Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MSU miscellaneous

As of Monday, the Murray State football program has secured coaches for the offensive and defensive coordinator positions, Racer media relations assistant John Brush said. Other position(s) have yet to be filled, and the program is waiting to release information on the hirings until all are filled and final.


In Thursday's Sun, I wrote a feature story on Racer senior guard Tyler Holloway. So as not to throw away quotes, I've included my leftovers here:

Holloway on MSU:
“Everybody told me once you go to the place you’re supposed to be at, it will just hit you. I probably never would have dreamed it would have been as awesome as it’s been. I knew it was going to be great but it’s been all that I could have imagined and more, and I feel very blessed to say that I’ve played for Murray State and been a part of the program here.”

Coach Billy Kennedy on Holloway's experience at this point in the season:
“Tyler has the best understanding of what’s at stake right now because he’s participated in the NCAA Tournament and won an OVC championship. Our younger guys, and even some of our returning guys, it hasn’t hit them yet. That’s the biggest thing he brings is his experience and the understanding of what it takes to be a champion.”

Kennedy on Holloway's "marketability" for the program:
“He’s just a good example of what our program wants to represent. Somebody who’s going to get his degree, somebody who’s going to work hard, somebody who’s going to make good choices on the court and off the court, and a guy who can play. Tyler has great confidence in his ability to shoot the ball and that’s something we need to continue to build on through the end.”

Holloway on moving the 3-point line back this season:
“If you look at it, especially guard, I was never toe-to-the-line anyways. The way the game is played, it’s pressured out so much that you’re three or four feet behind the line anyways. I think you’ve seen a difference in big men’s percentages, and not shooting as many, but as far as guards, if you talk to me or anybody else, we’re not seeing a big difference.”

Holloway on why he's a clutch shooter:
“I think it starts in high school. I’ve always wanted to take that big shot. A lot of your really good players want the ball in their hands, in a clutch time like that, starting in high school. I think I’ve hit big shots and even here in Murray, I look back at clutch shots in my career.”

Holloway on the end of his career at MSU:
“It’s really starting to sink in. When high school ended, I knew I had something bigger and better coming, and not saying I don’t now with what’s coming. Because life’s all about changes, but I’ve always kind of been known as that guy who plays basketball. To know it is about to be over it gives you a whole different mindset.”

Holloway on how coach Kennedy's style compares to coach Mick Cronin:
"He’s a lot more laid back, which is a lot easier, almost, to play for a coach like that because you know that if you make a mistake, yeah, you might come out, but he’s not the kind of guy that’s going to get up in your face and yell at you, and I think it brings a calming presence to everybody else.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

They do hear you...Part II

The usually unruly fan that sits behind me did it again.

After being totally silent all game (based on later coughing and yelling, I presume he was under the weather), Mr. Unruly decides to heckle UT Martin's Lester Hudson during Murray State's game against the Skyhawks on Monday.

Hudson was called for his third foul late in the game, and spent Murray State's free throw time talking to the referees.

Mr. Unruly started yelling about diapers, insinuating he was a "cry baby." He caught Hudson's attention, and Hudson made a slight attempt to ignore him. Then he responded after Mr. Unruly began taunting him with his then field-goal ratio 3-for-15.

"Well you’re not out here are you," Hudson said, with other mild mumbles.

This fueled Mr. Unruly, who continued to heckle. "Hey Hudson, I've been watchin'!" until he grew hoarse.

Hudson, who averages 27.4 points a game, finished with 15 points.

Monday, February 16, 2009

They do hear you...

Murray State basketball fans found most of their excitement Saturday jeering and booing Jacksonville State men's coach James Green when he received a technical with six minutes left in the game. Green irked fans all night with his sideline antics advocating for his team.

One usually unruly fan yelled loudly at the officials, saying “You got no guts, ref! I’d have throwed him out! You got no guts!”

The referee turned to him after Tyler Holloway’s technical free throws and responded, “You might be going out soon. I’ll have you going out in a hurry.”

The fan was mostly quiet after that, only muttering epithets to those around him.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thoughts from the Marshall County-Murray doubleheader

I have a problem.

I'll be walking in the mall, covering a game, grocery shopping, etc., and I'll come across someone with the above logo on a shirt or baseball cap.

My senses start beeping, and I scream in my head, "MIZZOU!" The University of Missouri fight song plays in my head, and I believe I've just found a kindred fellow alumnus to befriend.

Wrong. What I generally find is a Murray High School fan. The Murray Tigers have long ago adopted the same colors and logo as Mizzou (I am not insinuating a rip off here or copyright infringement), and it trips me up every time. In a closer glance at the logo on the jacket of Ron Greene, Murray's boy's basketball coach, it appears the only difference might be their Tiger has an actual eyeball. I can't really tell.

Anyway, no offense Murray Tiger fans, but it's always a bit of a disappointment to discover you're not a Mizzou Tiger fan.


We picked the wrong game to cover.

The Marshall teams played in a boys-girls doubleheader tonight with Murray's teams, and I traveled to Draffenville to only cover the first game, the boys game.

The decision was made mostly because of time constraints. I'm technically an hourly employee, and because of the strapped economy, I'm not allowed to work overtime — on or off the clock. We opted to send me to one game to get me out of the office early and quickly.

