Christian Laettner Joins Jacksonville Giants TV Host Richard Miller
BY: SARAH GOODYEAR
Photos: B. Miller
The next home game is January 27th at the University of North Florida. College and high school students will be admitted to the game FREE. All others will be admitted for $5.00. Come out and support Jacksonville's ABA team, enjoy the excitement of Mr. Biggs, the Mascot, as well as the talent of the dance teams - The Jewels and the Gems.
|RICHARD MILLER (Left) AND CHRISTIAN LAETTNER|
With cold temperatures surrounding the Jacksonville area and local football talent Tim Tebow quarterbacking for the Denver Broncos in a big playoff game, you would think that Giants fans would be reluctant to leave their couches to come to the Arena for Saturday's game. Not so! Loyal Giants fans were eager to see the Giants face the Eastpoint Jaguars last night for the second time this season. The final score was 112-97, but that score certainly does not tell the story. Former NBA Star, Duke standout, and Olympic Gold Medalist Christian Laettner, who is now a player for the Giants, decided to join play by play commentator Richard Miller on the simulcast of CW17 television and 1010XL radio.
Both Miller and Laettner initially commented on the slow start of the Giants. Laettner noted that the Jaguars should be credited with defending the Giants and for holding the Giants to a low score in the first half. At halftime, the score was only 45-41, with the Giants leading by very little. Both were sure that Head Coach Kevin Waters would change the momentum in the second half. Laettner commented that Jermaine Bell needed to "get mad," so that the spark and drive to win would be contagious.
In the third quarter with five minutes left, Jermaine Bell shocked the crowd with a total 360 degree lay up shot for the ABA history books. When Miller inquired as to whether Laettner had ever made such a shot, Laettner responded: "Not in my wildest of dreams, well maybe on my nerf hoop with my son." Miller agreed he had done the same.
At the end of the fourth quarter, Dwayne Jackson (known as "Long Stepper") dunked the ball, providing even more momentum to gain more of a lead. When Miller commented that Giants player Dwayne Jackson led the ABA in scoring last season, Laettner replied: "I need to start throwing him the ball more often!"
|The Jewels Dance Team|
With ten minutes left, the Giants led with a score of 87-74. With nine minutes left, Antonio Lawrence made a 3-pointer, and Sherod "Hot Rod" Harris slid out of bounds in an attempt to make a save. Laettner commented that Head Coach Kevin Waters had done his job at halftime by lighting a fire under the feet of the Giants. With a Giant lead of 16 points, Miller noted "that fire is raging." With five minutes left and a nice rotation on the shot, Giants player Anthony Lumpkin made an 18 foot 3-pointer to increase the lead to 99-86. Renaldo Norman, with a fancy dunk, increased the score to 105-87 and then hit another 3-pointer with 2 minutes left. Miller noted that Josh Norman (Naldo's brother) will probably be playing in the NFL very soon. With less than a minute left, and a score of 112-93, the Jaguars took a timeout, then made a foul shot and used the 3-D rule to score 3 points. The final score was 112-97 with the Giants winning another home game to make it 8 wins and 1 loss. The team is now ranked 7th in the nation and may move up in the rankings this week.
Laettner reminded Miller that March Madness is coming up and since it is Laettner's favorite time of the year, he plans to talk to Miller on Sports every week during March Madness. Miller can be heard at drive time on AM1600 WZNZ weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. As Mayor Alvin Brown expressed when he attended his first Giants game a few weeks ago, Jacksonville is ready for basketball in a Giant way.
Noteworthy commentary by Christian Laettner:
You cannot teach the intangibles that only come with size and length (referring to Giants player Jermaine Bell).
I love when you get buckets with no dribbles.
I never related to the refs good enough when I was playing. Out of the 30 refs, maybe 2 or 3 of them. And, I regret it. All it took really was a little social stability on my part. Such a mistake on my part. You live and learn, but you never get to go back and make it up to them. But, hopefully, when I am coaching soon or when I am older, I will be able to make it up to them.
We have a game here. The Giants are only up by 14 points, And in the ABA, all it takes is a few points and turnovers and in a 3-D situation like here, the other team can get back in the game really quickly.
It is hard to do commentary and say Eastpoint Jaguars when we are the Jacksonville Jaguars!
March Madness is my favorite time of the year.
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As part of the Christian Laettner Basketball Academy, Christian Laettner loves to train athletes (male and female, ages 10-30) and coaches who want to improve upon their skills.
If you want to contact me, go to www.laettnerbball.com and leave me a message.
Be sure to watch the Jacksonville Giants most famous buzzer-beater shot involving Christian Laettner. This occurred in game one of the second season, and with three seconds left in the game, the Giants were down by two points.