Oh yeah, it's time for Jimmer Madness. Sorry, this year's March madness has been replaced with the tournament that will be the showcase for the greatest basketball player to come out of our region - ever.
The crazy thing is, no one up here hardly knows about him.
When I was working in Whitehall, Jimmer was all anyone would ever talk about, the Glens Falls High standout who took the team to the Class A title game his senior year and then mildly shocked local hoops enthusiasts when he turned down an offer to play for Siena and instead headed west to Brigham Young University.
Since, Jimmer has turned into the top player in all of college basketball. You can have your Kemba Walkers and Jared Sullingers, they do not possess the ball handling, shot making and court awareness abilities that Jimmer does.
Did any of them score 52 in the conference semifinals? 52! He scored 19 in the second half - I scored 19 my entire varsity career!
At a school that is run by a religious institution, Jimmer has reached a demagogue status. Last year, I covered a game in Provo for my previous assignment. Afterwards, I got Jimmer's autograph for my 3-year-old nephew (yeah, I know, kinda breaking the professional barrier there - so what), framed one of the pictures I had taken and presented it to him the next day. He held it throughout the day and slept with it that night. (I hear a lot of the co-eds do that with his picture to, which may very well be nearing the Honor Code line.)
The best part is, when I asked him if he ever expected this level of success and adulation, he quickly responded yes.
It's not that he is conceited, it's that he knows that he has put in the time and has worked hard to get to where he is. In high school, he trained like a college athlete. In college, he has trained as if he were in the NBA, which he will be after this season.
My favorite is the gauntlet, where Jimmer would dribble down a dark church hallway as his friends would attack from the classrooms to try and get him to lose control of the ball. You can see that at work when he cuts into the lane and around all five guys to score a circus-style basket - shots he learned when competing against his older brother when he was younger.
Think about it? I have heard a lot of people getting "tired" of Jimmer-Mania, but seriously, how many NBA-drafted players have come from anywhere between Glens Falls and the Canadian border. The answer is one, Rick Carlisle, who graduated from Lisbon in Section X and was drafted by the Celtics in the third round (70th overall) in 1984.
Funny that the Celtics come up, since all eyes are on their general manager Danny Ainge, who led the Brigham Young in scoring until Jimmer past him last week (again, with 5-2!) and made perhaps the biggest play in Cougar history (you remember it, don't you, Fred).
That's why Jimmer is a big deal. He is the most decorated basketball player to ever come out of this area.
I grew up in a time of great female high school hoopsters like Missy West, Julie Moore and Erin Pratt. That was a great time to be a basketball fan around here, watching three Division I female athletes excel on the court.
Now is also a great time, as the local boy takes his team into the NCAAtournament.
Are they a final four team? Not without Brandon Davies (see last week).
Are they a second weekend team? Could very well be.
Either way, Jimmer Madness is definitely appointment television. Enjoy.