Semifinal Day In Review

By Jerry Palm - April 06, 2008

SAN ANTONIO -- I got up early (again) on Semifinal Saturday and took a mosey around downtown San Antonio. It looks like many touristy areas, with shops, restaurants, bars, a Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, etc, all seeming built around this place.

Looks familiar, but I don't remember why.

The Ripley's museum, like many of the other places, had a sign like this in the window.

I didn't know that any weapons were unlawful in Texas.

I also found my way over to the vicinity of the Convention Center, where Hoop City is. Right outside of that is the staging area for the big music festival that is running in conjunction with the tournament. At that time, they were finishing up a 5K run by giving away game tickets to some lucky participants. They had to call five names though before they found a winner. You had to be present to win. I think I'd have stuck around for a chance to win tickets. Of course, if I tried a 5K run, I'd have to stick around at the end because I would require medical attention.

After a while, and an impromptu radio spot on Sporting News Radio, I wandered over to the coaches' hotel in hopes of finding the elusive Scott Drew, and to check in with some friends on Radio Row.

At that moment it dawned on me that while I am not a big text message guy, as I mentioned before, one of the few people who ever contacted me that way before this weekend was Drew. So, I sent him a message, but I got no response. Five minutes later, I saw the NABC convention schedule and noticed that at that moment, he was running a coaches' clinic. Good timing, JP.

After a spot on Sirius radio with Jerry Tarkanian and Steve Torre, it was off to the Sirius bar (not related to Sirius radio, as far as I know) to meet David Scott and his crew for a bloody breakfast. On my way, I ran into Baylor's grad assistant, who told me that the Baylor assistants were running a clinic for kids at hoop city that afternoon, and that I might find Drew there.

I went over there and I didn't find Drew (he texted later that he was no longer in town), but I watched the clinic anyway to pick up some tips in case I help coach my son's team again next year. The Bears' lead assistant, Mike Morefield, ran the clinic, with help from the other Baylor coaches, which went over everything from ball handling and shooting to teamwork and communication.

On the latter note, he had the kids trained to react to his whistle by getting in a defensive stance and yelling, "Defense! Oh, yeah!" If they didn't do it to his liking, it was five pushups for everyone. If he told them to relax, they would - in unison - wipe their forehead with the back of their hands and shout, "whew!" followed by three claps and another shout of, "I love this game!"

Morefield is a high energy guy, and by high energy, I mean he must have Red Bull running through his veins. He was always bouncing around the court, shouting encouragement or instruction, the entire hour. They got a lot done in that period of time, and the kids had a real good time with it.

I still had one more radio spot to do back at Radio Row before getting on the media shuttle and wondering if I was ever going to actually make it to the dome. By 2:30, traffic had so snarled the downtown area, that it took almost 20 minutes to go the two blocks to the other media hotel for a pickup before heading over. The Marriott's bus pickup area was nearly blocked by about a dozen buses that had, at least temporarily, given up on the idea of going anywhere. Our driver fought on though, and we did eventually make it.

After the game, fellow blogger Eric Sorenson and I were dying for a bite to eat, but it was already approaching 11 and the downtown restaurants all close at 10. There is a Denny's and a McDonald's that are open later, but you could hardly get near them. We found a little ice cream/sandwich/sundries shop though that was still open, so we didn't have to settle for a liquid dinner.

We headed over to Sirius to catch up with Scott again. The place was so crowded that E Sor and I had to wait outside until two people left so we could go in. As I'm trying to numb-thumb my way through a text to Scott that he had to leave so we could enter, Ben and Jerry from Vermont (perhaps not their real names), took off, so we were in.

There, we hardly talked to Scott as we got pinned into one spot in the bar, where we talked to a couple of ladies, who were in town hanging out with some NCAA staffers. One happened to be a fellow Boiler whose parents live up in the Region in the next town over from me.

The bar had an interesting mix of tourists and locals. Right before closing (which is 2 AM here), a guy walked in with three young ladies who were dressed, let's say, provocatively. The guy then says to me, "Hey, you're in town for the basketball (how did he know that? It's not like my face is orange with black stripes on it.). Wouldn't you like to spend some time in the company of one of these fine looking women?" While I was pondering the right way to say, "Not just no, but hell no,' the guy noticed the ladies we had been talking to, apologized, and slinked away to try his luck somewhere else.

Sunday's action includes between-day pressers. We'll have some preview stuff here.

Posted by Jerry Palm at 10:09 AM on April 06, 2008

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