I barely had time to catch a shave and a shower after the Madison-Reagan game Saturday afternoon before I headed back across town to UTSA's campus to watch the game between the home town Roadrunners and the visiting UT-Arlington Mavericks.
The Mavs, behind 1st year Coach Scott Cross were the upstart winners of the Southland Conference Tournament last season. Cross is one of the nicest young coaches in the game today. He's recruited several kids out of our Texas D-1 Ambassadors program and everyone of them were impressed with him as a person. I'd recommend him in a heartbeat as a person to trust your son with. Cross' reward for their success in his inaugural campaign, a 1st Round date with the Memphis Tigers in last spring's NCAA Tournament...Ouch
Fast forward to Saturday night, and the UTSA Roadrunners are the ones cruising along having won 7 straight ball games. Not only that, but for the 1st time in 20 YEARS the Roadrunners had won back to back road games. (They're now on a 3 game road win streak). This was as exciting a ball game as you'd want to see. The final, after double overtime was UT-Arlington 100 UT-San Antonio 97. The outcome puts both squads at 2-1 in Southland Conference play.
After many lead changes, the Roadrunners trailed late in regulation when G Devin Gibson who had 21 points almost singlehandedly saved UTSA in regulation as he stripped a Mav player at halfcourt and went in for the layup when it looked like UTA had the game in the bag. Senior Wing Travis Gabbidon also had a big night for UTSA as he slashed his way to 23 points. Sadly, it was missed free throws that ended up being their undoing down the stretch though as they had several chances at the charity stripe to salt this one away. The final outcome was not as important as what I see former Oklahoma State, Orlando Magic & New York Knick, Coach Brooks Thompson building here. He's passionate about what he wants to accomplish and the kind of kids he wants to do it with.
Look for the Roadrunners to have continued success as Coach Thompson has different players step up each game. In successive games he's had Demarco Stepter, Josh Bonney & Saturday night Richie Frohlich give him double digit point/rebound games. This depth could really come into play come conference tourny time. Seven players have had double digit scoring games including Gibson, Frohlich, Gabbidon, Stepter, Bonney as well as G Joey Shank and speedy PG Omar Johnson.
6'9" Junior Richie Frohlich in his 1st season here at UTSA had 14 points and 10 boards in his first contest where he played meaningful minutes. He arrived here from Citrus (CA) Junior College and apparently a glitch in his transcript with the NCAA Clearinghouse kept him from getting into action in the Fall semester. Like most European "bigs" he is skilled and can face the basket. He's physically very strong. Before it's all said and done once he gets a little bit more confidence he could play a large role in how far the Roadrunners go.
The San Antonio Spurs are not the only ones in town playing exciting, high quality basketball. For the price of a movie ticket and popcorn you can take your wife and kids to see basketball played by some outstanding players. They don't charge for parking and you can sit a few rows from the action. There are no traffic tie ups after the game. For a school who just voted in Division One football, we're not acting very big time by having sparse crowds at these games.
UTSA Coach Brooks Thompson is not only rebuilding this program, he's doing it the right way with kids who have high character. Let's get behind them and build the attendance at the games. I know personally, that he is recruiting Texas hard and will have local scoring sensation Kendric Robinson of San Antonio Southwest HS in the fold next season. They have also offered combo guard Brandon Thompson of San Antonio Stevens HS. These kids and this program deserves the community's support!