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Vol. 54, No. 1 • November 2016 • .pdf version
Archdeacon, Feinstein dominate best-writing contest
Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News and John Feinstein of the Washington Post claimed first and second place finishes in the USBWA's best-writing contest. Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated and Kevin Armstrong of the New York Daily News were also multiple winners. Winn took a first and a third, and Armstrong had two second-place finishes.
Kirk Wessler of the Peoria Journal-Star and Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com were took firsts.
Archdeacon took first place in moderate-length features for "Two Heroic Brothers: Pride of Dayton."
"Throughout the Miami Valley, Bucky Bockhorn, now 82, is mostly associated with basketball.
"He is one of the most beloved and accomplished players to wear a Dayton Flyers uniform.
"He and his brothers, Harold and Terry, all of whom played for the 1957-58 Flyers team that nished 25-4 and was the NIT runner-up, hold the distinction of being the first trio of brothers to play alongside each other on an NCAA Division I team.
"Yet those who know the Bockhorns the best appreciate the family the most for its military service and the sacrifices it made in World War II and during the Korean War."
Feinstein won the enterprise/investigative category for a five-part series on five schools that have never been to the NCAA Tournament – Army, the Citadel, Northwestern, St. Francis Brooklyn and William & Mary.
The series revealed that although Army has never been to the NCAA Tournament, it wasn't for the lack of an invitation.
According to Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski: ‘"It isn't as if Army's never been good in basketball – we've been very good. It's just that we were good in a different time when making the NCAAs wasn't the be-all and end-all."
"Krzyzewski played for another Hall of Fame coach, Bob Knight. During a 10-season period, from 1961 through 1970, Army was invited to the National Invitation Tournament seven times, four times under Knight. In 1968, when Krzyzewski was a junior, the Cadets – as they were called in those days – were invited to the NCAA tournament.
"But Knight turned down the invitation. Army, he decided, would return to the NIT instead."
Winn won for his game story on the national championship game. He set up the story by going back to a first-weekend loss by Villanova to North Carolina State in the 2015 NCAA tournament.
"One year and eight days later," Winn wrote, "on a raised court in a dome in Houston, a play was once again developing behind Arcidiacono's back. This time Villanova, the No. 2 seed in the South region, was tied at 74 in the final seconds of the national title game against the East region's top seed North Carolina, the ball was in his hands, and a voice was screaming behind him. It was so loud, it had so much conviction and it was so familiar that Arcidiacono could single it out in the crowd of 74,340 at NRG Stadium.
"Arch! Arch! Arch!
"It was junior Kris Jenkins, the inbounder on a play the Wildcats call Nova – one they saved for a lastsecond situation, in a game they'd forever longed to be playing in, a game that may go down as the greatest NCAA final of all time. The last option was Jenkins, the trail man and the voice."
Wessler also wrote about the championship game – in particular, choice of its Most Outstanding Player – with his winning column.
"Ryan Arcidiacono was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four.
"I have no problem with that. I voted for him. I voted for him before I voted for Josh Hart, then switched to Phil Booth and considered Daniel Ochefu before changing my vote to Kris Jenkins. And then I switched my vote back to the senior captain they call "Arch" and submitted my ballot – only to want it back again after Jenkins hit his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Villanova Wildcats a 77-74 victory over North Carolina for the national championship Monday night.
"Or maybe I didn't want it back. After all, Arch passed the ball to Jenkins to get the assist on the final shot.
"Look, here's the deal. I'd like to vote for the whole damn Villanova team."
For his winning magazine-length feature, Norlander revisited how George Mason crashed through the Final Four doors in 2006 and left them open for Butler, VCU and Wichita State in future seasons.
"As college basketball stylistically transformed through many eras and into a new century, a constant rule remained: Mid-major teams did not win four games in the NCAA Tournament.
"Until 2006, of course, when a commuter school out of Fairfax, Va., burned down the country's brackets, not to mention sport's precedents. George Mason became one of the best stories in America that year. The Patriots' Final Four run remains one of the most unexpected, groundbreaking achievements in college hoops history.
"Before Butler. Before VCU. Before Wichita State. Before all of them, there was George Mason."
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