10,538 miles. 24 games. 10 gyms. 2 states. 1 country. 2 NBA games. 0 Final Fours.
Well this basketball season can best be summed up by the popular opening of A Tale of Two Cities- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...". Early on the season it seemed like this was going to be one of my most adventurous seasons yet, and through March it held up. Then March was abruptly shutdown. As of today the NBA is holding out hope that some sort of finish to the season will happen but I'm doubtful.
Here's some of the highlights from a fun season that ended with a bang.
- 1 International Trip
From Abilene to Dallas to Mexico City, it's a shorter flight mileage wise than it was to fly to Raleigh. But it's still a new country on list! And we saw two NBA games between 4 different teams. The basketball was great and we had awesome seats right behind the scorer's table and media table. During the Pistons-Mavericks game that was problematic because Rick Mahorn was blocking the view on part of the court. My friend, Salvador, and I made shirts as well specifically for Boban and Luka. The highlight of the Mavs game was Boban seeing it during a timeout and giving me a head nod. I also got several compliments from people on the great shirt.
The second game between the Spurs and Suns turned out to be a great game that went into overtime. I was happy the Spurs won ended up winning.
Aside from the basketball the trip was fun with some much great food. It's probably the best food I've had on a trip from top to bottom, nothing bad and everything above average. And everything was so inexpensive that you definitely had to watch how much you ate.
- 3 Day Road Trip
During December I was able to find 3 games in 3 days in Dallas. The 2 gyms were new to me as well, with the Dickie's Arena hosting it's first basketball game ever. It had only opened this fall and to that point had only hosted concerts or other events. So TCU vs. Southern California was the first game in the building. I was able to score a mid court seat on row 3. During the game I turned around and sitting on the row behind me was part of the New Orleans Pelicans staff- Alvin Gentry and Trajan Langdon.
On Saturday before the late night SMU game I was able to spend some time with a friend of mine who coaches at a high school nearby. His freshman team was playing at a tournament so I got to watch them earlier on Saturday. I really enjoyed seeing him coach his team and see how he is developing as a basketball coach. In the evening SMU hosted Georgetown at Moody Coliseum. It was a pretty intimate gym and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. That would be a place I'd like to go back to for another game.
Sunday me and two friends headed back to Fort Worth to watch Texas play Texas A&M. It was back at Dickie's Arena. UT won but it was fun to have lunch and enjoy a basketball game with friends I hadn't seen in a while!
- Tobacco Road Trip
The ACC schedule makers smiled on us this past year when they put together a great weekend for any hoops fan. There were 4 games in 4 days in the Raleigh area, with one of the games being not far away at Wake Forest. And even better for us, the Longhorns were playing in Fort Worth on the day we arrived back in Texas. So 5 games in 5 days for us.
We stayed in northeast Raleigh and were able to drive to three of the arenas within 45 minutes depending on traffic. The schedule consisted of UNC vs. Miami, Wake Forest vs. Virginia, NC State vs. UNC, and Duke vs. Pittsburgh. Each day we spent a little time on campus and saw some of the basketball museums or walked around the campus at large. The landscape was definitely different for us from flatter part of Texas. Tall trees lining the highway and limiting your view while driving, as well as thick trees covering each campus except for Wake Forest.
The main stop for me was Cameron Indoor Stadium. I grew up cheering for Duke behind only the Texas Longhorns but I had never seen Duke play in person, even though I've been to several Final Fours and other games in March. So it was all amazing. Just being in the gym and soaking up everything about it. The game itself wasn't very memorable, but it was the game where Coach K stopped in front of the student section before half time and yelled at them.
- No March Madness
The plan was to go to my 9th Final Four and visit the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia for the first time. We were also planning on seeing the Atlanta Hawks play Charlotte and see Vince Carter in his last season in the NBA. But none of the happened unfortunately.
While it was an exciting year for hoops with another great potential ending it all came crashing to a halt with the outbreak of the coronavirus. In fact I was planning to meet a friend for lunch to watch the opening game of the Big 12 tournament for the Longhorns when I checked Twitter a few minutes beforehand and saw the tournament was cancelled. This would be the first of many change of plans. It has been weird to trudge through March and April with no basketball, college or NBA. Yes, that isn't the most important thing in the world right now but since I can remember it has been a part of my world year in and year out in the Spring.
I'm hopeful the health and safety of the world will return to some normalcy and maybe that will mean basketball will return in the coming year as well.
For now you can join along as I look for basketball things around the internet each week and deliver them directly to your inbox. I've sent out the Full Court Friday email for just over a year. So if you're missing basketball join along and get five basketball things every Friday.
Who knows what the next year will hold for the sports world but I'm hopeful I can get lucky with scheduling and visit Philadelphia and see some Big 5 hoops. Texas has already announced a home-and-home with Gonzaga starting next year and there are rumors Villanova will be visiting Austin as a part of the Big East/Big 12 partnership.