Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head on Super Bowl Sunday. Hey, I made wings! I used a baking recipe and they were delicious. I must be some kind of super-chef or something. Maybe I need my own television show? (Said every male on Super Bowl Sunday.)
A perfect night
The Marriott Center crowd on its feet, two elite teams battling to the end as the final seconds tick off the clock.
This is what you came for, right?
The 15,212 who filled the arena got their money’s worth on Saturday in an electric battle between BYU and Saint Mary’s.
Seriously, who watches this game and doesn’t come away thinking both teams are NCAA Tournament-worthy?
TJ Haws delivered the game-winner on a 3-pointer with 8.5 seconds left and after his post-game interviews left for the hospital so his wife, Lauren, could deliver their first child.
As Jake Hatch from 1280 The Zone said after the game, “That’s the most BYU thing ever.”
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett told the Cougar Sports Network, “This is a tough place to play. It’s a great place to play. It’s a great atmosphere. I don’t know if there’s any college basketball atmosphere better than the one we played in tonight.”
That echoes the sentiments of Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who has said repeatedly that he loves bringing his teams to the Marriott Center because he knows it will be a huge test.
The West Coast Conference is a better league then people think but there are some venues that are less than inspirational.
The MC was on fire Saturday night.
Haws was the big hero but as basketball is a team game, there were others. BYU doesn’t win that game without Zac Seljaas and his mustache getting big rebounds and blocks. The Cougars don’t win without the superlative defensive efforts turned in by Connor Harding and his banged-up knee and Alex Barcello and his fiery intensity. BYU doesn’t get the win without Dalton Nixon’s nine-point offensive performance in the first half, or Yoeli Childs and his 19 points.
BYU coach Mark Pope told a great story in the post-game about Harding. Shortly after Pope took the job he met with all of the players. Harding told Pope he just wanted to win and he didn’t care what that meant for him individually. Pope said that was the moment he realized the program was going to be special because he had guys like Harding willing to sacrifice for the good of the team.
Honestly, there were a couple of moments in that game where I thought, “BYU is done.” And they proved me wrong.
A pretty good Saturday for BYU fans, right?
The men’s basketball team wins a thriller, men’s volleyball takes a five-setter from UC Santa Barbara, former Utah running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole commits to the Cougar football team and former BYU star Eric Mika made his NBA debut with the Sacramento Kings.
As if we needed more intrigue in the BYU-Utah matchup on September 3, Henry-Cole might be the Cougars starting running back in that game. Henry-Cole -- who converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints while at Utah -- packs a lot of quickness and power into a small frame. He had 90 carries for 469 yards and four touchdowns for the Utes and played for national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida. He upgrades an area of concern for BYU and is hopeful to enroll in time for spring ball.
Meanwhile, Wednesday is the second national signing day and the Cougars still have some big fish to reel in. BYU is competing with Stanford, Utah, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State and others for some impact players. Linebacker Tate Romney -- brother of current Cougars Gunner and Baylor -- is still out there and American Fork linebacker Bodie Schoonover and Olympus athlete Scotty Edwards are still on the board.
There was a big group of football recruits at the BYU-Saint Mary’s game. Certainly can’t hurt to have them experience the love of Cougar fans through basketball.
Just a man
It’s been interesting and heartbreaking watching and reading the tributes to Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash last Sunday. We tend to deify our sports heroes. They are so gifted genetically, have more money than we’ll ever dream of and live a lifestyle most of us don’t understand. It’s easy to think of them as larger than life.
In death, Bryant becomes much more relatable to me because I can identify with what he actually was: Flawed (like me), a father (like me) and a husband (like me) just trying to do his best in this world.
Never come down
The second-ranked BYU men’s volleyball team is 10-0 with eight wins against ranked foes, including Saturday’s 3-2 nail biter against No. 3 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. If you didn’t see the match, try to find a clip of Cougar outside hitter Davide Gardini and his crazy behind-the-head kill. It’s one of the most amazing volleyball shots I’ve ever seen. No. 1 on that list is a kill registered by Yosleyder Calla back in 2006. The 6-foot-8 Calla might be the most the most athletic player to ever don a Cougar uniform.
So here’s what happened: Calla jumped too soon for an attack. He swung with his right arm, hung in the air for what seemed like forever then smacked the ball to the floor with his left hand after the opposing players had already come back down.
I wish I could find a video of that swing.
Thought for the day
Improve your memory by doing unforgettable things.
That’s all for now, but for this: Congrats to former Cougars Andy Reid and Daniel Sorensen for winning the Super Bowl. The Chiefs made a terrific comeback and Reid finally earned his much deserved title. BYU fans would love Reid to add a college football championship to his resume someday.
Yeah, keep dreaming. Stay warm and have a great week.