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Boston College

The 2014-2015 Lakers and the Quest for 20

Several years ago, Boston College’s favorite son, Jared “The Junkyard Dog” Dudley (though by opposing ACC crowds, he was often called “Jared Ugly”) came to the Phoenix Suns in package with Jason Richardson. Dudley never should have made it even that far in the NBA.
 
A first round pick by the Charlotte Bobcats, the San Diego, CA native was actually projected to be a second round draft pick. The reigning 2006-2007 ACC Player of the Year had decent size at 6’7″ and 220 lbs, lacked the explosive athleticism that many other small forwards carried at that position. Critics claimed that Dudley’s lack of lateral movement and vertical lift would limit his NBA career, making him a League also-ran rather than the, I daresay dominant swingman he was during his college days.
 
What many didn’t consider was while Dudley was limited in athleticism, he was not at all limited in his work ethic. Through his endless hustle, grit and an unfathomably improved three-point stroke, JYD morphed into a phenomenal NBA role player with the Bobcats and then with the Phoenix Suns. More than that, he morphed himself into a man who has made over $30 million dollars in his NBA career.
 
Still, his athleticism, or lack thereof, has still partially defined his career. Throughout the 2010-2011 NBA season, Dudley’s teammates on the Phoenix Suns derided the baby-faced small forward his almost complete inability to dunk the basketball during in-game play. Even during his college career, Dudley was never known as a powerful player that could take it to the rack, but rather as a guy who relied on a solid mid-range game and contact at the hoop to get his points. Dunking–i.e., jumping off the ground with explosion–was simply not in the cards. Apparently, this was the case during his professional career.
 
And thus came the Quest for 10. Please see this article.
 
In the spring of 2011, Jared Dudley completed his seemingly impossible quest to complete ten dunks during the season. This man–an unlikely NBA player from the outset–defied the critics, his teammates, the very laws of physics and the constraints of his own human vessel to conquer this very personal journey.
 
As we reflect on the Quest for 10, can YOUR….Los Angeles Lakers complete their Quest for 20?… Read more...

Herzlich (hurs’-lik): n. "Warrior"

It’s hard to impress people these days. When Anne Hathaway first hit it big, I used to tell people that she came from my hometown (and not New York, as she would have you believe). Some people responded as such: “What was she like?” Aside from knowing that a buddy’s older brother hit it, I knew nothing. She was a senior when I was a freshman, she barely came to school, and I still trusted my mother to buy me clothes that I wore in public. Yet people displayed at least a modicum of being impressed.
Nowadays, I don’t bring up that “story” unless a conversation happens to drift towards Ms. Hathaway on its own, a rare occurrence. Who cares? She’s a superduperstar, but that just doesn’t pass for “wow” anymore.
In 2008, Mark Herzlich was on the verge of becoming the next great NFL linebacker. As a sophomore, he recorded 6 interceptions (2 of which were brought back to the house) and 110 tackles. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best LB. And oh yeah, he looked like a monster. In 2009, the powers-that-be pegged Herzlich with a first-round grade for the upcoming NFL Draft. 2008 Mark Herzlich was like Luke Kuechly on crack.
Unfortunately, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer; he missed the entire 2009 season. My doctor-mother informed me that the guy would likely die from this condition eventually, and my research confirms that long-term survival for metastatic diseases ranges anywhere from 10-30%.
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ESPN College Gameday came to Chestnut Hill towards the tail end of the 2009 season. They of course ran a story on Herzlich’s road to recovery. After the brief piece, the Warrior himself took a seat next to Lee Corso.
Chris Fowler: So, Mark, we hear you have some news to share with us?
Herzlich: Yes. I spoke with my doctors. They have told me that I’m 99% recovered.
There have been many times when I wished to trade lives with BockerKnocker, Boston College version, but I had never wished to be on campus for any moment more than this one. The crowd. Went. Bonkers. The moment was so important that I DVR-ed it, and it wasn’t even my own home. It was so uplifting that I knew the owner would want to see it later.
Herzlich returned to the field the following season. He started every single game and totaled 4 interceptions on the year, but he posted mostly pedestrian numbers across the board. The 2011 NFL Draft came and went, leaving Boston College’s most popular player without a team. He later signed as a free agent with the New York Giants, and last night was his first NFL start at linebacker. 2 tackles, and another great quote at his post-game presser:
(What was it like to be on defense at crunch time?)
Herzlich: This is what you live for.

He likely meant the proverbial “you.” But Mark, this is what YOU have lived for. Most men would have quit, but Herzlich’s perpetual smile permeated from Keyes to Cheverus and all along Commonwealth Avenue. In a time where almost everything fails to impress us, Mark Herzlich provided a story that will live on forever. His journey reminds us of what really matters. It is the backstory, rather than the stat line, that makes us feel good inside. It makes us remember that 02467 is a community that pushes important initiatives, like this and this. Sure, he was part of the New York Giants defense that gave up an excruciating final drive to lose an important divisional game. But we’re not going to rem… Read more...