Letter From the Editor: A Glimpse of the Future, Hopefully
by Will Stewart
TSL Extra, Issue #3

Something significant happened on Wednesday, January 10th, 2001, and for the most part, it went unnoticed.

The Hokie men's basketball team laid the wood on the Miami Hurricanes and won their first-ever Big East Conference game, 85-74. Their first BE win came on just their third try, and just one game after they had almost pulled the trick on Villanova.

But it wasn't the win over Miami so much that was cause for excitement. Recent Hokie men's basketball teams have notched wins over good opponents. Just last year, they beat Xavier and Dayton at home in games they were not supposed to be competitive in. So it wasn't the victory; rather, it was more the way they did it.

For the first time in recent memory, I saw a confident, athletic Hokie basketball team pushing the ball up the floor and attacking the basket. We've been hearing for years about how the Tech team was finally going to start running the ball again, but on this day, they actually did it.

But to me, the most remarkable moment of the game came when 6-4 Danny Gathings took an alley-oop pass in heavy traffic and slammed it down amidst the tall trees. It was one of those out-of-nowhere plays that not a single person in Cassell Coliseum saw coming, except for Gathings and the Tech player who threw the pass.

The crowd went crazy.  I mean, really crazy. There were only 2800 or so of us there, according to the official attendance numbers, but all 2800 people lost it. So much so, in fact, that they couldn't stop cheering even when Gathings lined up for his free throw (he had been fouled on the dunk and had a chance to convert a three-point play). With the crowd screaming, Gathings missed the free throw.

I haven't seen a Tech men's basketball crowd lose their composure like that in a long, long time. And I hope it's a harbinger of things to come, because I have grown tired of spending hours and hours and hours of covering this team, knowing full well that very few people are paying attention, and that the program has died on the vine. Like many mid-80's Hokies, I await the moment that Tech men's basketball arises from the dead like the Phoenix, revives interest in the program, and once again packs Cassell Coliseum.

And I'm not talking the walk-it-up-the-floor Hokies of the mid-90's. They won some games, sure, but they weren't anywhere near the mid-80's Hokies in being able to peg the excitement meter.

For just one game, Ricky Stokes's Hokies flashed what I hope was an indicator of the future. Sure, the guys went out and got stomped by Georgetown in the very next game (falling behind 37-10), but hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

Enjoy issue #3.


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