Friday, June 20, 2008

Marquette Basketball Alumni: Class Acts

We don’t cover sports very much, but on occasion we like to point out that the Marquette basketball program has included some very fine young men whose later lives have been a credit to the school.

Two turned up in newspaper columns in the past few days. First, a reminiscence about Glenn (Doc) Rivers, from a sportswriter at the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
Doc Rivers was a winner in my book long before he hoisted the NBA championship trophy late Tuesday night as the coach of the victorious Boston Celtics.

He was 20 and going by his given name of Glenn when I first met him. He was born Oct. 13, two days before the official opening of the college basketball season. I always thought that was perfect, as if he couldn’t wait to start playing the game he loved.

I wasn’t much older than he was - 26 - and although I wasn’t exactly a cub reporter with The Milwaukee Journal, I was the new beat reporter covering my alma mater, Marquette University. He was the first big star I ever covered.

Only he never acted that way - not from the first day we were introduced to the last time I saw him - after the Celtics beat the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals earlier this spring. He is one of the most genuine individuals I’ve ever known. He comes from a great family, has a good heart and a great sense of humor.
And then there is a much more recent alumnus, Dwyane Wade:
Barring a last-moment change of plans, Dwyane Wade is heading to Beijing.

Wade, the Miami Heat guard who led his team to the 2006 NBA championship and has been battling injuries for much of the two years since, will be named to the U.S. Olympic basketball team Monday, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because USA Basketball won’t announce the team until Monday.

It would be Wade’s second Olympics; he was part of the bronze-medal winning squad in Athens in 2004. And his workouts in Chicago over the past few weeks have been going on with a gold medal at the forefront of his mind.

“It would mean everything to me,” Wade told The Associated Press last month. “It’s what we talked about after getting the bronze, right after getting that medal, and I really want to be part of the team that puts the USA back on top.”

Wade missed 31 games last season because of injuries, and the Heat suffered mightily, finishing 15-67 the worst record in the NBA.
U.S. professional basketball players have sometimes been accused of taking a jaded and lackadaisical attitude toward the Olympics. We won’t see that from Wade.

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