Syracuse Coach Mike Hopkins selects CNYCentral starting 5: Matt's Memo

We skipped the two-a-day training sessions. We tossed out the off season stretching and cardio. We eliminated the analytics that most top notch programs utilize on the path to success. Instead this year's edition of the CNYCentral NBC 3 CBS 5 CW 6 basketball team rented out an old Catholic school gym on two successive Saturdays and ran up and down the court with abandon. We played reckless pick up basketball and deemed ourselves ready for competition.

Our first game of a sporadic season is this Saturday night versus our long time heated rival the East Syracuse-Minoa faculty. They have generously offered their gigantic regulation size full court and a stand full of rabid fans as our arena of competition. The game always includes a few laughs, but also a lot of sweaty winded aging athletes. We truly appreciate being part of the charitable community event that benefits, in part, our Shamrock Animal Fund.

Out team is a fairly democratic entity when it comes to strategy and substitutions. In other words, we don't have a coach. We do play hard with a fairly limited amount of talent. This year in an effort to better shape our lineup Sports Director Niko Tamurian invoked the basketball wisdom of Syracuse University Basketball Assistant Coach Mike Hopkins.

Niko gave Coach Hop a sheet with ten pictures of some of our most likely to play team members. The successor to Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim pondered his options and then crafted a rotation based purely on a quick glance at each head shot. He saw the obvious talent in anchor/reporter Samantha German and named her to the point guard slot. Orange Zone co-host and former SU football star Damien Rhodes locked in at shooting guard.

Coach Hopkins gave me playing time for being a winner, as in Emmy award winner. Niko Tamurian has the grit to play the 5 or center position. Reporter Brett Hall apparently bears a resemblance to a well known water boy and reporter Brandon Roth can't be trusted because he's too tan in January. For each subsequent description the detail and the level of humor increased. Coach Hop could take that show on the road if the hoops thing doesn't quite work out.

We do love playing this charity games. We initially started a team here at the station more than twenty years ago. It has come and gone over the years. The players change, but the fun loving community spirit remains. Hope to see you in the stands Saturday night or at one of the other contest that will come your way later this year.

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