Friday, March 14, 2008
Madison Square Garden...of Eden?
Well. Where do I begin? It doesn’t happen too often, but I am at a complete loss of words. Speechless. What can I say? What should I say? What won’t I say?
Should I begin with the fuddy-duddy cheese heads from Marquette who sat in front of us? Or should I begin with the surreal atmosphere of the Garden as fans from every BIG EAST team wore their school colors loud and proud?
No, I will begin with St. Augustine himself. Living up to his nickname, Okosun played with divine intervention last night. As if a holy spirit had invaded his body, Okosun slashed to the basket, grabbed offensive and defensive rebounds, set menacing picks, and, true-to-form, had one bank jam. Playing with a newfound confidence, Okosun truly wanted the ball and had this look in his eye as if he could single-handedly put this team on his back and carry them to victory (I know this because twice during the game he looked right into my eyes, which technically adds up to a total of four eye-contacts).
Playing for all those unheralded collegiate athletes (Young Mase) who won’t have the chance to go to the NCAA Tournament, much less the BIG EAST tournament, Okosun looked possessed and otherworldly. Too bad the usual supporting cast of demons from Seton Hall also showed up.
After Okosun fouled out with 10 minutes left, an unusual phenomenon happened. One by one, Seton Hall’s two other big men Mike Davis and John Garcia fouled out, symbolically marking the downfall of the Hall. Down to a six-man rotation with over four minutes left, it is almost fitting that Wawa Walters took the court and finished the game. A man who averages under four nanoseconds a game, he looked a little lost and out of his element on the court – but what can you expect from someone who hasn’t played since grade school?
While some might look at Wawa’s entrance as a sign of desperation and defeat, I prefer to see it as emblem of change. With the NIT a possibility, the season may not be over, but there is definitely a changing of the guard (literally). Brian Laing and Jamar Nutter will not be around much longer and while their heroics will be missed, other guys have to rise to the challenge and fill Laing and Nutter’s size 12 shoes. I can only hope it will be Augustine Okosun and Brandon Walters. Nobody deserves it more.