Somone asked me the other day if I remembered what my first story was at The Trib. I do.
On the same day, I had a high school soccer gamer and a feature on Daniel Santiago, whose Phoenix Suns were coming to The Pit to play Kenny Thomas' Houston Rockets. My editor said he thinks it's the last time I ever had two stories in the same paper. That was a nice little kick in the butt on the way out.
As some of you know, today is my last day of work at The Trib. My wife has been working in Fort Worth for the last few months and I have some free-lance work lined up that will hopefully lead to better things. We move to Arlington on Sunday.
So after nearly five years working for the best sports section in the state, it's time for me to go. I thought a bit about what I wanted to post here, but I don't want my life to be the focus and I don't want to inappropriately columnize as I walk out the door.
So I'll offer this: What you read in The Trib is the best writing and reporting on Albuquerque sports anywhere. I am very proud to have worked here and I look forward to enjoying this proud newspaper the way the rest of you do: as a reader.
Thanks for clicking on the blog.
Ritchie McKay owes some anonymous cabbie a healthy tip.
The hack who picked up UNM recruit Taylor Rohde and his father, Monty, from the airport today made an immediate impression on the 6-foot-8 power forward. ("I'm 6-8 and a half," Taylor said.) The cab driver, upon discovering that Rohde was a basketball player, began talking up the merits of The Pit and Lobo hoops.
So now we know what Rudy Davalos has been doing since retiring.
I coincidentally ran into Rohde, here for an unofficial recruiting visit, at the Davalos Center today. He told me is also interested in Arizona State, Oregon State, Portland and San Diego.
He goes about 230 pounds and averged 21 and 10 for Pinnacle High in Phoenix last season as a sophomore. Rohde admits he is still school shopping at this point and doesn't plan to commit to UNM while here.
Senior forward Kellen Walter broke his left leg, an injury that will keep him off the court for about eight to 10 weeks.
It happened Friday when he was posting up Tony Danridge. Walter told me he initially thought he had just rolled it. But after receiving treatment, he had trouble walking and knew he was in trouble.
Walter describes the injury as more of a broken ankle. The break is along the bottom of the tibia near the ankle.
Walter, a 6-10 walk-on, averaged 2.8 points and 0.8 rebounds per game last season. This might be the most amazing stat from last season: He had 61 field goal attempts, and 58 of them were 3-pointers.
In non-World Cup years, my four favorite sports days of the year are the first four of the NCAA Tournament. (I'm not counting the ridiculous play-in game, by the way.)
Typically, I head over to Spectator's up in the Heights, which always has that perfect combo of cute waitresses and cheap beer specials. I play hooky from work, convince a friend or two to take off on Thursday or Friday, and spend the day in hoops nirvana.
In the first year of the McKay Era, all of Ritchie's assistants were there watching, too. (That was after their rookie 10-16 start that so endeared Ritchie to UNM fans.) I toyed with the idea of buying them a round of milk, since they were all so wholesome. But I was lowly High School Guy at the time, and didn't really know them. Today, I wouldn't hesitate.
Anyhow, I say all this as a roundabout lead-in to the news of the day: The National Association of Basketball Coaches is asking the NCAA to expand the 65-team field to 128 teams. It won't happen this year, but some form of expansion is likely inevitable.
When The Grunt posts my story late Tuesday morning, you can find out where Ritchie McKay comes down on this topic. (You get one guess.)
Tuesday update: Click here to read McKay endorses larger NCAA field.
In the meantime, let me know what you think. Is the NCAA Tournament a masterpiece that needs no refining? Or should the NCAA open the floodgates and let everyone in? Post your comments here.
One final note: Recruit Taylor Rohde will be here on an unofficial visit Wednesday. Devin Ebanks has rescheduled his visit for September.