Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Catching Up With the Guru Catching Up

By Mel Greenberg

Catching Up With the Guru Catching Up

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA-NEW YORK- KNOXVILLE - Ok everybody. If the Guru figured his way through the platform there are three new posts in correct order - this one for your entertainment and two more seriously written ones just underneath involving the Honda awards dinner in New York and the Dawn Staley Foundation annual event in Philadelphia (yes, she still comes home).

The triple dateline referes to some of the places the Guru has been, although the month started with a trip to the Jersey shore for the ECAC-Sida convention in Avalon followed by the wedding of his younger niece Allison Swartz, (one of the Guru's escorts with her sister Neena two years ago at the WBHOF induction), to Aaron Greenfield. The couple are still in Italy, it is believed, since no one in the family has reported a return to stateside.

Then it was a first-ever drive to Knoxville -- not grusome thanks to 80 gigs (half-full) of music on the Ipod and the dinner in New York. Travel tip: You can get some good deals without booking ahead from those interstate highway coupon books found at rest stops.

Speaking of fun city, the Guru is gertting this out of the way at the top because a brand new reader -- Kelly from Boston (last name unknown but the Guru does have a cell number) -- doesn't like sports. On Sunday night following the awards dinner, while joining the Drexel folks back at their hotel, the Guru got caught up in a chance conversation that began with answering a question about whether the area had been renovated since she was last there years before. The snack food on the counter was also in the early part of the conversation.

The Guru mentions this because of weird karma in that Kelly is the third person within a week thaty had a tie to Emory University in Georgia -- she's a graduate. The other two were a gentleman in the bar in Knoxville who went to Emory and Christy Thomaskutty, the women's coach at Emory, who was in Knoxville because she had been on the staff of former Illinois State coach Jill Hutchison, one of the 2009 inductees.

Prior to that, the Guru's last involvement with Emory was in 1996 at the first tryout for the former American Basketball League.

(The Guru will catch up to some of the conversation at the WBHOF in a few days. But he would like to note that the 4Kay run-walk in memory of the late North Carolina State hall of fame coach Kay Yow, who died in January after battling breast cancer, had 400 participants and raised over $4,000.)

The other reason for mentioning Kelly is a note of thanks for enabling the Guru, after missing the projected last train back to here, to learn it is possible to shorten the time between the last bar hop at 4 a.m. and a New Jersey transit train that leaves at 4:20 (funny, that's not what the schedule says).

Now to continue on, for those noticing longer gaps then usual between posts, the Guru is not having a contest with Alyssa Auriemma, the daughter of the famed UConn and now Olympic coach Geno Auriemma (unless he doesn't win a gold medal in 2012) over which of us can take the most amount of time between posts.

 The younger Auriemma has now become the most prominent member of the horde, without actually being a member of the horde -- after writing insider behind the scenes converage during the Huskies' run to the NCAA title.

 The Guru  still believes, however, that if it was still this time last year, Tonya would still call him first, as would Jamelle.

  Speaking of the horde, the Guru has been intending to do this but lost track, he noticed a while back on John Altavilla's blog in the Hartford Courant, in discussing whether the Tennessee-UConn series could resume one day, he gave the analogy :Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor one remarried.

  To use that comparison unfortunately give creedence to all those analyzing the death of the newspaper industry. That analogy is an admission that no one under the age of 55 is reading because none of them would have any idea who either actor was.

 In fact, the only two people in the entire offical UConn delegation who would know are Geno and Jack Eiseman and the only reason Eiseman would know is Geno probably made Jack go to the movies and pay for both of them at the box office in Norristown to watch Cleopatra.

 Now the Guru would definitely use something more contemporary, which is why his one of his Ipods might have Frank Sinatra but also has Springsteen, Jimmy Buffet, Diana Krall, Coldplay, and Beyonce in the mix.

  Next topic: Twitter.

  The Guru is avoiding it like the plague at the moment. In fact, the Guru believes that if twitter and CB radio were contemporary to each other, "Breaker, breaker, what's you'r handle? Come back rubber ducky on the 409 there's a bear behind the next billboard," would not be allowed because of two many characters.

 Next topic: Sunday night's dinner.

