Stock Photo by Daniel Goldmen |CIGAR 1998| Preston Murphy helped bring the Rams basketball team to the ‘Elite Eight’ in 1998
It’s been 20 years since the University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team has made it to the Sweet Sixteen but that drought might be coming to a close in a matter of weeks. Dan Hurley’s Rams seem to be a lock to not only make the big dance but to be in prime position to make a deep tournament run like Jim Harrick did with his 1998 Rhody Rams.
Time for a history lesson.
Twenty years ago Harrick was the coach of the Rams and took them all the way to the schools first and only Elite Eight appearance. And, if not for a late turnover, the Rams would have beat the Stanford Cardinals and would have danced all the way to the Final Four.
Now, you may be thinking, “That was 20 years ago how does that even relate to what Hurley is doing today?”
Well you see, Hurley’s and Harrick’s teams are pretty similar when you look at it.This years two stars E.C Matthews and Jared Terrell, also known as “Batman and Batman,” aren’t the first of their kind here in Kingston.The ’98 Rams also had two senior guards who lit up the box score. Cuttino Mobley who averaged 17 points, four rebounds and 3 assists lead the team while Tyson Wheeler was his partner in crime averaging 14 points, two rebounds and six assists.
Now most great teams have two stars that can score in high volume any given night. No, the similarities between these two teams goes way past the two stars. Both these teams have great depth. For the current Rams team their depth lies in the backcourt while Harrick’s squad had great frontcourt depth.
Lastly, the man in the middle of these two teams. Both Sophomores, both averaged six boards and averaged 8 points. Cyril Langevine and Luther Clay both stand six feet nine inches and are unstoppable down low.
Now, 20 years is a long time especially in the world of basketball. URI basketball has seen a lot since Stanford ripped out the hearts of Ram fans everyone with a two point loss. It’s now 2018 and Dan Hurley and his team are hungry for another deep tourney run into the second weekend. Can URI turn back the clock and finish what Jim Harrick and company started?