Twelve years ago today The Last Amateurs was published. The author - John Feinstein - wrote from the point of view that huge sums of money had turned college basketball into a lower division of the NBA. So, searching for passion and integrity, he spent a year covering the Patriot League.
From Publisher's Weekly: "Army, Navy, Lafayette, Lehigh, Bucknell, Holy Cross and Colgate: these seven colleges make up the Patriot League, basketball's smallest Division I conference. In this book, NPR commentator and bestselling sportswriter Feinstein (A Season on the Brink, The Majors, etc.) gives an exhaustive account of the Patriot League's 1999-2000 season. He illustrates that exciting basketball can be played in front of crowds that can be as small as 1,000 and that rivalries such as Lafayette-Lehigh can be just as intense as those played by colleges in major conferences on national television. But Feinstein's intent is to do more than just provide details about the year's important games; he uses the Patriot League as an example of "what college sports are supposed to be about.""
Feinstein has written several notable books, including A March to Madness (a season following the ACC) and A Season on the Brink (a year spent with Indiana and Bobby Knight).
The Clemson Field House opened on this day in 1930. Home to Clemson basketball from 1930-1968 it was replaced by Littlejohn Coliseum. The field house is now called the Fike Recreation Center.
Derek Smith would have been 51 today. Born in Hogansville, Georgia in 1961, Smith played his college basketball for Louisville, where he won a National Title in 1980. He would go on to play nine years in the NBA, and later became an assistant coach for the Washington Bullets.
Smith, who is the father of former Duke star Nolan Smith, suffered a fatal heart attack while on a cruise in 1996.
Other birthdays include: Curly Armstrong 1918 (Indiana), Johnny Cox 1936 (Kentucky), Joe Caldwell 1941 (Arizona State), Clarence Glover 1947 (Western Kentucky), Corky Calhoun 1950 (Penn), Eric Fernsten 1953 (San Francisco), Gary Alexander 1969 (South Florida), Jake Voskuhl 1977 (UConn) and Marcus Landry 1985 (Wisconsin)