October 28, 2021

John Giannini deserves to be coach of year

This column – one of those inspired by Kerouac (or at least Kuralt), was supposed to be so simple. The concept was simple. The heading wasupposed to be so simple. The concept was simple. The heading was going to be simple. The follow-through was … you guessed it … simple.

I was hitting the road, and I had ideas. They were flooding my ever-loving, jowl-encased bean, I had so many of them. Sure, I had to travel. Duty (I know, that’s pushing it) calls. But I figured that en route to the America East tournament, wondering if Team Giannini could turn a record-breaking season into one that the coach himself would term “special,” would be the perfect setting for writing a column.

I’d call it The View From 28,000 Feet (originally it was The View From 30,000 Feet, but our pilot ruined that when he informed us that the mini-jet we were riding wouldn’t reach that altitude on this particular trip).

But somewhere over Cape Cod, en route to Newark, Del., by way of Philly, with a quick puddle-jumper pit stop in Boston thrown in just so we could hop off the flying roller-coaster that Shanghaied us in Bangor, something went awry.

I planned to write, just as soon as the friendly flight attendant told me that I wouldn’t send us all crashing into a wheat field or a warehouse or the ocean if I turned on my “portable electronic device.” That was the plan. Honest, Boss.

Instead, I fell asleep. We’re talking buzz-saw snoring, slime-drooling, tongue-flapping asleep.

Luckily, the ideas didn’t go anywhere. They slept, too.

So here I am, decidedly travel-rumpled (yes, there is a difference) sitting in a hotel, and the concept has changed a wee bit. So has the title: Now it’s The View From The Sixth Floor At Embassy Suites While Waiting For The Damn Airline Guys To Find The Suitcase That Holds All My Dress Clothes So I Can Go Out In Public Again.

Catchy, huh? Try to fit that in a three-line headline.

But even from here, my view has a lot more questions than answers. I guess that’s what sportswriting’s all about.

In fact, all I seem to have these days is questions. Make that questions and dirty socks.

Questions like this: Not to sound like a homer, but how can John Giannini put four players – Andy Bedard, Nate Fox, Huggy Dye, and Julian Dunkley – on the three all-league teams, shepherd a team to 23 wins (and counting) two years after a dismal last-place regular-season showing, and not be named America East coach of the year?

Hofstra coach Jay Wright is good. But he had a lot less work to do (and a lot easier place to lure talent to) than Giannini. Wanna come to Long Island or scenic Orono, at the outer edge of Planet Hoop?

A group of players has believed, came to Maine, and now sits on the cusp of making men’s basketball history in Orono.

Other questions:

What if Speedy Claxton and Huggy Dye traded nicknames?

What’s better in high school sports than the fact that pals Tricia Carver and Kate Chuprevich are playing for a state title in Class D hoops … against each other? Watch the reaction of both when one loses. Tape it. Show it to your kids. It’ll be a keeper.

Is the run over for Joanne Palombo-McCallie’s women? Or can they figure out how to knock off the league’s top seed in their own gym?

And what are the chances that UMaine actually emerges from Delaware this weekend just one game removed from a date with Dicky V and March Madness?

Stay tuned. …

John Holyoke is a NEWS sportswriter.

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