I'm sure you've seen or heard by now that former Bearcats Terry Nelson and Corie Blount showed up at UC's open practice at Fifth Third Arena on March 19.
It doesn't quite seem 20 years since both were on the floor in their final UC game against North Carolina in the Elite Eight in 1993. They got out to a 15-point lead and eventually lost in overtime to the Tarheels who went on to win the national championship behind the likes of Eric Montross and George Lynch.
I spoke with Corie Blount, who has had his mistakes, but always was cooperative with the media (as was the affable Mr. Nelson). One of the highlights of my career was being at the Metrodome in 1992 when UC made the Final Four and took on Michigan. At UC's pregame practice I was able to interview the late George Smith who first took the Bearcats to a Final Four, and much of the CBS crew that did the game including Lesley Visser, Pat O'Brian and James Brown.
I also recall having to pick up Cris Collinsworth's wife, Holly, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. (I produced No. 80s Sportstalk show back then, part of the job.)
Part of what I talked about with Corie was the fame of the "Fab Five". It's a great ESPN 30 for 30 special if you haven't seen it. On the other hand, had the Bearcats advanced, I'm not so sure you wouldn't have an equally compelling show from the on and off the court experiences of Nelson, Blount, Nick Van Exel, Anthony Buford, AD Jackson, Tarrance Gibson, Erik Martin, Jeff Scott, etc. To this day, I have in my possession the press release from then SID Tom Hathaway announcing the Bearcat recruits for the '91-'92 season.
Included in that group were LaZelle Durden, John Jacobs and Shane Komives. Komives (the son of former NBA player Howie Komives) transferred, and Durden and Jacobs didn't play that first year.
If you look at what that group accomplished in basketball, it's very impressive and rates right up there with any previous UC class. Off the court, we all know now there's been some tragedy. Like I said, perfect ESPN story.
Corie Blount has faced the music and I find him to be a stand-up guy. I hope he can contribute to people's lives the rest of his.
Here's the video: