Worst yet best trip to Duke

Some of the most enjoyable Grizzly basketball trips – not so much for the outcome but for the venue – occurred when playing in some of the most historic venues in the country.

The whole story on another day but sitting courtside to broadcast a game on Nell and John Wooden Court at UCLA still gives me chills.

And to see Montana win in triple OT at Hec Edmundson Pavillion over Washington or pulling the upset over Mike Montgomery at Stanford or winning in ’96 at Gonzaga, facing Auburn and Oregon or last season playing at the “Fog” at Kansas, well if you are a hoop junkie like me, while Tennessee, Oregon and Iowa were big-time football facilities when you are inside it’s just different

No I didn’t forget probably the grand daddy of them all in 2008 at Cameron Indoor.

While the results of the game –a 20-point loss- I can do without, the trip and the setting that was something else.

As often happens, football is in full stead when the non-conference basketball season also is in full swing,

Thus if I was going to get to Durham, other than commercial arrangements had to be made.

With the assistance of the President’s office for a few of us it was off to Northstar at some ungodly morning hour for the flight which would ensure arriving for the afternoon start.

As luck would have it the small plane encountered pressurization problems forcing us to drop altitude.

Problem solved but again minutes later more pressurization problems bringing down the pilots oxygen mask with the caveat that further problems would force a landing in Minneapolis and pretty much guarantee a late arrival.

My sentiments about a memorial hoop tournament and pulverized rings – a bit of gallows humor from a guy who used to work in a morgue – helped little but Kenny’s rosary maybe more we arrived safely.

Difficult to find the arena especially on game day but finally there where we are directed up a stepladder. The problem – wrong platform. Back down and desperately with my sidekick getting up the next ladder and set up about five minutes before pre-game.

All the while the Missoulian reporter sat courtside.

They were kind to put the ladder back up at halftime where the president crawled up then under a pipe for his interview.

Fond memories of life on the road.




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