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Shots in the Dark 2

January 24, 2003 Columns No Comments

Shots in the Dark

by Jon Gonzalez

Nicknames, monikers, team names; whatever you call them, every team has one. But while some names demand respect and awe, others leave you wondering, why did they pick that name? So for all you schools who didn’t have a chance to use Tar Heels or Jayhawks, here’s a list just for you; the Top Ten Worst Division I Nicknames.

10. Texas Christian Horned Frogs. What’s scarier than a frog? I know, a horned frog. Now those are scary. Do you think that if hamsters could grow horns a team would go for that name, too?

9. Campbell Camels. I wonder if this nickname was inspired by all of the Camels roaming around Buies Creek, NC.? If they wanted a nickname that started with the same letter as the school name, they should have gone with Cougars or even Cattle, that’s more area appropriate.

8. Cornell Big Red. The name just makes me think about gum. Any team whose nickname reminds me of gum has to lose that name. Well, at least it’s not juicy fruit.

7. Canisius Golden Griffins. The body of a lion with the head and wings of an eagle. Now that’s just freaky. Can’t we just leave Greek mythology out of basketball for goodness sake? Or at least when it creates weird animal combinations.

6. Saint Bonaventure Bonnies. You know how people call Gonzaga the ‘Zags and Duke the Dookies. Well, those aren’t the team’s real nicknames, just clever extra nicknames. Now for the Bonnies, that’s the nickname. People calling them the Bonnies is OK. But couldn’t they have been more original and picked out a real nickname?

5. Centenary Gents. Gents? As in gentlemen? Are you kidding me? How about the Sirs or the Misters? I am not quite sure if Gents is in fact short for gentlemen. But there’s nothing under Gents in the dictionary.

4. Western Illinois Leathernecks. The term Leatherneck is commonly used a slang term to describe a Marine. So in essence, these are the Western Illinois Marines. Now last time I checked, the school didn’t have a military affiliation.

3. Elon Phoenix. Elon’s last moniker, the Fighting Christians, would have been at the top of this list (or maybe, they might have been on top of the Best Nickname list, I can’t tell at this point), but then they had to turn to Egyptian mythology. They wanted a tougher identity, I suppose, and could have picked any name they wanted. But yet, they picked a mythical bird of great beauty that could consume itself through fire and become immortal. Now that’s rich. All I have to say is wow. Wow.

2. Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos. Why on God’s green earth would you want your school represented by an animal that has a pouch? Kangaroos don’t work; case and point, Kangaroo Jack. The Kangaroos are a team you would find in a Saturday morning cartoon. Frankly, I am appalled a team in Division I could go by such a ridiculous name.

1. Albany Great Danes. Here you have it, the team with the worst name in the major college basketball world. Now, Great Danes is not the most foolish or silliest name, but what does a great dane have besides size. At least kangaroos can jump, weird mythical birds can fly and camels can…well, I don’t know what they can do, but great danes are just big, uncoordinated, goofy dogs. They have no grace, nor style. There are labs, terriers, mountain dogs, huskies, pit bulls, all sorts of dogs to use for a team nickname. But great dane? Great Scooby Doo.


Chicago State’s Bo Ellis lost his job on Wednesday. What a tremendous shock. I mean the guy was only 23-104. At least let the guy get to 100 games under .500.

Don’t look know, but Saint Joe’s and Villanova are unbeaten in conference play and looking legitimate. We may have a couple of good Philadelphia stories on out hands.

There’s a team in Denver looking pretty good right now. The Broncos? No. The Nuggets? Nope. Try the Pioneers. Who? That’s right, despite a loss on Thursday night, Denver is sitting pretty atop the Sun Belt west with a 4-1 league record.

Speaking of pretty good, how about Michigan. Tommy Amaker has UM looking as good as those old Fab Five teams. LaVell Blanchard could be the Big Ten MVP.

Stud of the Week: Darius Rice, Miami. Rice’s three to win against UConn was the stuff buzzer beater highlights are made of.

Goat of the Week: Shamon Tooles, UConn. Why was Tooles in such a hurry to inbound that ball against Miami? Unbelievable.

With the Super Bowl being on Sunday and all, I have a prediction: Shania Twain will make all of us glad that we left it on ABC during halftime.

Have a good weekend, people. See you next week.


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