Oct 162003
 
Authors: Jon Ackerman

There’s this thing about interviewing. One person usually needs

comments from another person on a particular issue. The interviewer

usually asks a question, the interviewee answers it, the

interviewer asks another question, the interviewee answers it, so

on and so forth.

In the few interviews I’ve done in my day, that’s usually how

they go.

Not earlier this week, though, when I had a phone conversation

with assistant men’s basketball coach Bill Peterson.

You know those times when your mom calls and talks and talks and

talks, so you set the phone down, grab a bite to eat, play the

front nine, catch a late movie, come back and she’s still talking.

My chat with Peterson was kind of like that.

Only I couldn’t put the phone down. I listened to everything he

had to say. You would have too.

Peterson didn’t talk my ear off because he’s a motivational

speaker. He didn’t make me think CSU could repeat as Mountain West

Conference champions because he’s served time as a car salesman. He

didn’t convince me of a 20-win season because I ask enthralling

questions to which only a profound response will suffice.

I asked maybe three questions, yet I have an entire page of

notes. That’s how excited Peterson is about his team’s upcoming

basketball season, which kicks off tonight at Moby Arena for Moby

Madness. Why shouldn’t he be?

The team’s coming off a dazzling run to the MWC Tournament

championship and a NCAA Tournament appearance, where CSU had all

but two sections of the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City rootin’

for the Rammies and doggin’ the Dukies.

That’s why we’re hosting the first Moby Midnight Madness since

1999. That one wasn’t a success. Tonight’s should be. Will you be

there?

“We had (a Midnight Madness) a few years ago, but that one

wasn’t very good,” Peterson said. “I’ll tell you why this year’s is

going to be better. It’ll be because of the students.”

You know how football games here are a must-go? Men’s basketball

should be too. There may be some leadership lost from last year’s

team, as two key seniors graduated. But Peterson said the guys

coming in can more than make up the talent loss.

“All of (the freshmen) were highly recruited, and a couple could

have played at a higher level.”

He went on to say, “We just gotta have guys on the floor where

the team is first for them.”

And we need fans in the stands where going to these games is top

priority for them. It starts tonight. Countless colleges across the

country host their own versions of Midnight Madness. Some schools

bring in 10,000 to 12,000 fans.

I bet we can’t do that – mainly because Moby only holds 9,000,

but also because we have more fair-weather fans than the Denver

Nuggets.

Hopefully, Peterson said, because CSU will be “putting out a

better product,” Moby will get packed on a regular basis.

“When that place is full and the students are hollering, it

becomes a tough place to play,” he said. “If we could just have

that every week. Our team just feeds off that.”

Moby will get filled a little more this year, partly because the

Rams could be on TV as many as eight times. We’re not used to that

here.

But get used to it. With just two seniors on this year’s team,

“the future is very bright for our program,” Peterson said. Two

freshmen received tons of playing time last year, and as many as

three could see good time this year.

Head coach Dale Layer, Peterson and the rest of CSU’s coaches

are trying to make this a big-time college hoops haven. Looks to me

as if they’ve got the right seeds in place.

Come March Madness time, hopefully I’ll get to interview

Peterson again.

But if his team is where he says it should be, he might be

hoarse.

 

 

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