You know that moment, first thing in the morning, when you aren’t aware that the horror fresh in your mind was just a bad dream?
It seemed so real. This is what I experienced first thing this morning.
It was the middle of the 2013-14 college basketball season and I saw the Syracuse uniforms, but nothing else seemed familiar.
Jim Boeheim wasn't on the bench. How could that be? He’d been there as head man since 1976. Oh, there were a couple of crazy articles about his retiring last season, but they were just nonsense.
After all, he still had energy and fire burning in his belly. His recruiting classes had been outstanding recently. I know he was upset about moving from the Big East to the ACC, but at the same time, that would bring new challenges and better road-trip weather. He almost seemed excited about the move recently.
Wait a minute!
It hits me that I don’t see Mike Hopkins anywhere on the Syracuse bench. Just as I realize that I don’t recognize the coach, I find out where Hopkins is.
As bad as that was, my nightmare got worse.
The USC center made a vicious block and when he turned…Rakeem Christmas?
A three from the corner by Trojan guard…Trevor Cooney?
A flying forward oops a nice alley…Jerami Grant?
All suiting up as Trojans?
What’s happening here?
I switch back to the mother ship and see a very confused DaJuan Coleman and Baye Moussa Keita introducing themselves to the rest of the Orange. The other five players are all freshmen. Seven scholarship players? That’s it?
I need an explanation. Anyone?
It’s then I realize the announcers have been talking about this being the aftermath of NCAA sanctions against Syracuse. Something about academics, but by this point I can’t focus.
It’s terrible. A nightmare.
Ah, yes…a nightmare. That’s all it was. After the horrible sinking feeling comes the great uplifting feeling of realizing none of this was true.
I looked quickly at the Syracuse roster. There was the old man, still listed as head coach. All of the familiar players who are making a nice run in the NCAA tournament.
Triche and Fair and Carter-Williams and Southerland and Christmas and Cooney and Grant.
A quick glance at the coaching staff reveals that Hopkins is indeed still in the Orange fold.
Whew. All is right again with the Orange.
What? They play who in the Sweet 16?
Are you kidding? Is Keith Smart anywhere near Washington D.C?
Oh, the horror.
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