Like most people with any amount of good taste in the early 1990s I grew up rooting against Christian Laettner and those Duke Blue Devil basketball teams. Yet for some reason my interest was peaked when anticipating the new 30 for 30 installment I Hate Christian Laettner.
Maybe it was the 90210 sideburns and haircut he sported that turned me off. Or maybe it was all that winning that Duke did. Whatever it was, the road down memory lane Sunday was a reminder of all the animosity we once shared for a player and program that appeared in four-straight Final Fours and won two national titles.
It’s not one of the better 30 for 30’s, considering the subject matter and that it’s narrated by Rob Lowe, but it’s a worthy look at what made one of the greatest college basketball players so polarizing among fans.
The University of North Florida basketball team is likely to be one of the only programs in the state taking part in the NCAA Tournament when the games tip off this week.
Among the players that helped the Ospreys earn an automatic bid by way of claiming the Atlantic Sun title is 6-foot-11 sophomore Romelo Banks, who played at both Liberty and Celebration high schools while growing up in Kissimmee, Florida.
(The following story is an alternate version of what will appear in the Jan. 9, 2014 edition of OrrViews in Orrville, Ohio)
ORLANDO, Fla. – It didn’t take long for Hannah Plybon to showcase the kind of impact she could have at the highest level of college basketball.
Hannah Plybon (left) earned as spot on the All-MAC Freshman Team a year ago.
On the heels of successful runs in three different sports during her senior year at Orrville High School in Ohio, Plybon made an immediate impression on coaches and teammates upon her arrival at the University of Akron.
Plybon worked her way into the starting lineup as a freshman before her rookie season ever got underway, on a team featuring six seniors that had returned from a 23-win campaign.
Plybon has since blossomed into a leader at Akron, on a squad that opened the 2014-15 season by winning its first 10 games.
She’s now less than a year removed from being named to the All-MAC Freshman Team after starting 32 of 33 games for the Lady Zips, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament and won the Mid-American Conference for the first time in school history.
Not bad for someone hailing from small-town America, where the pride of being hometown to former college coach Bobby Knight and a jelly manufacturer is offset by two decades worth of factories closing shop and families relocating elsewhere.