By Lauren Biggers
Davidson vs. Penn
In tiny, quaint Davidson, we’re pretty far removed from the celebrity scene. I mean, sure we’ve had some run-ins with some famous people over the last few seasons – King James, Dick Vitale, Joe Gibbs, etc. etc., but for the most part, Belk Arena is not exactly the place you find celebrities sitting court side to see and be seen.
So word got around quickly that a real-life celebrity was to be in attendance to witness the Wildcats’ 79-50 win over Penn Monday night. As I arrived courtside – very casually and incognito, of course — an hour before tipoff, there he was, one of only a handful of people watching the Davidson Wildcats shoot around. Well, probably watching his son Malcolm, a freshman at Penn, shoot around.
O.M.G. Coach Boone! (Confession: I might know Remember the Titans by heart... I know football, but what you did with those boys. You’re the right man for the job ... You’re a hall of famer in my book... etc. etc.)
All “How was your holiday?’ chatter was trumped by two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. Um, he’s kind of a big deal.
Denzel is undoubtedly very, very cool... His black conductor’s cap cannot tell a lie. (His IMBD biography calls him the ‘tall, strikingly handsome leading man of films and television.” Um, CHECK.)
But what was pretty cool about Denzel on Monday night at Belk Arena was that he just one of thousands watching what turned out to be a pretty good show. For the Wildcats, at least.
Davidson opened up a 21-8 lead behind a pair of treys from the W.L. and the first of five for the youngest McKillop. In the game, the pair combined for eight of the Wildcats’ 13 treys on the evening.
Hey, what’s your favorite Denzel movie? I asked the W.L. post game, post radio appearance, post win.
“Man on Fire... OHHH... say Brendan was a man on fire!”
Um, have we met? I probably said that every time he made a shot all night. “The Man’s on Fire!” Clearly, He Got Game.
I conducted an informal survey of Davidson players, coaches and staff, meaning, basically I shouted ‘What’s your favorite Denzel Washington movie?” at whomever I happened to run into after the game.
Here’s a quick breakdown (I did not provide options. They just watch a lot of movies together.):
Man on Fire: the W.L., Asst. coach Jim Fox.
Pelham 1,2,3: Ben Allison (though, he wasn’t thoroughly convincing.)
Glory: Student Assistant Coach Billy Thom, Asst. coach Landry Kosmalski, DOB TI, assistant director of marketing Richard Agner, SID Marc Gignac.
Training Day: Clint Mann, J.P. KOOLman, athletic trainer Ray Beltz.
He Got Game: Asst. Coach Matt McKillop, Will Archambault, Nik Cochran.
Remember the Titans: Brendan McKillop, Steve Rossiter, A.J. Atkinson
Malcolm X: Team photographer Tim Cowie, ticketing director Jamie Hendricks. (Is he in Malcolm X? ...He IS Malcolm X.)
The Preacher’s Wife: Me. (Kidding. Kinda. That’s an awesome soundtrack, though.)
Denzel Washington: Cry Freedom, Glory, Malcolm X and Training Day.
(Confession: I did not ask him, though I wanted to. I learned this on IMBD. You can too. I also learned that he vacations with his family in Italy every summer, and “where he handles or uses sidearms, there's always a scene of him swiftly ejecting a bullet from the loaded chamber by pulling back the slide assembly and subsequently catching the bullet before it falls to the ground.” You’re welcome.)
Collectively, the Wildcats carried a 46-19 lead into the break. They won the second half by just a bucket, but won the game handily, 79-50. It was the sort of outing the ‘Cats needed after (what I read was) a tough weekend in New York and not even Denzel could steal the spotlight.