PANTHER HOOP AND EDWARDS SPEAKS
Just a few quick notes today on the Panther men’s hoop game yesterday. Senior captain Tim Edwards was kind enough to talk to me for almost five minutes afterward and reflect back on his four years with the Middlebury College program as well as the Panthers’ exciting rally against Trinity.
Not everything fit in the article that will come out tomorrow, which will focus on how the Panthers came back from five points down with six minutes to go, and how Trinity used a smart game plan to put Middlebury in the hole.
The Panthers, by the way, have done enough to reach the NCAA Division III tournament. No one will come out and say it, of course, but they made it two years ago when they were 19-7 and won a first-round NESCAC playoff game. Now they are 23-2 and again have won a first-round NESCAC playoff game. The only question is how much they have to do this coming weekend to host at least one tourney game, if the Panthers haven’t done enough already.
But on to Edwards. He laughed about the parents-and-girlfriends crowds the Panthers used to draw. On Saturday more than 1,100 people paid their way to attend, even though the games are usually free.
“We’ve had games where there were like 80 people in the gym,” Edwards said about his first couple years.
On Saturday, the football team helped set the tone. Mostly fun, but I still wish they would lose the vestiges of the “you suck” chant that cropped up a couple times. But the signs with blown-up photos of their football teammate Bill Greven and Andrew “Locke Ness Monster” Locke, the Panthers 6-10 shot blocker, were priceless, as was their game-long energy.
Or as Edwards put it: “It’s definitely a much different crowd. You get some students who are a little more rowdy than the parents. It’s great to get the support, and it’s definitely a huge 180 from my freshman year.”
Edwards also talked about why he picked Middlebury, which was not exactly a basketball factory. He talked about the facilities, the academics, the players who were there (he named Andrew Harris, Ben Rudin, Mike Walsh and Evan Thompson), and, of course, Coach Jeff Brown. “Obviously, the school speaks for itself. I liked the young players they had here,” Edwards said. “Coach Brown is a great coach.”
With what’s happened since, Edwards said he “couldn’t be happier” with his decision.
Hard to argue.
On the Ball will be back late Monday afternoon once the Division II high school boys’ basketball seeds are out and I have a chance to analyze the draw.
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