By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Georgetown
“Did you write a Sweet 16 blog?” Stephen (the man behind the mask) Curry asks around 2:30 p.m. on...what day is it? Tuesday?
When I tell him I didn’t, he seems disappointed. I begin to explain how busy I’ve been, but realize if anyone gets it, it is he.
And Joey Beeler, men’s basketball SID, who handles player requests.
“Right now in my inbox, I have 90 emails,” Beeler said. “In my deleted items, I have 178.”
And Marc Gignac, in his first season as Davidson’s sports information director, who handles Coach McKillop’s media requests.
“Oh geez,” he says when I ask how many emails he’s fielded over the last 48 hours. “Hang on... From Sunday through 3:43 p.m. this afternoon, it’s 332.”
And you don’t even want to know about the phone calls.
Earlier in the day, Marc steps out of his office, likely wandering up to the men’s basketball office, where he has been told, several times over, to get out and don’t come back. In jest, of course…This is fun.
When he comes back, no more than three minutes later, he checks his voicemail.
“You have eight new messages,” that female voice, the bane of his existence, says.
“Super,” he deadpans. If you didn’t know, Marc is pure deadpan.
Waiting for his turn in front of the camera on Monday afternoon, Stephen’s dad says, “It’s been crazy. I’ve heard from people I haven’t talked to in years. I feel like I’m playing again.”
And there is no containing this madness.
“I have 600 emails in my inbox right now,” associate head coach Matt Matheny says. “But I probably had 200 or so before. So I’ve gotten around 300 this weekend.”
“Is your phone ringing off the hook?” he asks SteF-in outside my office door. “Mine’s off the hook.”
“Yes,” SteF-in sighs. There’s a new Facebook group called “Stephen Curry is the man” with 1,002 members and counting. After the Georgetown game, he got over 890 new friend requests. He currently has 1,331 friends on the networking site and has been tagged in 407 pictures.
“He got how many?” roommate Bryant Barr asks, after being put on hold in the middle of an interview. (We all think this is funny, including Bryant.) “It will take him forever just to get through them. That’s insane.”
Never has there been so much energy in Davidson. And like the majority around the program, I have never been a part of something quite like it.
The madness started as soon as the horn sounded on the ‘Cats 74-70 win over Georgetown on Sunday. I left Beeler a voicemail, screaming into the phone (I was very excited... you understand) after the game. This morning, he just got to it. “Why are you screaming in my phone?” he hisses, more than says.
Monday morning when I arrive, SteF-in is sitting in the corner on Beeler’s phone, getting ready to go on ESPN’s Mike & Mike. We stand and watch the TV as Steph sits behind us answering questions. There is about a 30-second difference, which makes following difficult, but this is fun.
For the rest of the day, the phones don’t stop. At one point, we have MAX, Jason and SteF-en doing interviews around the horn throughout the office.
My mom, an insta-fan, calls me later to tell me that Jason was on WFNZ, my dad’s favorite radio station. “I know mom. He was sitting beside me, on my phone.” “He was sitting beside her!” she screams to my dad, as to myself I think, do they know what I do?
Around 1 p.m. we all realize we haven’t eaten, and I get nominated to pick up lunch for the marketing, ticketing and sports info offices, since Easter has shut down our trusty Wildcat Den, and I am also acting office secretary. At McAllister’s, the guy behind the counter spots SID assistant Will Bryan’s Davidson basketball shirt and asks if we are with the team. We are not technically of course, but rather than explain we say yes. After breaking down the match up with us, he wishes us luck and sends us on our way, with everyone’s food but Marc’s (my fault, not theirs).
Back at Baker, there is major excitement for SteF-in’s appearance on PTI, and director of basketball operations Jeremy Henney has come up with the idea of getting him involved in the role play. After much discussion, we decide on Jason, and Will Bryan is given the arts and crafts project of a lifetime.
My parents call to tell me Steph as Jason is a hit (thanks mom). I’m not sure where he got his lines, but writer to writer, “Steph Curry is nothing without me” is a winner.
As the week begins winding down (yes, I know it’s Tuesday... here’s hoping), the excitement keeps building. Unable to witness the Georgetown game in person, I will not let that be the case on Friday.
“Biggers is going to sell her soul if we make it to the Sweet 16,” Beeler says, prophetically, last week. On his way home from the office today, he calls to tell me that the lady at the movie store recognized him as “the guy hugging Stephen Curry on TV" and gave him his movies for free as a consequence. We think this is funny.
“But it’s my first Sweet 16,” I tell... beg... Marc.
“Mine too,” he says. I gave him half of my sandwich, and he gave me the credit card. Seems fair.
I leave Thursday.
Way back in November, we got the first shipments of men’s basketball media guides. As the rest started to pour in, Beeler began counting, adding and subtracting and all in his head.
“If we make it to the Sweet 16, we will run out,” he concludes.
But did we think it would really happen? (He and athletic trainer Ray Beltz put their hair on the line, after all.) Those around the program and in the “sleepy little town” of Davidson knew it could happen, but did we really think it would?
We have 75 media guides left. It happened.