February 5, 2007

View From Behind The Mike: Partially Scripted Stream of Consciousness

Feb. 5, 2007

Although Bronco fans are conditioned from the womb to despise everything that is Saint Mary's, what happened during the pre-game in Moraga showed nothing but class. There were several eyes being dabbed during the ceremony, including someone courtside wearing headphones. Randy Bennett and his staff are to be a commended. The standing O at McKeon will be repeated 4 more times on the road.

Someday Scott Dougherty is going to join his father as a dentist with the plan to get into dental school next year. However, there is going to be some peer pressure to get the extra year of eligibility lost with last year's stress fracture. Dad can handle drilling cavities for one more year while Scott is drilling threes into the hearts of WCC opponents. People forget that Dougherty was the starting off-guard as a redshirt freshman with Doron Perkins coming off the bench in 2003-04. Playing college ball is a once in a lifetime experience and he will be prodded to stay more and more in the final weeks. More games like the 23 points at SMC could make the decision easier. Bennett told me Dougherty and Denison are the two best players and is rooting for Scott to begin root canals ASAP.

For the year, only one player is averaging double figures in points. It may be unlikely, but SCU could win the league title without having anyone a no-brainer first-team All-WCC. While there have been different guys step up each game, there have been many that make contributions every game. The Bronco team is truly greater than the sum of the parts. Eight different players have scored more than 16 points in a game. So much for the criticism of there being no "go-to" guy.

While box-score readers focus on the points, fans shouldn't overlook the little things from guys like Henke, Angley and Parham. If Tree's body can hold together, he'll be a factor on some of the athletic bigs down the stretch like Wiggins, Heytvelt and Pomare. After the win at USD, Henke said he wanted to bring energy off the bench with no one ever able to question his effort. Brody shared the MVP last year with Travis Niesen and has been called by Davey one of the most respected athletes to ever play at Santa Clara. As the parent of a teenage daughter, I'd like my girl to have a boyfriend like with Angley's qualities--if I permitted her to have a boyfriend.

It's a shame Danny Pariseau is only playing one year on the Mission campus. When the team was finding itself early in the season he was clearly the team's MVP. His fire and passion will be missed along with the pronounced fist pumps. To make a two-year financial commitment for one year basketball shows you the commitment he was willing to make to play at Santa Clara. You're lucky to have him.

In a day of many big plays Saturday, my favorite was John Bryant sliding over to take a second half charge. The greatness of the stand was only exceeded by the reaction of the staff and players on the bench. Coach Davey told one of the officials in the first half that his team tries to take charges and got a couple in the 2nd stanza.

This is the fifth year of the play-in format for the conference tournament. In the first four years only the top two seeds have played in the championship game. This includes LMU last year, who entered the tourney with a 4-game losing streak. The byes are huge and the Broncos control their own destiny with 6 games left. With Saint Mary's a game back of SCU, by virtue of the season sweep, SMC loses the tie-breaker and must finish ahead of the Broncos in the chase for a high seed.

Monday marks a chance to create some true separation in the top from the bottom. USF comes to town after scoring 98 at USD with the return of Antonio Kellog. The Broncos game plan is pretty simple: slow down the guards and don't turn it over. The Dons are going to press the whole game and composure shown by Angley and Pariseau will go a long way in deciding the outcome. A win for SCU and hope is alive for the 2-seed, if not the league title. The Dons have a chance to create a logjam 2 through 4.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers is a regular and just one of the guys. Although a Cal guy, he's becoming a Bronco by osmosis. Not many NFL players wait in line for an autographed poster, like Rogers did after the loss to LMU. Rogers explained himself by saying, "Those are my boys". When asked to contribute to the Broncos offensive playbook, Aaron agreed with the recommendation of "Get the ball to Joey and Brody and get out of the way." He's a family friend of the Kaempfs and the Angleys.

It took awhile for Joey Kaempf to get going but he now has his shot falling from beyond the arc. He's shown why he wanted to come back for his final year. From intramural legend to D1. The average Joe becomes Walter Mitty with a few more three-pointers to drop before it's all over.

The next game he plays will mark the 100th of Brandon Rohe's career. With his last couple of years ruined with back problems, Beaver is the first off the bench during timeouts to support the others. Here's to him nailing a few more shots before his run ends. Rohe broke Nash's freshman record for 3's and once scored 29 points against Mississippi Valley State in the Cable Car Classic.

At 6-2, this is the best start in conference since 1995, Steve Nash's junior year. There are only 2 home games left; the final 2 home games of remarkable era. Show your support, Santa Clara. The man in the sweater deserves as much. Moraga set the bar and it's up to you to raise it.