Nov. 13, 2001
The last time The Catholic University of America men’s basketball team took the court in official play, they won the 2001 NCAA Division III Championship. On Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m., the Cardinals will raise the bar again, when they play the Harlem Globetrotters as part of the New York team’s 2001 fall tour.
“Talk about two dream games,” said Mike Lonergan, head coach of the CUA men’s basketball team. “It will be difficult to compete with a successful professional team like the world-famous Globetrotters, but we look forward to the experience. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.”
Matt Hilleary, a junior forward who played in CUA’s title-winning game last March, remembers going with his father to see the Globetrotters as a kid. He never imagined he’d play them one day.
“I’m excited about the game, even though I’ll probably be up against some former NBA draft pick,” Hilleary said. “We’re going to do our best, but we are really just looking to have a good time and entertain the audience.”
It won’t be the first time Hilleary and his teammates have gone into a game with a can-do attitude and the odds stacked against them. On March 17, the team won the first national team sport title in Catholic University’s history when they beat William Paterson 76-62 in Salem, Va. The Cardinals’ surprise victory drew a flurry of news coverage of the team’s “improbable” win. The team will commemorate that triumph during Monday’s game, when they unfurl their 2001 NCAA Division III National Championship banner in the Raymond A. DuFour (athletic) Center for the first time.
Student athletes who enter CUA’s sports programs do so strictly for love of the game; scholarships are not offered.
Hilleary and Will Morley, a forward for the CUA team, said while their team is not as well known as those from more elite Division I schools, playing for a Division III team has its perks, such as coaches who place as much importance on academics as they do on athletic performance.
“I think that our program is as good as or better than some of the Division I schools out there,” Morley said. “We proved that last year when we beat the University of Albany, a Division I team.”
While the Globetrotters are known for their court tricks – fancy dribbles, finger spins, hiding the basketball under their jerseys and dousing the referee with buckets of water – they also engage in serious competition a number of times each year versus top NCAA and international teams.
When playing in a serious competition, and not just for laughs, the Globetrotters are a formidable foe. As of Nov. 12, the team had lost only two games since 1995; the team boasted an impressive 20,646-334 total record and a 158-67 record in college games.
The Nov. 19 game will be “completely serious,” with no intent to embarrass CUA players with trick plays, said the Globetrotters’ vice president for communications, Brett Meister.
Tickets for the game are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by contacting business manager Bob Sargeant at 202-319-6042 or at firstname.lastname@example.org between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
To read more about the Cardinals vs. Globetrotters game, go to http://publicaffairs.cua.edu/news/globetrotters02.htm
Revised: March 27, 2001
All contents copyright © 2001.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.