Nine-time NBA all-star Paul Pierce, who has played for the Boston Celtics the past 13 seasons, is pleased that Boston University has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.
But root for the Terriers against his alma mater, Kansas University, on Friday in Tulsa, Okla.?
Not going to happen.
“I’m in a tough predicament,” Pierce, the Celtics’ captain told NESN.com. “Well, no. It’s not that tough a predicament. Everybody knows I’m a Kansas guy. BU’s season’s going to be over next week. I’m sorry, guys (Terriers). I still love you.”
Pierce is convinced the (32-2) Jayhawks will eliminate the (21-13) champions of the America East Conference.
“I’ll guarantee we won’t lose the first game,” Pierce said, well aware no No. 1 seed has ever lost to a 16.
Boston karma?: Boston University junior guard Matt Griffin watched another school that begins with the letter ‘B’ knock off KU in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Griffin’s brother, John, played for the No. 14-seed Bucknell team that downed No. 3 KU, 64-63, in Oklahoma City.
“It’s something I’ve been watching since I was little,” Griffin, a 5-10, 180-pound junior from Narberth, Pa., told the Boston Globe, referring to the NCAA Tournament. “I would run home from school just to see the first round. My brother played in it for two years, and I was fortunate enough to watch him.
“Finally to get a chance to sit down and actually watch your own school get its name called, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Griffin isn’t ruling out a No. 16 seed finally beating a top seed.
“It’s got to happen eventually, so you never know,” Griffin told the Globe.
No fear: America East player of the year John Holland, a 6-5 senior from Bronx, N.Y., said the Terriers will not be in awe of KU.
“We played Kentucky (91-57 loss in Lexington). We played Villanova (82-66 loss in Philadelphia), so I don’t think it has anything to do with (us) being intimidated, it’s just a matter of executing and hopefully you end up with the opportunity to do something special,’’ Holland told the Boston Globe.
Holland averages 19.2 points a game off 38.7 percent shooting. He’s made 73 of 222 threes for 32.9 percent and has made 85.9 percent of his free throws.
Charity work: Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe points out that in BU’s last four games (ending in margins of two, nine, six and two points), BU has attempted 116 foul shots to their opponents’ 44. BU made 87 of those attempts to foes’ 30.
“Even Duke doesn’t dream of such an advantage,” Ryan wrote.
Near tragedy involving coach: Boston University coach Patrick Chambers almost died nine years ago.
Then a 31-year-old salesman, Chambers was in a Philadelphia hotel lobby when he bumped into a female former high school classmate, along with her girlfriend and the girlfriend’s husband, who was seated at the lobby bar.
Chambers chatted with the two women, then found himself grabbing his neck after being attacked from behind.
“The friend’s husband was out of his mind drunk, on drugs, too, I think,” Chambers told BU Today. “He thought I was hitting on his wife. He stabbed me twice with a broken vodka glass. I was in the hospital for four or five days. I was a centimeter away from death. It took me a long time to recover mentally.”
Chambers this past preseason showed his players a bag of bloody clothes and a scar that runs several inches down his neck.
“You want to know why I have so much energy, why I act the way I act, why I embrace life, why I love this job, this is why,” he told BU Today, indicating every day he’s happy to be alive. “Maybe the guys didn’t know why I was doing it. I was just trying to reveal who I was, to open up. If they don’t know who you are, they won’t be able to trust you.”
Griffin said he was shocked when his coach pulled out his old, bloody clothes from the day he was attacked.
“It was a very emotional thing for him to talk about, a tough time in his life. I appreciate that he opened up to us,” Griffin told BU Today. “It really showed what he’s been through, and that really meant a lot to us. He was trying to tell us to not take for granted every day that we put on this Boston University uniform, to really cherish every day. You never know what’s going to happen in your life.”