Myer a UMD treasure soon to be gone
If you missed the chance to watch the UMD basketball teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference playoffs Wednesday night, too bad. The UMD women have had an outstanding season, winning the north division, while the men made a spirited bid for the northern half men’s title, but came in second, and sent senior forward Brandon Myer into the school’s record books forevermore.
Myer is the slick, smooth forward who can put his 6-foot-7 frame inside to specialize on rebounds and defense, or outside, like a shooting guard, or anywhere in between. He scores normal shots, deceptive shots, quick change-of-direction shots, layups, reverse layups, and all manner of sneaky methods of getting the ball up above the rim.
I’ve been writing about him for four years now, and I hate to see his hometown antics end. No, he’s not from Duluth, but Superior is close enough. A few games back, he had a big night and people looked up his statistics to note that he was getting within range of becoming the second highest career point scorer in UMD history. I suggested a week ago that it would be a long shot, but he could pass Jay Guidinger for No. 1.
With three games to go, it was still a long shot, but the Bulldogs went to work. They beat MSU-Moorhead 99-86 and Myer scored a career-best 45 points; UMD beat Minnesota-Crookston 90-84 in overtime on the road, and Myer scored 44 — wresting the UMD career points lead in the process; the Bulldogs were beaten in their final regular NSIC game 83-76, and Myer scored 40. Three games, 40 or more each game,
which made Myer the league player of the week for the third straight time, and this time he was named Division II national player of the week,
Myer headed into Wednesday’s playoff game with a season average of 23.5 points, a shooting percentage of 54.1, and averaging 9.6 rebounds a game. He now has 656 points this season, and 1,967 career points, prior to Wednesday.
• Fantastic opportunity to say hello to old friends like Henry Boucha, Bill Butters, Brad Maxwell, John Mayasich, and all the other former hockey standouts from Minnesota’s rich history at the “Remember the Day” ceremonies in Saint Paul. Thousands lined the streets or made it to the Saints ballpark to get autographs and just mingle with Jack Carlson, Murray Williamson, and the afternoon was like a Who’s Who of state hockey. Amazing how well Saint Paul rises up to celebrate such things.
• One thing I didn’t anticipate was the number of other books that hit the market just as my “Miracle in Lake Placid” started selling nationwide. And a million major feature stories as well. All of them have something to offer, and some offer misleading differences from my facts. Several of the players, and Al Michaels, all agree that Herb
Brooks’s second best pre-game comment came before the third period of the Finland finale, when the U.S. trailed 2-1, and needed inspiration to score three goals in the third period and win 4-2. His best pregame comment was before the Soviet Union game, when he said: “You were born to be a player, you were meant to be here, this moment is yours.” His second best was actually before the game against Romania, when he was worried about a letdown after such big games as the opening tie with Sweden and the 7-3 clobbering of second-seeded Czechoslovakia, when he came into the dressing room and told the players what a great opportunity they had earned to that point. Then, as he walked toward the door, he said: “Don’t blow it. If you do, you’ll take it to your graves.” As he started to go out of the room, he turned back and
added: “…to your (bleeping) graves.” Now, the players memories are what they are, but I have a yellowed copy of the Minneapolis Tribune from Tuesday, February 19, 1980, in my game story on the 7-2 U.S. victory over Romania in which I quote Brooks from my exclusive interview with him saying that he made that comment before that game — five days before the finale against Finland. There are more. We’ll discuss them as time passes.
• The UMD men blew a game at Western Michigan by giving up a three-goal burst in the third period to lose, but the Bulldogs came back to win the rematch 2-1 and hold second place in the NCHC to North Dakota — which tied and lost at against St. Cloud State. That leaves the Bulldogs closer in second, but they have to play at Colorado College this weekend, then come home to face the onrushing St. Cloud State Huskies who recently swept the Bulldogs in St. Cloud. Great finishing schedule.