Game 108: at Iona 80, Rider 59 Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Mulcahy Center - New Rochelle, NY
Most kids who sport the mohawk haircut don' t care what you think, if you crack Travis Bickle or Mr. T jokes, if you tell them that punk is dead. Their feelings are protected by pointy liberty spikes and gobs of Elmer's glue, you'll never get through to them.
But now, the mohawk isn't just for white suburban kids who want to freak out their parents. It's making a comeback, right here in Hoops Nation - and we're not talking halfway-done "faux-hawks" like David Beckham
or that dude from the Killers
. You'll see 5'10" Raundy Melo of theSt. Francis (NY)
rocking a carefully-manicured, short 'hawk with sharply-cut lines;Iona's
jumping-bean guard Ricky Soliver prefers the taller, more defined bump.
"I got it in the summertime, I was bored," said Soliver. "I was watching the And 1 Mixtape Tour, and I saw one of the players had it on."
That baller was Aaron "AO" Owen
, the And 1 original and Philly-native pointman who broke out the look on the summer tour, exposing thousands of dunk-freaks to the hairstyle on teevee.
But Soliver realizes that he's still bears the burden of pioneerhood. "I was scared at first how people would react."
Judging from student reaction, any and all fears were unfounded. It probably has something to do with Iona's hot 5-0 start and thrilling upset win at Iowa State, but Mohawk Fever is starting to sweep New Rochelle. Before their MAAC conference-season opener againstRider
, folks from the athletic department passed out pink rubber skullcaps with fake mohawks attached.
"I got the word before the game that they were coming, and I didn't believe it," said Soliver. "When we came out for warmups and people had them on, that was exciting."
But not everybody got one. There was only one cardboard boxful of mohawks, not nearly enough to go around for the 2,000 or so in attendance at the Mulcahy Center. There were some minor injuries in the stands as students scuffled, clawed and scraped for the prized souvenirs.
"They didn't order as many as they wanted to," explained Soliver. "I knew there was going to be a problem. The people who got them deserved them, they're the real fans."
After a slow start, Iona pulled even with their MAAC foes midway through the first half, before they streaked away for an easy win. Steve Burtt Jr. (the son of AO's coach on the Mixtape Tour
) had a relatively off shooting night - he came into the game as the second-leading scorer in the nation, but the Gaels have multiple turbines this season. On this night, the spark was lit by Soliver, who hit three shots in a row.
A drive for an easy layup at 9:19. You talkin' to me?
Off a Rider turnover, a swishing three from right elbow hyper-extended, as the clock struck 9:02. I pity da' fool!
Thirty seconds later off another turnover, another trey from the same spot. The boy's a time bommmmmb!
Some folks at Iona these days are going a bit further than the rubber hat, they're actually breaking out the razors.
"I thought about that... that I would start seeing them around campus," Soliver said. "Now some of the soccer dudes have them. That's nice."