Believe it or not ESPN: Basketball IS A Team Sport

Now that ESPN’s “Salute To Koby Bryant” marathon is winding itself down (a/k/a Post NBA Finals Coverage), I thought I’d celebrate by printing an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the Pauw Wow – Saint Peter’s College student newspaper:

Twenty years ago, college basketball fans in New Jersey were pinching themselves. It didn’t seem possible that the men’s basketball team from little Seton Hall University could be front-and-center on the national college basketball stage. It seemed as if the whole state banded together and watched as the Pirates came within one point of winning the 1988-89 NCAA National Championship. Although the 80-79 loss to Michigan was the end of that magical season, it was also the beginning of bigger things to come.

Back in 1989, John Morton was the go-to guy for Seton Hall. Arguably the greatest player in Seton Hall history, he scored 35 points in the National Championship game – on his way to a stellar professional basketball career.

AnnounceGuyDave and Coach Morton hanging out at the William J. Murray Golf Outing - supporting Saint Peter's Athletics

AnnounceGuyDave and Coach Morton hanging out at the William J. Murray Golf Outing - supporting Saint Peter's College Athletics

 

It’s been twenty years, and nobody has topped his 35-point effort in the finals. It was his three-pointer that turned out to be the last points and the final lead for the Pirates that day, before two Michigan free throws ended the Pirates run.

At the twenty-year reunion at the Prudential Center in Newark this past winter, Morton would get the last shot – twice. In front of ten thousand fans, Morton was the last person introduced – as he delivered the 1989 Runner-Up Trophy to a halftime standing ovation. And right after the Pirates upset the Hoyas, Morton joined Head Coach John Dunne and the Peacocks basketball team as they played the final game of the day on the Prudential Center Court.

As proud as Morton is of his past, he’s also excited at the prospects of the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team now. “Twenty years ago, we were the kids that stayed home to play ball,” Morton remembered. “At Saint Peter’s, we’ve all worked hard to recruit the best players from New Jersey to stay here in New Jersey.” And it’s not the only thing he hopes that his Seton Hall team of twenty years ago has in common with the Peacocks of today. “We struggled as a team learning how to win in our freshman and sophomore years. But we put in the work to get better, and stepped up and became leaders in our junior and senior years”. Good advice for this year’s Peacocks – the third youngest college team in the nation.

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