AN EMOTIONAL SATURDAY
Oakland will honor trainer Tom Ford; Detroit Mercy will issue Reggie Hall award
It’s going to be a very emotional Saturday at Oakland and Detroit Mercy.
At Oakland, which will play Chicago State at 3 p.m., the Golden Grizzlies will honor long-time athletic trainer Tom Ford, who retired in May and announced he has been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
At Detroit Mercy, which plays Western Michigan at 2 p.m., the Titans will hand out the inaugural Reggie Hall Spirit of Detroit Mercy Award, an homage to the program’s biggest fan, who died following a car accident in late 2015. He would’ve turned 60 this week.
Ford arrived at Oakland in 1988 and worked mainly with the men’s and women’s basketball programs, and since has worked with many of the other programs, including women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s golf.
Tom Ford is an institution at this university, Oakland athletics director Jeff Konya said. “He is always welcome within these walls and we owe him and his family a debt of gratitude,” Konya said.
Former student-athletes can purchase a $30 ticket package — (248) 370-4000 — that includes a game ticket, a Tom Ford Bobblehead and a donation to the Team TFord Strong Foundation. Bobbleheads will be for sale for $20, with proceeds going to Ford’s family.
Ford has kept his spirits up, particularly on Twitter (@TFordATC), despite the disease’s progression. He plans to be in attendance Saturday.
Hall was a regular at Calihan Hall for decades following his days as a student at Detroit Mercy in the late 1970s, where he studied communications and played baseball. He could always be found in his seat, tucked away in an upper corner, his booming voice always recognizable.
Today, a banner hangs near that seat, reading, “Reggie’s Corner.”
The spirit award was created to honor a Titans fan who supports the school’s teams at home and on the road, through thick and thin, just as Hall used to do.
Hall also had a three-decadelong career in local sports media, including as a sports producer at Channel 7 (WXYZ) for 26 years.
“He was a true Titan and he touched everyone that has come into Calihan Hall in the last 30 years,” Detroit Mercy athletics director Robert Vowels said.
Warriors, meet Titans
Without much advance notice, the folks at Detroit Mercy got some special surprise visitors Thursday afternoon.
The defending NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, in town to play the Pistons on Friday night, decided to practice at Calihan Hall.
Almost everybody from the Warriors was present, including Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr, who mingled with members of Detroit Mercy men’s and women’s basketball teams. Steph Curry was the only notable absence, as he’s out with an ankle injury.
Calihan Hall was a logical place to practice, given one of the Warriors assistant coaches, Willie Green, is a Detroit Mercy alum. Green, who attended Cooley in Detroit, played for the Titans in the early 2000s, and still is fourth on the program’s career scoring list.
Green, 36, went on to a 12year NBA career which ended after the 2014-15 season, and joined Kerr’s staff in Golden State last season.
Central of attention
Michigan is the consensus best women’s team in the state this season, given it looks like a down year for Michigan State.
No. 2 just might be Central Michigan (6-1), which took a sixgame winning streak into Thursday night’s game at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The Chippewas are coming off an absolute dismantling of Oakland, 103-85, at the O’Rena on Sunday.
CollegeInsider.com has Central Michigan ninth in its top-25 rankings for mid-major schools.
Coached by legendary Sue Guevara, Central is led by junior guard Presley Hudson — like me, a Wayland native (represent!) — who is averaging 21.7 points and shooting 48.5 percent on 3’s. Most impressively, she’s 29-for-29 on free throws this season.
Four other Central players average double-digits in scoring, including 6-foot junior Reyna Frost, who averages 12.1 points and 12.9 rebounds.
Don’t be surprised if the Chippewas find their way into the NCAA Tournament for just the fourth time, and second since 1984.
This and that
Western Michigan guard Thomas Wilder flirted with the idea of the NBA last offseason, but quickly decided it wasn’t for him. Not now. But soon. He’s looking like a legit NBA player this season, averaging 19.2 points through nine games for the Broncos (5-4). He’s been in double digits all nine games this season, and 12 total dating to last season, the 12thlongest streak in the NCAA.
... There are several powerhouse basketball offenses in the state this season, on the men’s and women’s side. You can add Wayne State women to that mix, having twice scored 100 points this season — the first time since 2002-03 that the Warriors have done that. Wayne State, led by senior guard Shannon Wilson (Bloomfield Hills; 18.4 points), had a challenging game set for Thursday night, at nation’s No. 2 Ashland.
... In Wednesday night’s Oakland-Eastern men’s gameJalen Hayes went to throw up an alley-oop — and the pass went through the hoop. Oakland (5-4) lost the game, 95-89. It gets another crack at Eastern when the teams meet again Dec. 22, that time at the O’Rena.
Player of the week
James Thompson IV, Eastern Michigan, Jr., F: If the Eagles are going to make some noise in the MAC this year, it’s going to start with this guy, a staple in the program who earlier this season eclipsed the 1,000point plateau for his career.
He put on quite a show Wednesday night in a 95-89 home victory over Oakland, with his seventh double-double in eight starts. Thompson finished with 24 points on 11-for-11 shooting, had 12 rebounds and added four blocks. A week earlier in a loss to North Florida, he had 29 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks.
The late Reggie Hall was a popular figure inside the walls at Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall, and now is remembered with “Reggie’s Corner.”