Bone thugs and basketball
Associate Sports Editor
Thugs. That's the only word that can relate what the men's basketball team looks like in its new uniforms. Thugs.
Maybe you haven't seen these hideous new threads that the team is sporting this year, so let me describe them to you. Basically, take a T-shirt, cut the sleeves off and you've got what the new uniforms look like. A lot of teams are wearing this style of uniform and all the teams that wear them are a bunch of thugs. The team that immediately springs to my mind when I see these uniforms is Cincinnati.
Now, don't get me wrong, Cincinnati is a great basketball factory. Unfortunately, it's a horrible basketball school. Since Bob Huggins became head coach 10 years ago, not a single scholarship player on the men's basketball team has graduated. None. 247 wins … no diplomas
And you thought the Tennessee football team was dumb. The Volunteers have nothing on the Bearcats (what is a Bearcat anyways?). Why do we want anything related to Cincinnati on our basketball team? (Although the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll that the Bearcats now hold would be nice.)
So it all comes back to the uniforms. Why do we want to look like a bunch of thugs? Coach Matt Doherty has said that he believes that Notre Dame can achieve the same kind of success on the basketball court that Duke and Stanford enjoy. Neither Duke nor Stanford dress like a bunch of street punks. Doherty comes from great basketball traditions like Kansas and North Carolina where tradition reigns and basketball success follows. You won't see the Jayhawks or the Tarheels wearing hideous thug uniforms.
Back in the '70s, when Notre Dame basketball was a contender every year with top players like Austin Carr, the Irish wore the standard, traditional basketball uniforms. Aren't those the days that everyone wants the Irish to return to? This team has uniforms that resemble those glory days of Irish hoops. On the cover of the media guide the Irish players wear these uniforms. Knowing that Notre Dame has good-looking uniforms like these — or even the uniforms of last year that seemed fine to me — why are the Irish wearing those thug uniforms?
Do the Irish really want to emulate the Bearcats? Do they want to play like a bunch of arrogant, underachievers that spend so much time strutting and congratulating themselves that they let a West Virginia player hit a three-pointer in their face to win the game like the Bearcats did in the NCAA tournament two years ago? I hope not.
Some might say that I am overreacting to something stupid that has nothing to do with the outcome of a basketball game. But the way you dress and the way you carry yourself says a lot about the kind of person you are. If the Irish want to look like a bunch of thugs, then eventually they will start acting like a bunch of thugs and then Notre Dame will end up with a basketball program like Cincinnati. Is a trip to March Madness really worth sacrificing our integrity?
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Inside Stories for Tuesday, November 16, 1999