Friday, July 24, 2015

Canada and Murray surprise the Yanks.

Earlier today I wrote that yesterday, between games of the doubleheader at the old Maple Leaf Garden, I noticed a fellow who was sitting in front of me a few rows who was getting a lot of attention.  I had just watched Canada beat Mexico so you might think I would recognize him.  Also, I profess to know a thing about college basketball so you might think I would be familiar with the fellow.

Groups of star struck kids came in clusters asking to get his autograph or take a selfie with him.  Eventually, I discovered that he, at only 18, is on the Canadian team and has been recruited to play for John Calipari at the University of Kentucky this season.

Anyone who gets recruited by Calipari has to be good, but I never heard of this guy.

I know him now. Tonight against the USA this 18 year old played a game for the ages and, during crunch time, made all the plays so that Canada could upset the United States in front of a delirious crowd.

My voice was one of the few shouting for the U.S.  The arena is not the largest and it was close to packed with people wearing Canada garb.  This kid Murray, in a span of about twenty seconds, made a three, blocked an attempted three, and gave Canada a chance to win the game in regulation. That did not happen despite him faking a USA player out of his socks before taking the last shot.  In overtime though the kid took over and with really one player, him, defeated a USA team with some players with NBA experience and a few who will have experience.

A Canadian fan sitting near me told me that most experts (of which I apparently am not one) think he will play one year for Kentucky and then may be the number one pick in the 2016 NBA draft.  Only 6 3, but if he does not get hurt, he will be rich some day.

An interesting sidebar to tonight's spectating. When I left the arena I happened to find myself near a gate where tall players were exiting. I noticed quickly that this was the US team.  I  would certainly not characterize them as jubilant, but not morose either.  Met with their girlfriends, cousins, and in at least one case moms and chatted about mundane things like, where they were going to have dinner. Ron Baker who played well tonight was met by a Wichita State colleague and they went on their way but not before at least four people stopped him and asked if they could take a photo.  I wonder what that does for your head, having strangers practically begging you to take their picture with you.

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