Thursday, May 23, 2013
Behind The Scoreboard
One day before the New York Knicks denied the Indiana Pacers’ quest for elimination and forced a sixth game in their series, I came home and saw that I had received a call from Dr. Edward (Tony) Rankin in D.C. When I reached him the next day, he told me how much he and his brother Michael had enjoyed my coverage of the NCAA playoffs online. Tony is an orthopedic surgeon (his wife holds a Ph.D.) in D.C. and Mike is a judge in the nation’s capital (his spouse is also a judge).
The brothers share a name that is steeped in legacy in the world of sports in Holly Springs. Their father E.A. Rankin Jr. was the head coach of the Mississippi Industrial College Tigers for both football and basketball. The Rankin-led football Tigers were champions for five consecutive years in the SCCAA (Southern Colored Collegiate Athletic Association), the forerunner of SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference). Coach Rankin went on to become president of M.I. College.
Thanks, fellows, for your readership. We are proud that you still have contact with the paper of your roots.
And speaking of coaches, a reader asked me a few weeks ago just who the coaches were in the NBA playoffs. The question took me aback momentarily. Who actually keeps up with the coaches except when we discuss the coaches’ carousel? Anyway, the mentors who were lucky enough to make it to the final eight were Mark Jackson, who led Golden State up to and including the showdown with the San Antonio Spurs; Scott Brooks, who was sent home with the OKC retinue by the Memphis Grizzlies, who was led by Lionel Hollins; Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers, who outlasted the New York Knicks and their leader, Mike Woodson. Chicago and coach Tom Thibodeau had very little luck against the Heat and Erik Spoelstra. To round it out, you add the granddaddy of the crew, Gregg Popovich. Pop has 16 of these post-season campaigns under his headband and is now giving the Grizz fits.
Don’t wait for me to say anything negative about Memphis because it isn’t going to happen. I know the media is calling the Sunday game a blowout, but the Grizz had lost two lead-off games before, then came back and won both of those series. They made history when they stepped on the floor in San Antone to become the first Memphis team to reach a Western Conference final. They whittled the Spurs’ lead down to a single digit, six, at one point. I am betting that they will find a way to get Zebo through the opposition, which held him to two points in game one.
The Grizz fever is burning up our neck of the woods.
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