Not quite a handful of media showed up Friday afternoon for the Illini basketball media availability. There were four of us. Two TV guys, one Illini Sports Network and me. DIA Media Minder Derrick Burson completed the fist, doubling his duty by camera jockeying for FightingIllini.com
I was the middle finger.
But trying to squeeze whimsical side-stories from a jet-lagged troupe proved a non-starter. Derrick and the team didn’t get home from Cancun ’til midnight, so they weren’t in much of a mood for witty banter. Furthermore, it’s Derrick’s job to keep the team mindful of myriad varieties of reactionaries among the fandom who loiter by their computers, waiting to go off on any callous or reckless phrasing a motherfucker might utter.
Thus, the excitement mostly happened in the background, or off-camera. You can hear it, I’m sure. (It seemed to drown out the staged stuff.) And the most exciting part — the small victory of presenting positive PR — cannot be seen or heard.
Sam Maniscalco refused to take the bait on “looking ahead” to Tuesday’s B1G-ACC Challenge game at Maryland. He steadfastly assured the cameras that this team is concerned only with Chicago State right now. Derrick held the FI camera steady with his left, while ringing up a silent ching-ching! with his right. In the video, you can just detect Sam’s acknowledgment of a job well done.
Let’s Get Players to Recite Familiar Phrases, Chicago State Edition can be seen in its entirety in the following video clip. It might be useful if you’re out of Unisom.
But there’s something exciting there, too. Following the Parade of Familiars, I sought out the guy who never gets asked to dance with the cameras. Devin Langford says he’s not planning to redshirt: