Notes on a golf scorecard while eagerly waiting for March to go mad …
… LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade held his March Tip-off luncheon Monday at L’Auberge Casino Hotel. After going on a while about this week’s Southeastern Conference tournament — the Tigers open at 6 p.m. Thursday in St. Louis against Mississippi State — the coach took questions from fans before meeting with reporters.
The first question was from a gentleman who wondered whether there was anything being done about the peeling portions of the ceiling in the 46-year-old Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Wade jumped on the question like he wants his players to dive on a loose ball.
“We’ve talked about some improvements,” Wade said. “There’s a feasibility study going on right now about what to do with the Maravich Assembly Center, what to do with some other property that we have on campus to look at obviously redoing the Assembly Center or doing something totally different.”
Or doing something totally different. Something different like, oh, building a new arena?
Ole Miss and Auburn have drawn praise for building new on-campus facilities in recent years. One has the feeling that’s what Wade would ideally like. Wouldn’t any coach?
It’s much more likely and much less expensive to renovate the PMAC, which turns 46 this year. There has been talk, as illustrated in a story by The Advocate's Ross Dellenger, of premium seating and demolishing the ramps around the building and replacing them with escalators, which would significantly alter the building’s early-70s flying saucer look.
What would probably please Wade most is something that should have been done when they grafted the men’s and women’s practice gyms on the north side of the PMAC: put in the coaches offices and a weight room for both teams there. There has to be room for it. Currently, the basketball offices are in the administration building next to Tiger Stadium, and the weight room is in the stadium where the old football offices were once located.
For the second year in a row, the LSU and Mississippi State men’s basketball teams played on the final day of the Southeastern Conference’s 18…
In Dale Brown’s day, the basketball offices were in the PMAC on the side facing Tiger Stadium. It seemed like a step backward to move them out of the building, a mistake LSU can and should easily rectify.
… LSU gymnastics wrapped up a second straight perfect SEC season Sunday with an emphatic 198.100-195.625 victory over Auburn. LSU has gone unbeaten in the SEC three times in the past four years, in fact, and the Tigers are a remarkable 29-1 in SEC regular-season meets dating back to midway through the 2014 season.
The Tigers made it look easy, and there is a certainly a big gap between teams like LSU (No. 2 in this week’s rankings) and a team like Auburn (No. 16). But it’s not. All seven of LSU’s SEC opponents were ranked 19th or higher when they met, three of them in the top 10.
“That’s a huge achievement,” said senior Myia Hambrick, who had a 10 on floor Sunday and ranks No. 1 nationally in the event. “Winning at the SEC tournament is great; we did it last year, and it was awesome. But for me the season SEC championship is more impressive. You have to be on your game every time you see those teams in those seven meets.”
LSU will be the team to beat when it goes to St. Louis on March 24 for the SEC Championship meet (there are regular season and postseason championships in gymnastics now, like basketball or baseball). When the Tigers surely go back to St. Louis for the NCAA Championship meet in April, they will be one of probably four teams that can realistically win it all along with No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 Utah. No. 5 Florida recently lost key gymnast Kennedi Baker to an Achilles’ tendon injury and has been wildly inconsistent, as has No. 6 Alabama.
… It’s the game that’s sweeping Baton Rouge: I spy Tom Hanks at a local restaurant. The beloved actor, in town to film a World War II epic he wrote called “Greyhound,” has already been spotted at Velvet Cactus and City Pork Brasserie.
Employees at the restaurants said Hanks was “really great” and “really delightful,” which goes back to what everyone always wants to know about famous people: were they nice or were they a jerk?
The stories of close Hanks encounters of the culinary kind around town reminds me of a story from my trip to London last fall for the Saints-Dolphins game.
I went to dinner one night at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair. It was the favorite of author Ian Fleming, who made it the favorite restaurant of his most famous character, James Bond (long-serving wait staff at Scott’s also describe Commander Bond as “really delightful” but "really dangerous").
When my server brought the check, I asked her whether she’d ever waited on any famous people at Scott’s, a restaurant that has drawn luminaries like President Clinton and Kate Winslet.
“Oh yes,” she said in a strong Lithuanian accent. “Tom Hanks was in here a few months ago.”
I had to bite. “Really? What was he like?”
“He was very nice,” she said. Then added dreamily, “Those eyes … you could forgive him anything.”