Friday, February 12, 2010
1996 was a glorious time for college basketball as a young fan in the Northeast. UConn had Ray Allen. Georgetown had Allen Iverson. Hell Villanova had Kerry Kittles and John Wallace strapped Syracuse on his back all the way to the Final Four. The Big East games were as beautiful as ever. Future NBA stars were staying for multiple years in college and the games were epic. In addition, UMass basketball under John Calipari was relevant, for the first and only time in my life.
The 1996 UMass team that made the Final Four had a lot of nice pieces, including Padilla and Travieso, but the only true star they had was Marcus Camby. Camby was essentially Gumby in college, tall, felxible, fast and move in ways 6-11 men aren't supposed to move. So what if he didn't have a jump shot (and he was getting paid) he didn't need it back then to dominate a game. He even dominated Mr. Tim Duncan back in December of 1995.
All around the UMass team was fun to watch up until their defeat by the 75 man deep Rick Pitino Kentucky National Championship squad.
The Human Eraser
Jim Nantz blesses you with his words...
And the Demise Against Kentucky...
Of course UMass would go straight downhill after the 1996 season thanks to the departure of Camby to the NBA draft and John Calipari to the New Jersey Nets. It would have been nice if UMass had stuck around as a good team for the past 15 years.