AN UPSET OF THE MILLENNIUM
Written by Marcus May
It’s December 25th 1999, but this Christmas Day was a little different than most for me. On second thought, it was different for everyone, because in a few days the world would be experiencing and moving into a new millennium. Honestly, that was an after thought in my mind. The only present I wanted couldn’t fit under a tree. I had one thing and one thing only on my mind. Beating the Michigan State basketball team!! I physically couldn’t be still for anything leading up to the the big game.
Once I returned to Wright State after winter break the team started to prepare immediately. Walk throughs, film sessions and practices. Our coaches tried to treat this game like all the other games, but we all knew that was total BS. This could be the biggest game in the school’s history. With that said, everyone was a little sharper in practice. The focus was a little different, I loved it!! I live for these types of games. Before I knew it, it was officially game day. While sitting with the team during our Pre-Game meal I couldn’t help but notice the set up and actual meal was a little different. Don’t get me wrong, our pre game meals probably rivaled most major D1 or pro teams programs. That’s because our coach Ed Schilling had coached in the NBA and was what you would call “ A players Coach”. He took care of the players. Therefore the meal was unreal that day. No one was talking. I still don’t know if the players or coaches were quiet because in a few hours we play the #8 team in the Country, or the food was just that good. I’m guessing the food was just that good.
Well, let’s get this show on the road. I’m sitting at my locker talking with my teammates, honestly I’m thinking to myself I’m glad it’s a home game for us. Most times mid majors find themselves playing at neutral sites or at the power house’s home gym. But not today!!! We are home in the good ole Nutter Center. Another side bar, the Nutter Central arena was a major selling point that got me to commit to WSU. Back to the game, Coach Schilling walks into the locker room to deliver his pre-game speech. I see him talking but I can’t focus. I can’t wait to get on the floor. All I hear is start in the 1-3-1 zone and trust it.. Okay got it. Michigan State usually has great teams. Meaning they beat you collectively not individually. I’m guessing that’s where Tom Izzo comes in to play. Morris Peterson was the star along with a young athletic kid named Jason Richardson, but the team as a whole was the bigger problem. Deep down, I’m just thinking they will have to beat us because we are not laying down just cause they are Michigan State. We take the court and the arena is packed with over 11,000 people. It’s a beautiful site. We can‘t hear each other doing warm ups, but we knew each other’s thoughts. There’s a no dunking rule during warm ups, but once someone dunked everyone started dunking. It turned into a dunk off, until a ref made his way to our half of the court. We were flying high and ready to play at this point.