By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after an omelette at Mom’s Restaurant in Franklin, where the omelettes and pancakes are as big as the lies told by the guys at the ‘featured’ table.
—UD’S SHERLOCK (HOLMES): The more one sees of DaRon Holmes II, the more one appreciates him, not only for his proficient play, but for his unselfishness. Seldom does the 6-foot-11 junior megastar for the University of Dayton take a poor shot. And he averages only 10 1/2 shots a game, but he averages 17.7 points. That’s amazing.
In 12 games for the 10-2 Flyers he has 28 blocked shots, 26 dunks and 33 assists. He is the only Division I player in the country with more than 25 blocks, 25 dunks and 25 assists.
And nobody appreciates him more than UD coach
“We say this ad nauseum, but, he’s just a terrific guy, in terms of his work ethic, his approach, his humility,” said Grant. “He understands his process of developing in a day and age where it’s normal to want instant success and instant everything.
“He is willing to put the work in and understand it’s a process for him,” Grant added. “It is great to see him go out there and have the success in a variety of different ways. . .whether it is in the post or on the perimeter or defensively effectively altering shots and rebounding the ball, sharing the ball to get his teammate involved. He is showing that he is a complete player.”
Holmes is UD’s big kahuna, the whole kit-and-caboodle, the whole enchilada, And unlike most players who hang around the basket, he is not built like a furniture truck.
He in enduring and endearing. The Roman philosopher Seneca said, “You can tell the character of a man by the way he accepts compliments.”
Holmes takes compliments with his head down and a soft-spoken, “Thank you.” And he is as loyal to his team and teammates as a border colllie and a mother.
The Flyers open Atlantic 10 conference play tonight at 10-3 Davidson and Holmes said, “Conference is going to be great. We have a lot of great teams in the conference. A lot of our new guys haven’t seen our conference and it is a very underrated conference. We’re all excited, but we are just going to do our thing. We do our thing, we’ll be just fine.”
—ALMOST A RED: When Ron Santo was an 18-year-old high school senior in Seattle in 1959, all 16 major league teams offered him a bonus to sign.
“The biggest offer came from the Cincinnati Reds, $80,000, and I almost took it,” he said. “The first offer was $50,000 from the Cleveland Indians and most offers were $50,000 or more.”
Santo, of course, signed with the Chicago Cubs and played for them for 14 seasons while battling sugar diabetes his entire career and eventually was enshrined posthumously into the baseball Hall of Fame.
And how much bonus money did he get from the Cubs? “The lowest offer, just $20,000,” said Santo. “Money did not mean anything to me at the time and I loved their bird dog scout, Dave Tacher. who told me from the start that I would play third base in the majors. Most teams wanted me as a catcher and I didn’t want that. I loved third base.”
—CAMPY MOVED ‘EM: When catcher Roy Campanella was called up from St. Paul by the Brooklyn Dodgers in July, 1948, Bruce Edwards was the regular catcher and Gil Hodges was the back-up.
Manager Leo Durocher immediately installed Campanella as the catcher and played Edwards at third base and Hodges at first base. That meant the Dodgers had three catchers in the regular lineup.
When Campanellas was called up, the Dodgers were in seventh place. They lost the pennant on the last day of the season to the Boston Braves.
Campanella loves to tell stories about pitcher Don Newcombe. Jackie Robinson, Campanealla and Newcomebe were the first three black players in the National Leauge. Campanell related a great story to authoer Pete Golenbock tha appears in his book, ‘Whispers of the Ghosts.’
“In 1950, we arrived at the clubhouse in Philadelphia and somebody cut out and put on the bulletin board a story from a locall paper,” said Campy. “In it, Phillies second baseman Mike Goliat said, ‘If all the pitchers were like Don Newcomeb, I would lead the league in hitting.’”
Newcome pitched that night, the first game of a twi-night doubleheader. He won the game, using only 80 pitches. So he asked manager Burt Shotton if he could pitch the second game, too. And Shotten said yes and Newk pitched
And Goliat? “He never came close to getting a hit,” said Campanella.
¸—QUOTE: From catcher Roy Campanella to pitcher Don Newcombe when Campa signaled for a fastball and Newk threw a breaking pitch: “Newk, you better do something, because when I signall for the express you throw me a local.”
—DON’T GET SKEWERED: From my journalistic hero, Jim Murray, way back in 1962, after he wrote a disparaging column about the Alabama football team:
“Some people from Alabama invited me down for a New Year’s barbecue. But they didn’t say whose. And I’m not going down till I find out whether I’m the guest-of-honor or the entree.”
And I’m not accepting any invitations to cookouts scheduled by the Cincinnati Reds front office.
—WILL IT BE TAINTED: I’m torn. If Michigan wins the National Championship, is it tainted and scarred? Should a team with all its warts from scandal be rewarded?
The NCAA is investigating Michigan’s recruiting violations and illegal scouting and sanctions are expected. Will the NCAA take away the trophy?
But should the players be penalized, even though many are reaping huge rewards from the insane NIL system. It is happening at most schools.
All I know is this: Believe half of what coach Jim Harbaugh says, then divide it by two. As one of his former coaching opponents said, “He lies through all 32 of his teeth.”
—NOT ON THE DEFENSIVE: Once again, Wright State’s defensive ineptitude did them in during Sunday’s 91-83 loss to Milwaukee.
It was nt so much that the Raiders gave up a slew of points. . .again, but the method. Milwaukee came into the game shooting only 31% from three-point range and averaged eight threes a game.
But against WSU they hit 16 of 30 (53%) and they scored 55 ponts in the second half. That’s a bad pattern the Raiders have displayed all season.
¸—PLAYLIST NO. 6 (What I listened to with the sound down on the TV during Tennesse’s 35-0 win over Iowa in a cheezy Cheez-It Citrus Bowl game — and I never run out of ‘favorite’ songs:
Just What I Needed (The Cars), Will You Still Love Me? (Chicago), Wild Thing (The Troggs), Sherry (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons), Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Credence Clearwater Revival), Love Hurts (Nazareth), A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum), Stand By Me (Ben E. King).
The Winner Takes It All (Abba), Little Red Corvette (Prince), Trilogy (Elvis Presley), You’re So Vain (Carly Simon), You Can’t Hurry Love (Phil Colllins), Night Moves (Bob Segar), Runaway Sue (Del Shannon), Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers), Satisfaction (Rolling Stones), Be-Bop-A-Lula (Gene Vincent).