January 21, 2008 10:59 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
North Carolina A&T at Delaware State (MEAC)
Memorial Hall - Dover, DE
7:30 PM EST
The news channels say that this is a day for "remembering" and "celebrating" the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. which has always struck me as a superficial invitation that may or may not include party hats and/or streamers. Every year, this day is a reminder that there are countless so-called leaders who used killing and violence to get their points across, and most of them lie dead, unremembered. And that tomorrow, once the media's free of its annual one-day obligation, bleeding will lead again. So it goes.
On a somewhat lighter note, did you know that Dr. King was awarded honorary degrees from Hofstra (CAA), Saint Peter's (MAAC), Yale (Ivy), Boston University (America East), in addition to two MEAC schools, Howard and Morgan State? It's true! Plus, King Day and basketball have been well-intertwined in years past, including MAAC doubleheaders and, more recently, the all-day HBCU marathons on ESPNU. Those are defunct traditions, sadly, and this game didn't fit in the regularly-scheduled doubleheader. Delaware State (6-9, 4-0) won its first league game at Memorial Hall on Saturday, knocking Norfolk State from the ranks of the MEAC-undefeated by 15 points. Somewhat surprisingly, the defending champion yet young Hornets are unbeaten in conference play, and are doing what they used to do with 11 underclassmen. Once again, Del-State is among the national leaders in slowness (58.4 possessions per game) and turnovers. They also foul only 14.6 times per ballgame, meaning their opponents are rarely in the bonus. Non-violence, indeed.
Few teams in Hoops Nation are as frustrating as A&T, which showed its potential early with a 96-93 upset of DePaul. The Aggies are as experienced as a team can be (seven seniors), but the chemistry just isn't clicking like it should. Steven Rush, a 5-11 senior who leads the team with 15.3 ppg, but his shooting percentage has dipped seven points year-over-year to 36 percent, and it always seems like he's shooting his way out of a slump. NCATSU has also slowed its pace a bit, but is still being bedeviled with turnovers -- only 10 teams in America average more per game than the Aggies' 18.9. It's still relatively early, though, just as it is for the career of 6-9 freshman Thomas Coleman, whose combination of skill and promise make him a player to watch in coming years.
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