One on One with Mr. Golden
by Todd Golden
First of all, I want to congratulate the ’09-’10 Gaels for accomplishing something that had never been done before in SMC hoops history… winning the WCC Tourney Championship Game! To put it in perspective, in my four years of playing at SMC we only made the championship game ONCE, and we made TWO ncaa tournaments. It goes to show how difficult of an accomplishment it is, and it is something that this group of guys can cherish for the rest of their lives. I actually had the opportunity to watch the game (even though it was a 4am start over here in Israel) and I have never been prouder to be a Gael.
One last disclaimer before I write a quick something about my experiences…. OMAR SAMHAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR. In my opinion, this was a travesty. The dude led the league in Points by 5pts per game, Rebounds by 2.5 rebs per game, and Blocks by 1blk per game. Those are DOMINANT #’s. I could understand if SMC finished in the bottom half of the league, and was a non-factor in post-season play, but that WASN’T the case. Hopefully, now that SMC knocked Gonzaga off the pedestal for good, the way that the other coaches view the league will change. SMC is here to stay, and Omar was a HUGE reason for that.
Ok, when Omar asked me to write a little blog about my tourney experiences, it made me happy and excited. I love any opportunity to relive those experiences, and here is another one. The actual NCAA tournament is a completely different animal than any pre-season or conference tournament that the team might play in during the year. In a word the NCAA tourney is simply ‘chaotic’. There is so much going on, it is really difficult to focus on the task at hand… the actual ‘game’ itself. Some of the difficulties I remember experiencing were the travel, the time changes, and the fact that you only get one hour… that’s right… one hour to practice, workout, and shoot in the actual arena where the game is played before the game!!! When you think about it, that’s crazy!! It is a very tough adjustment playing in a big arena, and you have to take FULL ADVANTAGE of that hour you get the day before the game, and get as many shots up as possible so, as a player, you can be comfortable the next day when it is game time.
Lastly, I really think this team has a chance to do something special. This team has ALL the characteristics of a team capable of making a serious run. They have a go-to player inside (Omar), serious size down low that can play with the bigger schools (Omar and Ben, both 6’11), GREAT perimeter shooting (Mickey, Delly, Benny, Jordy, and Clint), they do not turn the ball over, and most importantly… they trust each other, and they BELIEVE.
I am definitely excited to watch the Gaels on Thursday… I KNOW they will be ready.