Alba?

Rossiter earned his mention in today’s blog, and not just because
SteF-en (how long can she keep this going?) Curry and Jason (Man on the T-shirt) Richards bolted for Kilgo’s post-game radio interview. He finished yesterday’s 81-56 win over the College of Charleston with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting and four boards in 18 solid minutes off the bench.

Rossiter is a good interview, measured and well spoken, and yet entertaining. He even gave credit to Davidson SID Marc Gignac’s pre-season media training when pressed on why he insists on answering with all the “right” answers.

“How do you keep playing that hard when you are beating a team by 30?” April, and most everyone else, wants to know.

“We are constantly trying to get better,” Rossiter answers quickly, and correctly. But you can tell he believes it.

And if you watched the Wildcats dismantle the Cougars on Saturday, you believe he believes it.

In front of a crowd of 5,753, great majority clothed in black per the “Blackout Belk” theme, the game lived up to its hype for a little while, with things staying close through the first 10 minutes. But after a Tony White, Jr. layup, the ‘Cats – or really just Rossiter and
BORIS! Meno – scored eight straight and took a commanding 28-13 lead.

And then they just put it in cruise control. Unfortunately for Charleston, it was set around 85.

No matter the score, these Wildcats just keep coming. On this day, they were without question the best team on the court. But no matter the margin, they played with more hustle, too.

For this team,
MAX Paulhus Gosselin, finishing with four points and four boards, defines hustle, but you’d be hard pressed to find a Wildcat on this 2007-08 team that doesn’t nearly match his efforts game by game.

I was going to do a Top 10, a la Letterman, today, but well, I did six and stopped. (Sometimes even I can’t explain my methods.) The plays and the players involved were all over the place, but my favorite remains the first.

It was early in the game, and Jason was looking for Stephen. They nearly fumbled the exchange, but worked it out, and SteF buried a three.
Coach Cremins shakes his mop of white hair and turns around, smiling. It’s like he knew it was gonna be that kind of day.

Afterwards in the media room, April is enjoying her time, basking in Cremins' presence. This is not the type of person you would expect after a 30-point loss. Completely relaxed and unassuming, yet slightly confused about why the media didn’t request him, Cremins is a great presence.

But still not quite as good as Belk and these Wildcats on this day.

“The crowd was amazing,” Rossiter tells April, now enjoying his time in the limelight a little. “They were into the game the whole time.”

And so were these Wildcats.

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