HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Just a few musings and meanderings as we head into Week 17 on the Isle of Isolation, and we swear it doesn’t feel like more than a day or two more than four months or so...Honest...Ah, but who’s counting? ...
- A week after fans voted for the University of Southern Mississippi’s women’s basketball team of the decade, it was the men’s turn.
We don’t have a quibble at all with those selected, including guards Neil Watson, Cortez Edwards and Tyree Griffin, swingman LaDavius Draine and forward Gary Flowers.
We do have a major issue with one who was let off. You simply cannot have a USM All-Decade team of the 10s and teens without Jonathan Mills.
Yes, Mills played just two seasons and didn’t always score a lot of points. But the Chicago man-child was the bruiser on the boards, the enforcer who did the dirty work under the glass, a two-time All-Conference USA defender.
More, though, Mills was the emotional heart of the teams he played for: Larry Eustachy’s finale that earned the Golden Eagles their third NCAA bid in school history and Donnie Tyndall’s first USM squad that had Reed Green Coliseum rocking during a three-game National Invitation Tournament run.
But the fans have spoken, and, again, hard to argue with the five selected.
Edwards (2015-2019) owns career and single-season steals records. He joined the 1,000-point club with 1,400-plus points over his four years and ended his career as the only Golden Eagles to rank in the top in scoring, top 15 in rebounding and top 10 in assists.
Griffin (2017-19) might have passed Edwards’ tally on steals after logging two of the top five single-season steals efforts in program history, but played only two years in Hattiesburg. The dynamic point guard ranked fifth nationally in assists-per-game as a senior and wound up third on USM’s career assists list in just two seasons. Came up just 35 points shy of the 1,000-point club.
Draine (2017-present), the leading vote-getter, enters his senior season ranked third on the program’s 3-point list and needs 79 points to reach the 1,000-point mark.
Flowers (2009-11), a two-time All-C-USA performer, was voted the best college basketball players in Mississippi as the 2011 Howell Trophy winner. He’s one of four Golden Eagles to reach 1,000 points in just two seasons.
Watson (2011-14) topped 1,000 points scoring and finished second on the school list for assists and third in steals
- Tip o’Cap to USM golfer Julie Baker, who etched her name last week into the annals of Alabama golf by winning the 88th annual Alabama Women’s State Amateur.
The senior-to-be from Hoover, Ala., topped Troy University’s Elisabeth Preus, 2&1 in match play to win the three-day event at the Huntsville (Ala.) Country Club.
“We’ve been playing these tournaments … growing up,” Baker said, “and I had never won one of these before. It’s really competitive.
“So, this was exciting, especially after not finishing our spring season (at USM due to COVID-19). My dad got to caddy for me, so that was fun, too. It was a team effort.”
Baker shot an opening-round, 1-under-par 70 to earn top seed heading into the final two rounds of match play.
She topped Troy’s Anna Claire Little, 5&4, to open match play, then followed with a 4&3 win over amateur Lauren Thompson. A win in the semifinals over Samford University’s Allison Howard set up the final match with Preus.
Baker has played in 16 tournaments in her first three years at USM. She holds the school record for low round, shooting a 7-under-par 65 as a freshman at the Carey Collegiate in 2017.
- Recent conversation at a local gas station:
“I’d like $25 on number eight, please.”
“Are you a member?'
- Mr. Silver Lining says after being marooned on the Isle of Isolation so long, it’s kinda nice to know that the ol’ sweat glands still are in pristine working condition.
Yes sir, nothing quite like the great outdoors in Mississippi to give you the trickles and that fashionable “pasted-to-the-small-of your-back” look
- Kid you not, less than a week after getting behind a $39-plus order in the drive-thru of a local burger join, we hit the jackpot again, this time at the place known in the Nordic tradition as “The Mart with Walls.”
We thought we had picked the proper aisle.
It was just one shopping cart. One.
What we didn’t realize was that this was a cart that Hermione Granger would have loved, a magic cart, a seemingly ordinary transportation device for meats, vegetables and the odd dairy product that only the discerning could glimmer was a nigh-bottomless pit on four wheels.
When a cart quickly pulled in behind, we were trapped in a state of retail stasis, able to observe, unable to move.
Minutes churned past like a condensed version of the scene from the movie, “The Time Machine,” with civilizations rising, flourishing, falling.
It got to the point where a second cart had to be fetched (apparently, the magic covered only one phase of the process) and the checkout lady was actually in the lane with her portable pricing do-hickus, ringing up what still sat on the overloaded, groaning conveyor belt.
By the time the seemingly endless bend-lift-and-place wrapped up, the cart’s owner looked like he had packed on a good, six or seven pounds of muscle and we were exhausted.
The payment went smoothly and the two-cart procession s-l-o-w-l-y made its way toward the exit.
“if you don’t mind us asking, how much did that come to?”
We quickly concluded our $22.65 transaction, and with a nagging sense of inadequacy, found our way into the heart of a sun that had descended into the parking lot that afternoon
- Be kind. Be wary. Be smart. Be safe.