Buzz apologizes to me—and I’m not there
by Jim Hague, firstname.lastname@example.org
follow him on twitter @ogsmar
The NCAA East Regional held open practices this morning in Newark. My alma mater, Marquette is there and I’m currently in Wisconsin (Racine to be precise) to attend the wake of the father of my best friend from my days in Milwaukee.
What are the odds of that? I’m doing to do everything in my power to get back home tomorrow to see the Golden Eagles/Warriors take on the Tar Heels of North Carolina at the Prudential Center.
In any case, I had to sacrifice the open practices/press session today to attend the wake.
This morning, Marquette coach Buzz Williams, of whom I was very critical a few weeks ago, was asked by a sportswriter, believed to be Tom Luicci of the Star-Ledger about the incident after the Marquette loss to Seton Hall, when Williams held a team meeting in the locker room for more than an hour after the game was over.
Here’s what was said today, courtesy of the transcripts of the press conference:
Q. Buzz, can you talk about your last
trip to this building, and what was your
message to the players when they were kind of
barricaded in the locker room for 45 minutes
after that loss?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Somebody
said that somebody got mad. I don’t read anything
that you guys write, but the guy that I upset is he
Q. I don’t think he is.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Do you know?
Q. I don’t think he is.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Do you know
him? Tell him I am really not a bad guy and I
apologize. And I mean it sincerely.
Q. He’s a Marquette guy.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: That is a loyal
alum. I am sure he donated a lot of money to our
I really didn’t say anything, to be honest
with you, that I wouldn’t have said if our team was
here in front of you. It was not a kumbaya
meeting, not a prayer meeting, just a truthful
meeting. We were 9-7. We had won three games
in a row. We won at UConn. All of those things.
And then we go home, we got two games to play.
We play Cincinnati at home and wasn’t good
enough to beat them. And you can argue maybe
we had to do more, but I think the premise behind
the last week of the season, if we won one, we
were probably in the Tournament. We were
playing Seton Hall after the best game, in my
opinion, at that moment in time, of Coach Willard’s
tenure at Seton Hall. Playing unbelievable against
St. John’s here. And the same thing happened to
us in the first half. They just absolutely blitzed us.
And I just told our guys what I believe to be true,
nothing that was earth shattering, nothing that they
were stunned by, nothing that was out of the
ordinary and nothing that I meant to perturb
anybody from the media. I think I have been as
transparent and as accessible in the last 1,080
days as any coach in any sport.
What I said was, was that a week ago
today we only had to win one to get in the
Tournament. And as of today, I don’t think that’s
the — I don’t think that’s the case anymore. So
we’re going to get on the plane to New York not
knowing what we have to do in order to continue to
play in the NCAA Tournament. And the longer we
stay in New York, the better odds we have of
getting in the Tournament. We were able to play
three games and that was probably just good
enough to get in the Tournament. So I didn’t say
anything that, like I said, I didn’t say anything that I wouldn’t have said to you. When we play here, I am going to invite that guy in the locker room. Tell him he can come back there.”
There it is. Buzz apologized to me, but I wasn’t there. Now, someone must have read this blog and passed the word to Buzz that I was perturbed over the incident.
Because other than writing it here _ and getting a boatload of criticism from avid Marquette fans about it _ no one was informed formally of my anger. I did notify the Big East office about it, but apparently nothing was officially done about it.
So Buzz has apologized, just like I did last week. All is well. Ring out a-hoya. Marquette is in the Sweet 16. And we’re going to do everything in our power to get there tomorrow.
Buzz is wrong about one thing. I don’t donate ”a lot of money.” I’m a sportswriter. We’re all pretty much broke. I can’t afford to donate a lot of money, but I do donate some money.
I’ll accept the apology even though I’m about 25 miles from the Marquette campus right now and he’s about five miles from my front door in Kearny. It’s pretty ironic, don’t you think?
Congrats to the Friars of St. Anthony for winning the school’s fourth national championship Monday night, defeating Plainfield at the IZOD Center. The 2011 team will now go down with the 1989, 1996 and 2008 teams as national champs.
And people are always looking to compare one team to the next, which is totally unfair.
But if we are going to compare, there is no comparison. The 1989 team that featured future NBA players Bobby Hurley, Terry Dehere and Rodrick Rhodes and also featured a college standout in Jerry Walker was clearly the best Friar team of all time. They were the best high school basketball team ever and that team is the single reason why there is such a thing as the Tournament of Champions in New Jersey, because the NJSIAA wanted to capitalize on the popularity of that Friar team.
That team sold out gyms all over the place and left long lines of avid fans who wanted to see them in action. They were like the Beatles of high school basketball.
This team does hold a distinction because they were not considered to be national championship quality to begin the season, but moved their way up the rankings, like a hot single on the Billboard charts. It’s the first time a St. Anthony team did that, moving up the rankings instead of starting the year at No. 1 and staying there.
There are sportswriters who are blasting Lawrence Taylor for pleading guilty to having sex with an underage prostitute and being labeled as a sex offender _ and deservedly so.
However, there’s another side to this story. You see, Taylor has definitely symptoms and signs of having a multiple-personality disorder and has never been properly treated for it.
He even addresses himself in two different ways. When he’s being the loving, caring, considerate teammate, he calls himself ”Lawrence,” the way that Bill Parcells still refers to him.
But then there’s the ”wild and crazy dog” that is known as “L.T.” and even Taylor himself refers to that personality as “L.T.”
It’s very clear that this is a disturbed man in dire need of psychiatric treatment and apparently has never properly received it.
Maybe, over the terms of his six-year probation of being a sex offender, he can get the mental health treatment he desperately needs.
Don’t forget to watch “60 Minutes” Sunday night, when correspondent Steve Kroft does a piece on Bob Hurley and the Friars. It should be a very interesting segment to say the least.
Here’s to hoping that spring can finally come and stay, because snow totally depresses me. It’s one thing to have snow like we have in Wisconsin, but in New Jersey? On March 24? Opening Day in baseball is next week. Please, enough is enough.
You can read more of my work at http://www.hudsonreporter.com, http://www.theobserver.com and http://www.dailyrecord.com