  The Guru was not originally planning to be in NYC (talk about fate) until he ran into Nicole Hester a week earlier at the opening night of the Dept. of Rec's NCAA Women's Summer League at Northeast High.

Hester: You coming Sunday?

Guru: Not sure.

Hester: You need to come. It will be your last chance to see me dressed up.

Guru: All right. I'll be there because it will be your first chance to see me dressed up.

In the early going, the Guru told a few people he recognized that he was with the Drexel folks. But within a matter of moments, it became apparent Drexel, needing to hobnob, said they were with the Guru.

 It looked like a movie where all the former war generals have a reunion. Officialdom included three former basketball committee chairs and severral others from the past. Many were at the creation of NCAA women's athletics, which is when they started the Honda Awards, which was then under the Broderick name.

 The Guru's table included Columbia athletic director Dianne Murphy and women's coach Paul Nixon, whose father Ed was one of the Guru's original voters, Chris Voelz who fund raises for the women's sports foundation but the Guru first knew her as the women's athletic director at Oregon (they had the last full AIAW tournament), and later at Minnesota; Drexel Triangle sports editor Mike Mazzeo, and Kathy O'Brien of Drexel's athletic department.

 Also seated were Dave and Raelene Erb of Reading, whose daughter Kristin starred in softball at Lock Haven and is the overall Division II winner for a second time in the Honda Awards.

 (The Guru promised he would smuggle softball into his basketball blog, so here it is.)

 Kristin has been highly successful and she's now a member of the Philadelphia Force from National Pro Fastpitch.

 Of the course the Guru had a sheepish dark secret in that less than 24 hours earlier while working on the desk late Saturday night, he killed a Force item from Friday's doubleheader out from the very last edition of the briefs roundup to get another item listed. But at least there's now more of an awareness.

The conversation was basically about the economy -- in newspapers and in collegiate athletics.

  One tidbit during cocktails (the front end of the event not the after) gleaned from a source famuliar with ESPN programming is that the sports network is not clamoring to do Elen Delle Donne's first game with Delaware.

 BUI there could be some interest in a Delaware-Drexel tilt in the Colonial Athletic Association schedule that matches the defending champions and reigning player of the year Gabriela Marginean against the newbie and long time rival Blue Hens.

Incidentally, not officially announced but look for Drexel to meet Maryland this season in College Park.

Next item: Epiphanny Prince. Well, that caused a quick scramble after the Guru mentioned her high school scoring feat for a women's timeline story in a special coffee table book the Naismith folks in Springfield are publishing in conjunction with the Hall's 50th anniversary.

As for the decision, the Guru agrees with the interviewees in the Sports Illustrated piece about Prince's move. When all is said and done, however, coach Stringer usually finds a way to survive. Of course, the private gossip is everyone would have liked to see the video of Prince walking into the office and blindsiding with the news of her departure.

Next topic: The WNBA:

Sorry, the Guru's schedule in the office does not offer compatibility with past trips to Washington, New York and Connecticut, but the Guru gets to know what he needs to know. The wild start, however, with past doormats playing great does promise to make this the most competitive summer.

Meanwhile, it's time to ride off into the sunrise (really).

To be continued and if we did this right: Serious coverage is just below.

-- Mel

 

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Mel Greenberg covers college and pro women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather. He was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.



Click here for Mel's list of All-Decade players from Philadelphia-area schools.

Other contributors

Jonathan Tannenwald is a producer with Philly.com. In addition to covering the local college scene, he spent two years as the Washington Mystics beat writer for Women's Hoops Guru. He also writes his own blog, Soft Pretzel Logic, which covers men's college basketball, football, and other sports.

Kathleen Radebaugh is a recent graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She covered women's basketball for the school's newspaper, The Hawk, and served as sports editor her sophomore year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity crew team.

Erin Semagin Damio covers the University of Connecticut and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun for the blog, and contributes other features. The Storrs, Conn., native also attends Northeastern University, where she is a coxswain on the varsity crew team.

Acacia O'Connor is based in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the Mystics and the college basketball scene in the nation's capital. A graduate of Vassar college, she played on the varsity women's basketball team and was editor of the student newspaper.

Click on any of the contributors' names above to e-mail them.

Reach Mel at poll416@gmail.com.

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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