Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Today's Norman Dale sighting

OK, so not really. I mean, Norman Dale never recruited any of those sketchy kids from Terhune, as far as we know.

Larry Brown, however, might have, as a man who has always harbored instincts both noble and self-serving. That he's always loved his players wherever he's been has never been in question; that he's also occasionally bent rules for some for both their benefit and his own has also never been in question. Nor has his penchant for bailing on those players when a situation either went sour or something better (or seemingly better) beckoned.

The grass elsewhere has always been greener for Larry Brown. But ... high school basketball?

That's a new horizon even for the only basketball coach ever to win both an NCAA title (at Kansas) and an NBA title (with the Pistons). But apparently Brown is interested, and the East Hampton High School Bonackers on Long Island are more than willing to put a Hall of Fame coach in charge.

(And, no, your first question should not be "Why would Larry Brown want to coach a bunch of white suburban kids in a resort town in the Hamptons?" Your first question should be "What the hell is a Bonacker?")

It all calls up delicious visions of kids who are not, shall we say, conversant with the East Hampton school district suddenly turning up at East Hampton High. Brown's instinct to lend a helping hand to kids who need it (especially 6-10 kids who can ball) would no doubt make for some interesting dynamics. And what if Larry won a state title? Would the big high schools come calling?

Why, you can almost see the scenario unfolding ...

"I love it here!" exclaims Larry Brown, watching his East Hampton Whatevers run a block-out drill during the noon practice, having gotten the athletic director to fill in for him as lunchroom monitor. "It's PERFECT!"

Suddenly his phone is chirping at him.

"Yes?" he says.

"Heeey, Larry," a drawling Midwestern voice answers. "Glad I got ahold ya. This is the athletic director over here at Muncie Central High School in Indiana. Got a minute to talk?"

Larry looks out at the floor. Shrugs.

"Sure," he says.

"Listen, Larry. I wanna talk to you about coachin' the Bearcats," the Muncie AD goes on. "I don't know what you know about us, but we're one of the iconic programs in Indiana. Eight state champions, buddy. And it's Indiana, Larry! Oscar Robertson! John Wooden! Jimmy freakin' Chitwood!"

 A pause.

"Plus, I know those bleeps over at Anderson are after you. Just wouldn't do for us to get beat out by ol' Runnerup City. So whatta you say?"

Larry looks at the floor again. John Wooden! Oscar Robertson! High school basketball in Indiana!

"It's PERFECT!" he shouts.

Suddenly his phone beeps again. Larry checks the caller ID.

"Uhhh ... hang on a second, will you?"  he says.

"I got Terhune on the other line."

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