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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

As you can imagine, football dominated the sports world – scratch that, the world, period – on Sunday, and anyone who watched the entire game got their money’s worth in terms of the quality of the game. (Now, your allegiance, if any, will probably swing your experience just a bit; a Patriots fan like myself, obviously, was a little happier at the end than an Atlanta Falcons fan.) College basketball had a light slate, as tends to happen, with little fanfare on the day.

Sure, North Carolina handed Notre Dame their fourth straight loss and fifth in six games after a 5-0 start to ACC play, and the game was played in Greensboro instead of Chapel Hill due to a water shortage. And Florida State blew out Clemson 109-61, the Seminoles’ largest margin of victory ever in an ACC. And yes, Wisconsin beat Indiana to remain alone atop the Big Ten, while Cal quietly improved to 8-3 in Pac-12 play by knocking off Colorado.

But on this day, football ruled, and one key player once took to the hardwood in college.

Martellus Bennett, who now gets a Super Bowl ring, once played football and basketball at Texas A&M. He eventually gave up basketball to focus on football, but he also thought about declaring for the NBA Draft out of high school. He was a member of the final high school class where players could declare out of high school, and while not as highly regarded as some others in the class, he considered it.

It’s safe to say he made a pretty good decision. Bennett carved out a pretty nice career before coming to Foxboro, having reached the point where the only thing missing was a ring. Now he will add that, and he was no small part of the championship even before Rob Gronkowski went down with another injury. He was a locker room presence and a personality, and has a lot more going on off the field.

Tight end has been a popular position for football players who at one time played basketball in college. Bennett is just the latest, following the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham among the best of them. Interestingly, Marcedes Lewis was a pretty good basketball player at Long Beach Poly in high school, but he went for football all along without playing a minute on the hardwood at UCLA. Lebron James was an elite wide receiver in high school, but no one can argue that opting for pro basketball made sense. And in the current college game, Ohio State assistant coach Greg Paulus played a year of quarterback at Syracuse when his basketball eligibility was exhausted at Duke.

Two-sport athletes at the highest levels of competition beyond high school are very rare nowadays. Many programs would rather a player commit to one sport without playing another and risking injury in what has become an increasingly risk-averse sports world. Chances are, most players who play two sports at higher levels will end up playing just one sport, then trying the other when it appears they have a better chance at going pro in the second sport.

Tom Brady may have won a record fourth Super Bowl MVP, and there is a case to be made that James White (no, not the former Cincinnati forward who is still one of the most athletic players I have ever seen) should have won that. Martellus Bennett, who once played college basketball and thought about the NBA, had no small hand in what happened on Sunday as well.

 

Side Dishes

A day before the dramatic ending in Houston, there was a much less-heralded ending in Olean, NY. St. Bonaventure got a three-pointer from Matt Mobley with less than second to go to take a 66-65 lead, then after a couple of problems, the remaining time ran off the clock despite the ball not being in play, and fans rushed the floor. St. Bonaventure, the home school, was assessed a one shot technical foul, and VCU made the free throw to tie it and send it to overtime, where they ultimately won. The Atlantic 10 released a statement on Saturday night stating that the one-shot technical was the correct call, and on Sunday issued a clarification. In the clarification, the conference office said, “The administrative technical foul was assessed for multiple reasons. The most significant was an individual taking the game ball from the inbounding baseline (assuming time had expired) and walking down the sideline, causing the VCU player to look for the ball, and chase the individual to secure the ball for inbound. Simultaneously, one of the game officials collided with a fan on the court, prior to the inbound toss. It was after these violations that the clock expired, and the students and fans stormed the court with :00 on the clock.

 

Tonight’s Menu

  • Virginia looks to bounce back from their loss at Syracuse as they host Louisville (7 p.m.)
  • It’s a week full of rivalry games, and a noteworthy one tonight is Kansas State hosting Kansas (9 p.m.)
  • America East, the MAAC, MEAC and SWAC have busy slates, with Norfolk State at Savannah State (8 p.m.) being perhaps the best matchup there.

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College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

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Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

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"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
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Review on Hoopville coming soon!

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