Jan. 19, 2009
Big, bad Mike Doyle was celebrating in UCSB's lockerroom after a key win during its NCAA Tournament basketball run of 1988 -- until he saw me approach with pen and notebook.
I might as well have been Long Beach State's Jeff Eastin, crashing the backboards to steal one of his rebounds. I still have my nose intact, but my nose for news wound up a little bruised.
"Oh, no, no, no," Doyle said anxiously with a few vigorous shakes of his head. "Not me. Talk to B. Shaw . . . Yeah, B. Shaw. He's the guy."
Brian Shaw now helps coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Doyle runs a Subway franchise in Belgium. Pity the con artist who ever tries to quick-change monsieur Doyle.
Some athletes are good with interviews. Others are better at making an Italian B.M.T.
But UCSB's media relations office has been trying to draw out all their Gauchos with a regular Web-site feature called "20 Questions."
Some of their answers have been as meaty, or cheesy, as the Chipotle Southwest Cheese Steak.
When volleyball player Leigh Stephenson was asked if she had any phobias, she answered, "I hate the sight of sliders."
She wasn't talking about the slide play in volleyball. It's those mini-hamburgers she can't stand.
"I hate when people order them or eat them," Stephenson said.
She also had a suggestion for UCSB's next "20 Questions" interview: "What cartoon character are you most attracted to?" she offered.
Water polo star Jesse Tootell got that gem, and he was quick to reply, "Roger Rabbit's girlfriend."
Staying with that theme, women's soccer player Kylie McDonald was asked, "What is the worst pick-up line you've heard?"
Her response: "Are you wearing space pants? Cause you're out of this world!"
When men's soccer player Kyle Kaveny was asked what super power he'd like to have, he replied, "I think I would settle for an accent. Girls love accents."
That is, as long as you don't say, "Are chu varing space pants?"
Jordan Franey must have had a bad day at basketball practice when she was asked what historic moment she'd like to witness.
"The Reign of Terror during the French Revolution of the late 18th century," she replied. "Being able to see the guillotine put to use would have been epic."
Tootell went for greed rather than gore when he got the same question:
"When some other guy won the lottery," he said of his time-travel moment. "I'd take his ticket."
Baseball star Brian Gump showed a keen sense for the cinematic arts when asked the nickname he would choose for his own university.
"Shrimp," he said. "I've got to."
Run with it, Forrest! Run!
Women's basketball star Kat Suderman offered some practical advice for her peers when asked the simple, leading question of "Never . . ."
". . . Pull two all-nighters back-to-back because you might go to the wrong class for the wrong final."
UCSB's Web artists decided to make even better use of men's basketball player Jesse Byrd, the son of author Mary B. Morrison. He's been penning an entertaining, online journal the last few months, which includes a "Lookalike of the Week" feature.
His first lookalikes were teammate James Powell and Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, although he smells something fishy in the situation.
"The funny thing is, we had the opportunity of playing against the entire Utah Jazz team this summer in our gym, and the only two people that weren't there were Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams," Byrd said. "They were allegedly in Beijing for the Olympics, but I don't think that's the full story.
"Besides glaring similarities, (Powell and Williams) never seem to be in the same place at the same time."
He compared Gaucho redshirt Orlando Johnson to George Foreman in his next journal.
Sam Phippen got this week's lookalike treatment, by George: Byrd compared him to TV's George Jetson.
"That's right, even animated characters aren't out of bounds," Byrd said.
But be wary, Sam: If Byrd tries to set you up with Jessica Rabbit, just don't get cute with any lines about space pants.
Mark Patton's column appears on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org