By Jim Moyes
Combine the three weeks of the NCAA tournament with the final three days in March for the high school finals in East Lansing — it is just one great dose of adrenaline for this oldtimer.
This year’s NCAA tournament is especially noteworthy as it conjures up Moyes’ Memories from past players whose names I called with my long-time partner Gene Young on the airwaves over the years.
Headlining this group would certainly be former Reeths Puffer star hoopster Matt Timme. How exciting it must be for Matt to see his son Drew become one of the best college performers in America while starring for one of the elite basketball institutions on this planet at Gonzaga.
Although many of the Bulldogs faithful were disappointed to see Gonzaga exit to Arkansas in the Sweet 16, it surely was not the fault of Drew. ‘All’ Drew did in his 3 games during the NCAA tourney was average 27 points per game, the most points scored in the first 3 games in the NCAA tournament.
I well remember the exploits of ‘papa’ Matt when he starred on the courts in the old Reeths Puffer gymnasium, first for legendary head coach Dan Wright, and following Wright’s retirement in 1990, playing for Andy Manning for his senior year. Matt put up monster numbers for the ‘Run & Gun’ Rockets during the 1990-91 season, averaging more than 25 points per game while ripping off nearly 18 rebounds every outing.
There was one game during his senior season of 1991 when I invited a very young assistant coach to be my halftime guess up in the Crow’s Nest located high above the old RP court.
That assistant was Tom Izzo. While we were waiting for the commercial break to finish, I asked the young coach who he was interested in recruiting. Tom informed me that: “Jud (Heathcote) wanted me to take a look at Matt Timme.” NCAA rules at that time, and probably still enforced, were that a coach couldn’t talk about a possible recruit while on the air.
I’m sure Tom laments the fact that Jud didn’t woo the now elder Timme to East Lansing as who knows what the future might have been for the Timme household – AND MSU!
Unfortunately for the Spartan faithful, Matt took his talents to Dallas, Texas to play for Southern Methodist. Izzo made a big pitch in trying to lure Matt’s son Drew to East Lansing following his high school career at JJ Pearce High school in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, but he lost out to Mark Few and Gonzaga.
The Zags were eliminated from the tourney by a red-hot Arkansas squad where their star player also has ties to the Muskegon area. The Razorbacks best player on the floor in their upset win over Timme’s squad was J.D. Notae. The Arkansas star is now in his second season with the Razorbacks after playing his first two years at Jacksonville University.
And who was Notae’s head coach at Jacksonville? None other than former Whitehall grad Tony Jasick who was the head man for the Dolphins during Notae’s Freshman and sophomore years of college from 2017-19.
And just like Matt Timme, after being let go as the Dolphins head coach following the 2020-21 season, Jasick bolted for the Longhorn State where he serves as the assistant coach at Stephen F Austin. Matt Timme certainly has fond memories of SFA as he married Megan, a former tennis star for the Lumberjacks.
In the not too distant future perhaps we will see yet another player excel at the highest of levels in college basketball who had a parent star on the local hardwoods. Former Newaygo and Muskegon Community cager Jackie Thomas is the mother of Tyler Nickel, a recent signee with one of America’s blueblood basketball powers, the Tarheels of North Carolina.
In a state noted for such basketball legends as Allan Iverson and Moses Malone, Jackie’s 6’8 son Tyler will leave for North Carolina next Fall as the leading scorer in Virginia history, tallying a whopping 2909 points during his stellar high school career.
Although he saw limited duty during his college career, yet another offspring of a former local product also suited up during the current NCAA tourney. Brock Jancek was on the roster for Tennessee, who were eliminated in the second round of the tourney by Michigan, before incurring a season ending wrist injury in February.
Brock’s father John played for Mike Henry’s Orchard View Cardinals in the middle 1980’s before becoming an outstanding football coach. John was an assistant for Georgia’s NCAA champs this past fall but has since rejoined Brian Kelly, former Notre Dame coach as Kelly’s assistant at LSU.