In the middle of a tight conference game, John Lucas III steals the ball at the opponent's three point arc. He's in the open court with Tony Allen at his side running uncontested toward the basket to score. The 12,000+ fans in Gallagher Iba Arena are screaming at a deafening level. Even though Lucas has an open layup, he knows it cannot compare to a backboard shaking dunk. So instead of scoring, he pitches it to Allen at the last second who slams it with authority. The crowd lets out a roar so loud that the arena walls, ceiling, and floor begin to vibrate.
But in reality, it wasn't John Lucas III who stole the ball. It was Keiton Page. And it wasn't Tony Allen who threw down the highlight dunk. It was Brian Williams. And there weren't 12,000+ screaming fans cheering for their team. Instead, there were 5,000...and half of them were texting on their cell phones.
This is what OSU basketball has turned into in less than a decade and it's a shame. What was once voted as the Rowdiest Arena in America has become a shell of its former self.
More after the jump.
Right here is generally where the excuses start pouring in. "Ticket prices. Gas prices. The Oklahoma City Thunder. Success of the football program. Some reality TV show was on." And while some of these excuses may work for the alumni, NOT ONE can possibly be used by the students.
That's right. I'm calling out the students. And for good reason.
Alumni may help fill the seats and pay the majority of the bills but it is the student body that breathes life into Gallagher Iba Arena. If OSU basketball is going to return to the heights it once knew, it is up to the students to take it there.
I understand the team hasn't been fantastic the last few years. But to be honest, there were years in the late 90's and early 2000's where they weren't fantastic either. But that never stopped the students from lining up outside of GIA four hours before tip off (weather be damned) just to make sure they had a seat near the floor. And whereas in those days you might get to see one dunk all game long, this year you get #LobStilly.
Markel Brown is a human highlight reel. Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins throw it down with the best of them and make huge plays on defense as well. And then you have a freshman phenom in LeBryan Nash who hits clutch, game winning shots--then turns around and makes game winning blocks on the other end of the floor.
I won't lie to you. I would have killed to have these athletes on the floor ten years ago. The excitement they bring is worth the price of admission alone. So where are the students?
Football season is over. It's a weeknight (not Thirsty Thursday). I know for damn sure you aren't doing homework. I think it's time to give Modern Warfare 3 a rest for a couple hours and actually involve yourself in something that is exciting. And trust me when I tell you, men's basketball games are the most exciting event you can be apart of at OSU. Yes, even more so than football. But it all starts in the student section.
When the alumni and old boosters are sitting on their hands, it is the student section that is taunting the player that looks like Harry Potter at the free throw line. It is the student section that is heckling the horrible refs for blowing an obvious call. It is the student section that is screaming so loud at the opposing bench during a timeout that the players can't hear what their coach is telling them.
Those are the moments that made Gallagher Iba the Rowdiest Arena in America. And it was all because of the students.
I leave you with a video of how it once was and hopefully it is again very soon. Make it happen, students. No more excuses.