MWC: The Crying Game

By David Scott - October 26, 2006

LAS VEGAS – With a huge assist from the BAG Man (Bryan Armen Graham), we’re able to focus a bit more on the personalities present at MWC Media Day. Bryan does a fantastic job of summing up the league’s prospects of becoming the “next MVC.”

With that discussion out of the way, we’ll start the first of the day's featurettes, after the jump, with the returning player of the year in the league, Brandon Heath.

Get this: Your reigning Mountain West Player of the Year is already preparing his fans for an emotional breakdown that he guarantees is coming. He’s even contemplating shoving some napkins or tissues in his shorts so he’ll be able to wipe the tears and dab the running nose.

He’s not the Player of the Year – he’s going to be the Crier of the Year.

“I’m telling you right now,” said San Diego State’s senior guard, Brandon Heath. “I will be crying that night and everyone will see me crying.”

That night will be Senior Night in San Diego and even though it’s a few months off, Heath, a Los Angeles native, has already begun thinking about it. “Of course – that’s going to be a great moment for me, but a sad one too. I love San Diego, it’s a second home to me.”

Fortunately for Heath, he won’t be the only SDSU team member getting all mooshy-gooshy.

“I’m going to probably cry too,” said head coach Steve Fisher. “He’s one of my favorites, ever, for what he’s done and the style he’s done it in.”

Fisher said that Heath had to take night classes in order to academically qualify as a freshman and now, the 6-foot-4, 203 pound guard is six credits shy of his degree, with plans to start on a master’s program in the spring.

“Brandon is everything good about what sports can help do for a young man,” said Fisher. “And I, personally, owe him a great deal. He came to us and believed in us and now he helped our program gain in credibility. I owe a lot to him and I appreciate what he’s done.”

As one of just two seniors on the Aztec roster (big man Mohamed Akubar is the other), Heath is an elder statesman, but said he doesn’t quite play the role off the court.

“I’m probably one of the goofiest guys when we’re not playing,” said Heath, who enters the season with 1,552 career points and will undoubtedly pass NBA legend, Michael Cage, as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,846). (The MWC’s all-time scoring leader, Ruben Douglas, had 1,782 points for New Mexico.)

But Heath’s game is anything but goofie. He shot 41 percent form 3-point land last season and wound up putting his name into the NBA Draft, later withdrawing it. “We have unfinished business, as a group, that we need to take care of,” he said.

For a team that made the NCAA Tournament (losing by four to Indiana), that can only mean one thing: advancing in the Tournament. “We’ve got a guy like (Louisville transfer) Lorenzo Wade, who has been to the Final Four and all these guys that I love to play with.”

Loves them so much, in fact, that he’s already planning a good, old-fashioned cry when he has to leave them.

* The first of four interview periods (coaches) has finished up and we were able to get some time with Steve Fisher, Ritchie Mckay and Air Force assistant Derrick Clark. Clark told us that head coach Jeff Bzdelik is in Chicago with his mom, but that everything is fine. Bzdelik will be proud to know that Clark handled himself extremely well in representing the program and peppered his answers with “well, as Coach Bzdelik would say.” Good company man – and we’d expect nothing less at Air Force, especially since Clark’s dad, James, was an Air Force officer for 20 years.

* Players from the all nine schools are now available for interviews, so we’re heading back to the interview room.

* Hang loose. . .

Posted by David Scott at 12:49 PM on October 26, 2006

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