Okay, sorry ladies, now you must know I'm also a sports fan. I watch football and basketball, and I drink beer. *gasp* Sometimes, I'm just one of the guys. I like it that way.
Now after my cheerleading speech, here's the article from my local paper about yesterday's game. One statement: Sallie for Mayor! (b/c if you're familiar with Memphis at all, we sure need a NEW mayor anyways)
Home › Memphis Tigers News › Tigers Men's Basketball
Geoff Calkins: Roburt Sallie lights it up for Tigers
By Geoff Calkins Memphis Commercial AppealThursday, March 19, 2009
Memphis vs Cal State Northridge
Photos by Mark Weber & Mike Brown
What’s the “U” stand for, Roburt?
Unconscious? Unerring? Un-bleeping-believable?
“It’s French,” he said.
Really? French for Roburt saves the day?
On a day when the Memphis Tigers played like they’d just been introduced to the game of basketball, Sallie rescued the team from ignominy with 10 3-pointers and 35 points in an 81-70 win over Cal State Northridge.
“I’m just a shooter,” Sallie said.
And Michelangelo was just a painter. Mozart just played piano. Harry Truman just owned a clothing store.
Sallie’s ethereal performance saved the program from what could have been an unbearable blow. It’s bad enough to lose the championship game after leading by nine points with 2:12 to go. But to follow that up by becoming one of only five No. 2 seeds to lose to a No. 15?
“Scared was never a problem,” said Antonio Anderson, and the guy should speak for himself.
It was a problem for legions of Memphians watching on TVs back home. It was a problem for thousands more in the stands. When Vincent Cordell scored to put Cal State Northridge up by 6 points with 10:43 to go, it was a problem for anyone who ever cared about the program.
Except maybe Sallie. And this might be the time to take you back to last summer, when Sallie signed with Memphis out of junior college.
John Parker, who had grown close to Sallie as an assistant coach at Laurinburg Prep, called the Memphis staff to tell them about the kid they had just signed.
“Mark my words, he’s going to bail you out at some point,” Parker said. “When the chips are down, when you need him the most, he’s going to step up.”
It’s not just that Sallie had the let-it-fly mentality that the best shooters tend to have. It was everything Sallie had been through, the arc of his life. Sallie is a 23-year-old sophomore. He played at two prep schools and a junior college.Sallie was part of the Laurinburg Prep team — the one built around Anderson, Robert Dozier and the rest — that went 40-0.Those guys came straight to Memphis after Laurinburg. Sallie took the long way around.
He played for the Patterson School and for the City College of San Francisco. He wondered if his time would ever come.
“Some of it was his fault,” said Parker. “But some of it wasn’t his fault at all.”
Like last summer: Sallie was all set to head off to Nebraska when he was tripped up by an obscure Big 12 rule involving — it really is obscure — a previous attempt by Nebraska to get Sallie through the NCAA Clearinghouse.
“I was ticked off,” Sallie said. “I thought it might never happen for me.”
Enter Anderson and Dozier, lobbying Calipari to sign their old friend.
“We knew he could help us,” said Dozier. “We didn’t know when or where.”
The answer: Thursday, in Kansas City.
“I got on a roll,” Sallie said.
Understand, the guy had never scored more than 13 points in a game for Memphis. He’s had nine scoreless games this year. But with the Memphis starters unable to gain their bearings, trailing 11-4, Calipari sent in Sallie to do what he does.
“I shoot,” Sallie said.
Thank Heaven for that.
Sallie banged in his first five shots. Then he cooled off for a bit.
“Coach told me to keep shooting,” Sallie said.
Well, what else was Calipari going to do?
Dozier was missing in action. Doneal Mack totally forgot how to play. The entire team seemed undone and bewildered by Cal State Northridge’s zone.
Except Sallie, who had 17 at the half. You’d have thought that would have been enough, right?
No. Cal-State Northridge kept playing and the Memphis guys kept fumbling and Calipari kept burning through his timeouts.
“When they went up by 6 I looked at it and said, ‘I better talk to these young men right here,’” Calipari said.
His message: GET IT TO SALLIE!
Who immediately hit a three to steady the team. Then Sallie fed Anderson for a dunk.
“If he hadn’t been in there ...” said Anderson, and why even finish the thought?
He was in there. After all the wandering. After all the schools and all the stops.
“Maybe I was destined to go to Memphis for some reason,” Sallie said. “Maybe for this game today.”
And maybe the Tigers will ride Sallie’s performance to a national championship. Or maybe they’ll continue to play the way they did Thursday and lose the next time out.
Either way, Sallie’s a part of history. No Memphis Tiger had ever scored 35 points in an NCAA Tournament game.
The previous record was 34, by Larry Kenon. Ever heard of him, Roburt?
“No,” he said.
And then the questions moved to more pressing matters like, really, what is it with that first name?
“It gives me my uniqueness,” said Sallie.
That’s not the only thing.