Odds and ends from Thursday’s off-day media events in Tulsa, Okla., home of four first round NCAA Tournament games Friday, including the NMSU Aggies.
TULSA, Okla. — Though it was corrected by midafternoon, the original transcript of Baylor guard Ishmail Wainwright’s portion of Thursday’s news conference had an interesting mistake.
If nothing else, for a state that some times has people question whether it’s even in the United States, what happened Thursday was at least a new one.
Asked what he knew about New Mexico State prior to this week, the senior guard pointed out the Bears played the Aggies in recent seasons, but he also had familiarity with the state, although not Las Cruces specifically, because of family living in Albuquerque.
Although that’s not what the college basketball media world read when the transcript of the press conference was emailed out across the country.
“Also, I have family in Abu Dhabi, so I know a little about Abu Dhabi,” was how Wainwright’s quote was sent out to media.
The follow up question, from an Abu Dhabi, er, Albuquerque Journal reporter about what family he had in Albuquerque, also was transcribed as “Abu Dhabi.”
The news conferences at each NCAA Tournament site are transcribed and distributed by a company named ASAP Sports.
Wainwright said his grand mother, who has passed away, and some cousins once lived in Albuquerque.
And as for the Aggies, he said playing NMSU in 2014 and 2015 provided most of the team’s knowledge of the program.
FOR CHEMISTRY: No. 16 seed UC-Davis coach Jim Les had one of Thursday’s best moments during his team’s press conference, and it had little to do with basketball.
“I was just going to add one more nugget,” Les said as the press conference seemed to end. “So I got a text today. My family is here with me, except for my daughter, Hannah, who’s my youngest, who’s in high school, who happens to have swimming, midterms and prom this week. So what’s going on with dad is really irrelevant with all that stuff.
“And so I got a text this morning, and I probably had 200 texts over the last 14 hours since we finished the game (Wednesday night UC-Davis played in the First Four round in Dayton, Ohio), which has been unique. But the most pressure I felt going into this game came this morning when I got the text from Hannah after her chemistry class, which stated, ‘My chemistry professor just told the class that if you beat Kansas, we all get As on the next test…dad, step up.’ So tomorrow night I’m coaching for chemistry.”
SCOUTING THE TROJANS: SMU coach Tim Jankovich had some advice for the Mustangs’ first round opponent, the USC Trojans, after they rallied from 17 points down in Wednesday night’s First Four game win over Providence and trailed at half time, 44-29.
“I like their team way better in the first half (of Wednesday night’s game), and I recommend they stay with that plan,” Jankovich said.
USC beat SMU in November, 78-73, in Los Angeles.
THE VOICE: This whole NCAA Tournament thing is becoming old hat for Jack Nixon, the Voice of the Aggies.
Nixon, the play-by-play announcer who has called Aggies games for 37 years and nearly three decades consecutively, says he feels fortunate to be calling his 13th NCAA Tournament.
“They were all exciting in their own way,” Nixon said.
But this isn’t exactly like picking your favorite kid. There had to be some more memorable than others, right?
“The first one was special be cause it was in Lawrence (Kan.),” said Nixon, a Kansas graduate, of calling the 1979 tournament. He left for a time in the 1980s when he moved to, of all places, Tulsa, to work for the now defunct USFL.
He also noted the joy of cov er ing the Ag gies’ Sweet 16 run in 1992.
JAYHAWKS: Not only did the Midwest Region’s No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks have, by far, the largest fanbase to attend Thursday’s free open work outs in the BOK Center, but the team had the largest contingent of people in the media workroom and news conference.
Not only did the team have its normal large group of credentialed working media, but a large number of Jayhawk-logo wearing “media” also occupied the news conference and media workroom when the Jayhawks were on stage for their news conferences.
PLAYER OF YEAR: Kansas senior guard Frank Mason III, who is a candidate to be named National Player of the Year, downplayed as best he could any of that talk.
“I just think about ways we can get better as a team and things I can do to make sure my team is successful,” Mason said. “That’s really what I focus on.”