But we picked the wrong game.

The boys game, my game, was a bona-fide rout. The Marshals won 73-47. The girls game, however, was a thriller, going into overtime as I write this. The Lady Marshals won.

In picking which high school games we cover in any sport, we always try to pick games where the competition level will be high or district/region standings are on the line. Yes, we usually follow winning teams. Sometimes our guesstimations are wrong, and a team has a bad night and things end up in a blow out and I end up typing crazy box scores. Sometimes, our guesstimations are wrong, and a team has a stellar night and things become a lot more exciting.

Anyway, our apologies for not staying for both games.

Monday, February 9, 2009

EIU observances

Observances from Murray State’s men’s game at Eastern Illinois on Monday night.

Tyler Holloway had his own personal heckler Monday night in the Panthers’ student section. He was annoying, but at least couth and not too offensive.

The heckler may or may not have been aware that Holloway was just 15 points away from 1,000 career points. If he had any effect is debatable; Holloway was heavily guarded through the night and scored 11 points. He is on tap to break 1,000 when the Racers return home to play Tennessee Tech on Thursday.


Lantz Arena got a face lift since last season. The retaining walls behind the goals are now splashed with flashy, professional murals. It easily went from one of the ugliest arenas in the Ohio Valley Conference to one of the “prettiest.”

After a 12-day break where the Racers were able to heal and get healthy, they’re banged up again.

Holloway sustained a gash to his head during the game at Austin Peay, which needed two staples to mend. Danero Thomas limped slightly during halftime warm ups and walked with the trainer for a while when he was on the bench. Jeffery McClain was feeling under the weather with a stomach bug. Isacc Miles, who was ill for the Austin Peay game, was feeling better, Racer coach Billy Kennedy reported.

Kennedy continues to get more animated on the sidelines as the season progresses. Several times assistant coach Steve Prohm had to tug Kennedy’s jacket from behind, signaling he ought to lay off the referees a bit.

I’m waiting for him to go on record with his feelings on the officiating. I’ll probably be waiting a while.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kennedy quotes from APSU

Murray State’s whole camp was bummed after its 83-80 loss at Austin Peay on Saturday night. Racer head coach Billy Kennedy was just as bummed as the rest of them.

Because the Sun had an earlier-than-normal deadline still dealing with remnants of Ice-trina, I saved a few more quotes from Kennedy’s post-game interviews:

On part of the sense of heartbreak:
“We scored enough points to win, but just felt like defensively we didn’t do a very good job. And we didn’t get any breaks.”

On Danero Thomas’ 30-point career-high performance:
“He’s played well the last few games, and hopefully he’s coming into his own. I thought he did a good job of being aggressive when he needed to, and taking 3s when he needed to. His decision making is much better.”

On what overshadowed Thomas’ performance:
“He was good. He was very good. I thought that was good to see. Unfortunately in tonight’s game, Drake Reed and Wes Channels were very good. They scored 54 points and defensively, we didn’t do a very good job of guarding Channels, but I thought Reed was just awesome. The first half, the shots he was throwing in and making, was special. He had 23 at the half, and I haven’t seen a kid do that against our team in a long time."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Official Observer

When you spend as many hours on the road and as many nights in different high school and college gymnasiums as I do, you get to meet some pretty interesting people.

Like Tynes Hildebrand.

I met Mr. Hildebrand on Wednesday night at Murray State's basketball games against Tennessee State. Hildrebrand was on an official visit to observe the referees of the men's game, essentially grading their performance and reporting it back to the NCAA for the officials' files and records.

We chatted and exchanged pleasantries during the women's game. Turns out, Hildrebrand coached at Northwestern State in Louisiana before becoming the school's athletic director for many years. He said he recruited a player from Paducah a long time ago.

He was very excited to see Racer head coach Billy Kennedy. Hildrebrand gave Kennedy his FIRST JOB as an assistant coach in 1988. Kennedy actually SMILED when Hildebrand caught his attention before the national anthem. Kennedy doesn't smile much around a court.

Anyway, back to officiating. Hildebrand shared that he sees anywhere from four to six games a week on the road as the South's regional advisor. Today he was heading to Austin Peay to observe more officials, and would travel to Columbia, Mo., Monday, to my alma mater, to observe the officials in the heated Missouri-Kansas rivalry game (very jealous of him).

I asked Hildebrand about officiating during intense rivalry games, and he said that players get away with more fouls/referees don't call as many in the more heated games. The games naturally take on a more aggressive, physical format than other not-so-important games.

As for the officials at Murray State's game at TSU, Hildebrand methodically made his marks and notes during the game. While he responded to the quality of officiating in the first half off the record, my personal thoughts were that it was a rare, relatively well-called game.

Of the three officials, Hildebrand had observed Bret Smith in other games, and said he was a very excellent official.

We did agree on two bad calls, discovered because of my jokingly prodding for information.

If I get table-mates half as interesting as Mr. Hildebrand at a game, you know it's going to be a good night.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Record breaking

Murray State senior forward Ashley Hayes just broke the Racers' single game scoring record with 46 points against Tennessee State in a 97-93 win at the Gentry Center in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday night.

The previous record was set by Joi Scott on Feb. 16, 2006 with 43 points at Tennessee State.