Posts Tagged ‘Basketball Fights’

At least for one day in 1992.

Back in the early 90’s I was coaching at Paint Valley and we had a really good team, four starters standing 6′-5″ who could all shoot from anywhere on the floor. I had seven guys who could dunk, which would be impressive for a high school team even today.

Anyway, I used to take my teams out to the University of Maryland for Gary Willliam’s Basketball Camp. It’s a long story but I used to be the Commissioner of the camps out there for Gary from 1989 to 2002.

The kids who attended Maryland Camp came from the Washington DC area, as well as Baltimore, Philly, New York City and schools all along the east coast. To say my Southern Ohio boys were out of their element was a bit of an understatement. Still, my guys hung out with the city boys, stayed in the dorms with them, and more than held their own on the basketball court. To me it was a win-win all-around. You know, expanding cultural horizons and all that. Not to mention it made my guys better playing against such good competition.

Which brings me to a story that Gary Williams, legendary former coach at Maryland, still tells to this day. Remember that it was 1992, and “trash talking” was in its early stages. Understand that trash talking hardly ever led to violence on the court, it was just a part of the game for players from the playgrounds of the inner-cities. My team, however, was not used to it. It hadn’t made its way to our neck of the woods yet.

With this in mind, my Ohio boys had been in a particularly intense contest with a team from DC, which we happened to have won. Afterwards, in a corridor outside the Cole Field House floor, words were exchanged between an opposing player and one of my guys. After the other player challenged my player with some unkind words, a punch was thrown.

Somebody got throttled, and he wasn’t from Ross County.

Gary Williams, the aforementioned Maryland coach, happened to be in the corridor and jumped between my player and the other guy who was, well, on the hallway floor. At that point, as Gary will tell you, the following conversation took place:

Coach Williams: “What are you doing, man? Why did you punch him?”

My guy: “Coach, where I come from we only talk like that for a minute. Then we start to hit.”

Gary thought that was the greatest thing he’d ever heard, and he could hardly wait to tell me about it.

And believe me, at the time no truer words had ever been spoken.

Trash talking has since become commonplace, but back in ’92? Not so much.

I sort of miss those days.

Originally published on October 24th, 2012.