There are two consistent running gags with Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon's dealings with beat writers.
One is his insistence he doesn't read anything written about his team --- a plenty believable assertion, though there's no question someone in the basketball office keeps an eye on what happens in the media.
The other is his superstition of having the same person ask the first question during each press conference. And that person would be me.
With those two things in mind, as well as my current short-term gig with USA Today, Turgeon opened his press conference Tuesday in amusing fashion.
"I was reading the newspaper, which I never do, and I was reading USA Today so I don’t want you guys think I was reading [local stuff]," Turgeon said. "I was reading about Gonzaga and I look and your name’s on it. You’ve gone big-time on me all the sudden. So are you too important to ask the first question anymore."
"Not at all," I said wryly. "I am very humbly willing to continue in that [role]."
Then came an unexpected twist. Or maybe it should have been expected. After all, it's the only sort of comments that seem to be sent my way these days.
"I can’t believe you don’t have us in your bracketology, so you might not be able to ask the first question," Turgeon added.
"You know, for the first time, you’ve read something that I’ve done," I said. "I mean, I cannot help but to be touched."
"I was reading about the other conferences," Turgeon insisted.
Well, so much for that first.
--- Patrick Stevens