by Kelvin Powell
Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. hosted several sporting events during the Thanksgiving holidays. There was the fall league baseball games, a huge soccer tournament and, of course, hoops.
The 2008 Old Spice Classic, a college basketball gathering of some of America’s top programs, took place at a facility collectively known as the Milk Center. The facility is adorned with several murals high priced athletes and their famous “milk mustaches.”
Well, I decided to head to the concession stand and get my “milk” on. “One tall glass of milk, please,” I requested at the west wing concession.
“I’m sorry we don’t have any milk,” replied the middle-aged cashier. “No milk.”
“In the Milk House?” I offered, “This is false advertising.”
He told me the name “Milk House” only serves as a reminder to attending athletes that milk does the body good. Just look at who drinks it: Dwight Howard drinks milk as does Yankee Alex Rodriquez. New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady drinks milk too.
The Old Spice tournament allows college athletes to prove they have what it takes to be fitted with the next “milk mustache.”
The Old Spice committee positions NBA scouts in a virtual bird’s nest view of the action, seated in what can best be described as end-zone seating raised high enough to see everything. The area is also open to those media members opting for the view as opposed to the customary courtside seating. Some 16 NBA scouts attended the tourney’s final day this past Sunday. I spoke with one:
SLAM: What makes this event so well attended?
East Conference Scout: The number of potential pros. The number of quality teams.
SLAM: Is this setting at the Milk House good for identifying who has what it takes to play at the next level?
ECS: This is good because it has an NCAA post-season tournament feel to it. The game yesterday between Tennessee and Georgetown had a Sweet 16 feel to it.
SLAM: Are you here to watch certain players?
ECS: Yes, we’ve got several players in the tournament on our watch list, but obviously, if someone else catching my eye I’ll continue to monitor them as well.
SLAM: Is there a team here that plays most like an NBA team?
ECS: No. It’s a totally different game. If anything, Tennessee is probably the team that plays totally different from most NBA teams. But I’m looking to see if guys have good basketball instincts. If they do, we can teach the rest.
Oklahoma State Cowboys took on the Saints of Siena in the 10:30 a.m. game, and the Cowboys registered a 77-68 victory. The prime “milk mustache” candidate in this game is O.K. State junior guard Obi Muonelo. If milk does the body good, Muonelo swims in it. Listed at 6-5 215 pounds, Obi has the appearance of a professional athlete now. He finished with 19 points and 12 boards. Look for his stock to continue to rise throughout the season.
During Sunday’s second game between Michigan State and Wichita State basketball fans witnessed a potential first in basketball history. Well, at least this tournament’s first—a rain delay. Heavy rain in the area causes water to leak through the ventilation system. The tournament issued this statement: “Play was halted in the first half of the Wichita State-Michigan State game Sunday because high winds forced water through a rooftop vent at the Milk House. There was no leak in the roof. The water has been cleared from the vent and no further delays are expected.” The delay lasted 44 minutes.
Michigan State’s fan base is incredible. The Classic announced record attendance numbers and in large part it was due to the Spartan faithful. When I asked one of the faithful followers of why the team had such a large following he uttered the following “Go green! Go white!”
Final: Michigan State 65, Wichita State 57
Top “milk mustache” candidate: Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan 6-8 junior forward. He’s an inside/outside player with great athleticism and skills to match.
That’s a wrap on the first session of Sunday’s action of the Old Spice Classic from the bird’s eye view known as the Scout’s Row—a place where the NBA’s milk mustaches are made.