I can't wait for the start of the college basketball season, baby! I can't think of a better way to open the 2002-2003 season, than with Coaches vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden, Nov. 14-15. The "Mecca" of college basketball will be rocking and rolling, baby!
The organizers of Coaches vs. Cancer did a great job putting together the new, two-night format. The previous format was changed due to a recent ruling stipulating that schools can play two exempt tournaments every four years. Fans will now see eight teams in two nights with a pair of exciting doubleheaders.
The talent is awesome with several diaper dandies and members of my All-Rolls Royce teams. Think about it … in one place, two nights, fans can see stars like Ebi Ere and Hollis Price of Oklahoma, T.J. Ford of Texas, Dwyane Wade of Marquette, Erwin Dudley and Maurice Williams of Alabama, Jarvis Hayes of Georgia, and four coaches who have made it to the Final Four.
There should be exciting action to kick off the season. Let's break down the four games:
Syracuse vs. Memphis, Nov. 14th
Jimmy Boeheim vs. John Calipari in a sideline showdown. Calipari, who made his name and fame at Massachusetts, will bring his Tigers into the Garden. Remember, Calipari had success in leading Memphis to the NIT Championship.
The Tigers will feature seven-footer Earl Barron, who is an improved player. Barron has added toughness to his skills.
This contest marks the debut of diaper dandy Carmelo Anthony. He is going to be a special player.
Oklahoma vs. Alabama, Nov. 14th
Both of these teams could be in the preseason top 10. The Sooners and Tide, wow, it sounds like a football match-up! In fact, these two schools will meet on the gridiron this season. But believe me, these programs can play hoops too!
Oklahoma made the Final Four last year, and Kelvin Sampson would like to take his squad back again in 2003. I can't wait to see the guard battle between Price and Williams!
It should be interesting to see the play in the interior with Dudley and company challenging Ere.
Villanova vs. Marquette, Nov. 15th
This game will bring a lot of excitement to the Garden. Jay Wright has a talented, young squad after a tremendous recruiting effort. Wright made his name at Hofstra, and is now rebuilding Villanova back to its days of prominence.
This will be the opening collegiate performance for 6-foot-10 diaper dandy, Jason Fraser, who was rated one of the premier big men in America from this high school class. Fraser is back in New York after starring at Amityville, Long Island.
Fraser will have his hands full against the defensive-minded Golden Eagles of Marquette. The fans will enjoy seeing the high-riser Wade, whose athletic ability is special.
Georgia vs. Texas, Nov. 15th
Jim Harrick and Rick Barnes will hook it up in a solid way to wrap up this bonanza of hoop action.
Barnes has an outstanding team, guided by the orchestra leader and maestro man, Ford, who became the first freshman ever to lead the nation in assists.
The Bulldogs have a solid frontline standout in Jarvis Hayes. Georgia is considered one of the premier teams in the SEC again after surprising many a year ago.
It will be hoops galore, showtime in the Big Apple! You have it all, outstanding coaches, diaper dandies, impact players!
In college basketball, players come and players go. As my buddy Dave Gavitt said, in the pros, it is about the name on the back of the jersey, but in college, it is all about the name on the front.
I can't wait for the passion and enthusiasm as we tip off another exciting season, helping a great charity, Coaches vs. Cancer, fighting the dreaded disease. I feel the adrenaline rushing already!