In addition to finally placing some faces behind names for the first time, we were reacquainted with some of the regulars, such as college basketball Renaissance man Ray Floriani. For those who don't get to read our content as much, Ray has been gracious enough to enclose photo essays from whatever games he has joined our website at, highlighting his stellar photographic skills. Saturday's festivities at the Barclays Center provided the same, so here is Ray's latest piece without any further ado:
Brooklyn, NY - Taking the subway to Barclays Center, I met two recent UMass alums. Allison and Beth are making the trip to support their Minutemen in the Atlantic Ten semifinals. They talk about the talent of Chaz Williams and how it would be nice to keep playing in his native Brooklyn. Hearing that I have been in this quite some time, they ask me about the John Calipari days as the exits fly by. We must be impartial, but saying goodbye, I wished their team luck.
The fans add to the drama and color of the college game. As a long time official, it is offending to hear them scream criticism on a play the officials got right, but the fans do not know the rule. That is all part of being a fan, short for fanatic.
On Saturday the Saint Louis and VCU fans left happy and in anticipation of the championship game. In the 7 P.M. game, Fordham and St. Joseph’s contested the women’s championship. The crowd for that contest was 4,400. It sounded like 14,400. Such was the passion, enthusiasm and excitement generated by two fan bases witnessing a classic title game. In the end, the “Hawk will never die” followers celebrated a title. Fordham faithful found the sting of being so close yet maintained satisfaction in all this team has done this season.
Exiting Barclays, you can see the difference in emotion of the respective followers. And why not? To the fans, they are very much involved in the game.
UMass alum Allison, whom Ray met on the way to the Barclays Center, was first up the stairs to photograph the snowy scene outside the arena:
Saint Louis coach Jim Crews makes a point after his Billikens defeated Butler:
Ray amid the Fordham women's team high-five line:
Saint Joseph's women's basketball players appropriately celebrate with their fans after winning the Atlantic 10 Championship:
Saint Joseph's University, Atlantic 10 Champions:
A fitting message in the media room:
Here's Ray's story on the women's championship game between Fordham and Saint Joseph's that he wrote for Swish Appeal: