Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Purple Pride

Hit up the Weber State vs. Fort Lewis College exhibition game tonight, and it was pretty much the exact opposite of the Utah State game I went to. Where Utah State was an awesome atmosphere that felt like a big time college game, tonight pretty much felt like a high school game or a game at an 80th tier college like UMD.

The Wildcats and the Skyhawks were tied at the end of regulation at 85 apiece when we left, due to Mrs. WWWWWW's complete and total refusal to stay for overtime after I talked her in to staying until the end of regulation, so I have no idea who won. It was a very sloppily played game, but also pretty entertaining, although Weber was without their best player, Juan Pablo Silveira.

The best parts of the game were the fact that these weird old men who were taking tickets let us in free, that there were no TV timeouts, and that some kid named Devon Manning kept the Skyhawks in the game singlehandedly by scoring 32 points and being in a Glen Rice in the '89 tournament kind of zone.

The worst part of the whole thing was that Weber had a wall of plaques signifying their hall of fame, and Harold "The Show" Arceneaux was nowhere to be found, which is quite the travesty. Arceneaux led the Wildcats to a win over 3 seed North Carolina in the first round of the 1999 NCAA tournament by scoring 36 points, and averaged over 20 in both his years at Weber State. Clearly, a hall of fame player.

I managed to find this article about what he's up to. It's about a year old, but it still has some nice info on The Show.

Harold "The Show" Arceneaux, Weber State
Name: Harold "The Show" Arceneaux
Age: 29
Residence: Ogden, Utah
Claim to fame: Arceneaux led 14th-seeded Weber State to one of the NCAA Tournament's most shocking upsets, a 76-74 first-round victory over No. 3 seed North Carolina in 1999. He riddled the Tar Heels for 36 points, including a pair of free throws with 13.3 seconds to play that provided the winning margin. He scored 32 points in Weber State's second-round game against Florida, but the Wildcats fell to the Gators in overtime. Arceneaux was a two-time Big Sky Conference Player of the Year. Despite playing at Weber only two seasons, "The Show" left the school ranked eighth on its all-time scoring list with 1,357 points.

Harold Arceneaux led Weber State, a No. 14 seed, over North Carolina in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
How often he's reminded about his college career: "Every time I come outside. In most of the places out West I hear it a lot. And I'm from New Orleans, so they remember it there, too.

"I've played a lot overseas and some of those guys have heard the name. Once you sign with a team over there, they check you out on the Internet. So some of those teammates have asked me about those games (in the NCAA Tournament)."

Memories of his college career: "I started out here as a freshman at the College of Southeastern Utah (a junior college). There were three of us from New Orleans who came here to play. Guy Beach recruited me heavily. He and my mom kind of tricked me into coming. I was supposed to be coming on a visit, but I wound up staying. I was supposed to come for a week, then it turned into two, then three, then school started. Turns out my mom already had shipped some of my stuff here. She was pretty convinced this was where I needed to be.

After my first year at Southeastern, my head coach went to Weber State and one of the assistants went to Midland (Texas) College. So I transferred to Midland.

A lot of coaches thought I was making a big mistake when I signed with Weber State after my year at Midland. I had been a two-time MVP as a junior college player and I was getting letters from all over, UNLV, Texas Tech, a lot of schools. But I knew I wanted to go play for Weber.

The Big Sky was a pretty competitive league at that time. It's mostly a coaches' league. Coaches adjust to the good players. They figure out what you can and can't do and make you play to your weaknesses. In this league you don't get all of the talent in the world, so you have to have coaches who can X and O.

Nobody gave us a chance in that first-round game against North Carolina. But we watched tape of them and came up with a game plan. We wanted to play to our strengths, and we didn't care about their strengths. We wanted to spread the floor and use our quickness, make some of their big people play away from the basket.

I don't think North Carolina was ever worried about losing the game until the final few minutes. Then they started to takes us more seriously.

I just played like I play. I got in one of those grooves. Shots were going down and I had confidence that we could pull it out. They had to foul us toward the end and I got open and they had to come get me. I made my foul shots and got a steal at the end of the game and that was it.

Going into the game, maybe we were a little naïve. We didn't worry that much about who we were playing. We felt like we had a chance. It finally hit us after the game. We realized what we had done. It was like one day we were a just another team that got in the tournament, and the next day we were the big Cinderella and everybody wanted to talk to us and write about us.

The guys at Weber State came up with my nickname. I have a unique style, the way I'm built. I'm 6-6, with a wingspan like 6-9, 6-10, and I've got one of those styles that looks like I'm not playing hard but I am playing hard. They came up with the nickname. They came up with it and kind of ran with it. I guess it caught on.

I don't remember much about the Florida game. We had a game plan against Florida that almost worked. We took them to the wire. We had three free throws to win the game. They ran us out in overtime.

I was really keyed in on my senior year. Everybody thought I should have turned pro. But my decision was that I wanted to play again and prove it was not a fluke. But everything was new for us. We had new coaches and eight freshmen with me and Eddie Gill (who plays for the Indiana Pacers). Eddie and I were the only seniors. We lost a lot of games we should have won. We were 18-10, and there were at least four games hands-down that we should have won. It was terrible because everybody felt like we should have won the Big Sky again. But it wasn't like the year before. The year before, Eddie and I were the young guys on the team with eight seniors. Then it was us with eight freshmen.

No, I don't wish I'd come out early. I can say I wish I had, but no one can take away what I accomplished playing Division I basketball."

Arceneaux now travels the world playing pro ball in different leagues most of the year.
Pro career: "I played in the NBDL for like four or five games and sprained my ankle. I went to Portugal right after that. A lot of teams bring me in when they get close to playoff time and they need some scoring. I'm a player who can help carry the load.

I've been to Venezuela most recently. I was the MVP of the all-star game there. I've been to France. I played another season in the Philippines. I also played in Portugal.

There are so many different levels overseas, but you can make decent money. You might make $60,000-$70,000 in seven or eight months, but you have to realize you're not playing ball for the next four months so you have to stretch that.

If you're tired of traveling it might not be the best for you. I've been a lot of places. I'm married and my wife comes to visit so it's kind of fun because she gets to see the world.

I play year-round. I play in one league, then jump to another. I play 10-11 months of the year.

To be honest, I've never been to camp for the NBA. Nobody has ever brought me into veteran camp. I've heard so many stories about my game. I've heard I can't play defense, can't jump, I'm not athletic enough, can't shoot. I can't worry about what other people say. Everybody is trying to feed their family."

What he's doing now: Arceneaux said he's scheduled to join a team in Mexico in June. He also said he has a new agent and hopes to play in the NBA summer league.

Also, the nachos they sold at the game didn't even have spicy cheese, it was just melty cheddar, so that was kind of bullshit.

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