If you’re the head coach of a Division I basketball team that is readying itself for the NCAA tournament, one would think you would at least have a vague idea of a player who won Defensive Player of the Year in one of the nation’s most prominent conferences.
“As idiotic as this is going to sound, and I don’t mean this in any way, shape or form, but I don’t know who [Syracuse center Fab Melo] is,’’ Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy said in a press conference on Wednesday. “I really don’t.’’
“I don’t watch college basketball,’’ he continued. “I watch Law & Order. I love to watch the guy that catches the wild fish, goes everywhere. I love that one.’’
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good episode of Law & Order, but if I were Eustachy, I’d at least take some time to familiarize myself with a player who, before his academic issues, could have been sitting in the middle of a zone defense that my team could meet in the third round of the tournament.
That quote reaches the rarefied air of a statement that ranges from “puzzling” to “what did he just say?” By saying he didn’t know who Melo was, he covered the far end, and by going off on a tangent about an episode about fishing, he lost just about every reporter in the room.
Was he serious? I don’t know. Maybe we need to put someone on the job to investigate, someone who Eustachy is familiar with: Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson.