Bonner's Blog Is Back: 2007-08 Entry No. 1, Road Trip
Nov. 30, 2007
Junior center Luke Bonner returns with his first blog antry of the 2007-08 season. After a successful debut last season, Bonner's Blog will continue to feature the best from UMass' colorful bigman. Check out what he had to write after the Minutemen's big win at Syracuse this past Wednesday.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Greetings from Indianapolis, Indiana. I have been waiting for the appropriate time to re-introduce the blog, and I feel that now is as good of a time as any. I am currently in our makeshift study hall room in the hotel. Tony Gaffney is playing the N'Sync Christmas album, and several guys are breaking out into a spontaneous (and somehow synchronized) dance as we take a brief study break (quite an entertaining sight; I promised Tony that his actions would be blog worthy).
I hope everyone had an outstanding Thanksgiving. The whole team spent the holiday in Amherst. We all wished we could have spent the day back home with our families and friends, but we had to practice. All of the coaches' wives put together an outstanding turkey dinner for us at Coach Ford's house. You would not believe the amount of food that was prepared. There was legitimately enough food to feed an army (albeit a smaller army like the Swiss Guard). It reminded me of the feast that the Lost Boys have in Hook (only real food instead of imaginary food, and it did not end in a food-fight). This meal definitely helped to alleviate some of the homesickness we felt on that day, so the coaches' wives deserve a big thank you.
Anyway, we snagged a big road win last night at Syracuse. The Carrier Dome is an unbelievable venue to play a basketball game. It was the type of game you dream of playing in growing up, and we made the most of our experience. We played very hard and were fortunate enough to come out on top. It was a great win for our program, and we hope to continue to get better and build upon it.
Wednesday night's game marked my third and most memorable trip to Syracuse. My first trip was as a spectator in the 2000 NCAA Tournament during my brother's freshman year at Florida. Florida played Duke in the Sweet Sixteen at the Carrier Dome. During the day of the game I snuck into the Syracuse YMCA with my best friend Chris Brickley, who now plays at Southern New Hampshire University. Coach Maloney, who was then a member of the Florida coaching staff before joining the Umass staff, showed up at the YMCA while we were there. We played a game of H-O-R-S-E, and somehow he got lucky and won. To this day, winning that game of H-O-R-S-E against me when I was a gangly 8th grader was the biggest feat of Coach Maloney's life. After the debacle at the YMCA we went to the game, and Florida beat Duke to advance to the Elite 8. Brickley's dad then drove us back to New Hampshire through the night. We got back sometime between 3 and 4 AM, and had an AAU tournament the next morning in Portsmouth, N.H. at the world famous Connie Bean Gym (where the court boundaries are practically marked by the gym walls; and you can get a defensive rebound, take one dribble, and be close enough to take a pull up jump-shot on the other end). We managed to play well. Brickley still reminds me that he got the MVP award for the tournament.
My second trip to Syracuse was as a freshman on the West Virginia basketball team. I have to admit that as a freshman I was a bit awestruck at the atmosphere that surrounded a Syracuse home game. One of the biggest snow storms of the year occurred on that day. Still, thousands of rambunctious fans filled the stands before we even took the court for warm ups. We ended up losing (minor detail). We also got snowed in and had to spend an extra day at the hotel before we could fly back.
Although it was a big win on Wednesday night, we do not have time to look back. We must continue to stay focused on moving forward to our next challenge. We have a big game Saturday here in Indianapolis, and our concentration is completely on IUPUI. I feel like I am on a Florida 2000 NCAA Tournament reunion tour, traveling from Syracuse (the site of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite 8) to Indianapolis (the site of the Final Four). The juxtaposition of the two games is interesting as we are going from playing in a dome with a capacity of 33,000 to a gymnasium with a capacity of 1,215. This should make for an intense environment.
Song of the Day: "Cow" by Sparklehorse Movie of the Day: Hoosiers
PS. Stay posted on the blog as it will be updated regularly throughout the rest of the season.
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