Sherman's March to Madness
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Scott.
Scott loved playing sports, but the problem was that he wasn’t a very good athlete. Thin, boney, and nerdy, he had the height of a stunted rabbit, the speed of an intoxicated turtle, and the strength of an arthritic mouse. His greatest athletic accomplishment was either hitting a triple in Little League—and really, let’s be honest, it was a bloop single with two errors—or earning the fifth-doubles spot on a middle school tennis team that everybody made. Oh, and one time he scored like eight points in the D-Level Booster Basketball “All-Star” Game against a maladroit collection of obese middle schoolers. That was pretty cool.
It’s been two weeks since the Harvard men’s basketball team stunned the college basketball world with its 68-62 victory over New Mexico. But for me, the gigantic upset was nowhere near the most surprising occurrence of the night.
I was instead most shocked on that historic evening by the fan support shown for the program whose rapid ascension to the top of the Ivy League has often been accompanied by an underlying hesitation about whether success on the basketball court is a type of success Harvard should be striving for.
I still remember the day it became clear that Keith Wright ’12 had made the leap.
It was Oct. 30, 2010, and it was at Harvard coach Tommy Amaker’s annual preseason coaching clinic—the first chance for fans to get a glimpse of the upcoming season’s squad.
The Harvard men’s basketball team’s record-breaking 2011-12 season was brought to an official end this week with the squad’s annual banquet at the Harvard Club of Boston. The event marked a wrap-up of the past year—its best moments exemplified in a ten-plus minute highlight video—as well as the official start of next season.
That meant it was time for me, too, to share my final thoughts on 2011-12, and look ahead to 2012-13 as well.
November 9, 2007.
The Harvard men’s basketball team is in Palo Alto to play Stanford in the first game of Tommy Amaker’s tenure as head coach. A sophomore guard named Jeremy Lin struggles to zero points while Cardinal center Robin Lopez—his brother Brook recently deemed academically ineligible—torches Harvard inside. The Crimson is blown out, 111-56. It would finish 8-22 on the season, 3-11 in conference play.