By Anthony Sain ( @SainAsylum )
I was five years old the year that the 1984-85 Tigers lost in the Final Four to Villanova. I don’t recall much from the actual team but I do remember the impact that it had on my home. I was born the youngest of five siblings, nine years younger than my closest brother in age. My father was a pastor of a small church in Whiteville, TN and I don’t know what he was getting paid, if anything, but I know that he wasn’t flying in on a private jet every Sunday. As a matter of fact he worked at least one other full time job while he loaded up the car with my siblings and I, for an hour or so long commute into Hardeman County. My dad was a hard-working man who valued making his own money the right way and providing for his family. I can’t remember my dad ever being what I would call happy or emotional about much, but he had his escapes from the world that he used to overcome the stresses that come with being a man, a father and husband struggling to provide for his family, and a pastor. Tiger Basketball was clearly number one. My dad didn’t smoke or drink, or hang out in bars, but Tiger Basketball was something that we knew for a fact was something that brought joy to our father and ultimately to our home. It was the Tigers. It was Keith Lee, Andre Turner, William Turner, Baskerville Holmes, and Vincent Askew. It was my entire family surrounded around the only 19 inch black and white television that we had in the house, screaming and celebrating as much as a family living in what I know now as poverty in South Memphis could. My dad couldn’t afford tickets to a Tiger game for himself let alone the entire family so our courtside seats were there in our living room. Except for me. The five year old who had to be in bed every night by 8pm who was crying in bed, because I couldn’t see what all of the fuss was about. I heard much more than I could see but I saw the reaction that it stirred in my family and I wanted a piece of it. I wanted to be able to say that the Tigers were my team.
By Anthony Sain ( @SainAsylum )
After an 80-75 loss at the hands of Temple in their quarterfinal round matchup of the American Athletic Conference, the Tigers ended their season with 18 wins and 14 losses. A disappointment to say the least, the Tigers missed the NCAA tournament for the second time under Coach Josh Pastner, but also will not play in any post season tournament for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. The Tigers were not invited to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and don’t appear to be willing to accept an invite to any of the lesser postseason tournaments. A season marred by poor point guard play, turnovers, suspensions and transfers; this season has been one that many fans have wanted to come to an end. Being that many have filtered the season through the initial deflating exhibition loss to in-town Christian Brothers, Tigers fans interest continued to fade more and more with each loss. Many are relieved that this year’s edition of the Tigers has concluded but in my opinion, “we’ll get ‘em next year” may not be as realistic as many may believe.