It was the “Gangnam Style,” of early 2012. An unknown team from an area not known by many around the country was about to dance into the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
I sat in all Louisiana Tech Bulldogs gear anxiously waiting for the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
After the ’Dogs were demolished by the New Mexico State University Aggies, I just put it as them being the lovable Dunking ’Dogs that you just love to cheer for and that’s it.
Heading into the 2012-13 season, my expectations were not high, and even after winning several big games, I still viewed them as just lovable and fun to cheer for.
Then came former sports reporter John Tabor, a man with a lot of knowledge about sports, especially Bulldog athletics.
He explained to me why he thinks the way the ’Dogs are playing is not a surprise at all. As a matter of fact, he said it should have been expected.
Sophomore guard Raheem Appleby, 2011-12 WAC Freshman of the Year, is steadily improving each game.
Sophomore guard Kenneth “Speedy” Smith is defensively one of the best guards in the conference and the secret weapon of the team.
Sophomore forward Michale Kyser brings the aggressiveness the ’Dogs did not have last season and is the only player worthy as being dominate in the paint.
Junior guard Kenyon McNeail, who racked up 34 points in a close 73-71 victory against the University of Texas-San Antonio last Saturday, comes off the bench every single game to consistently play offensive basketball averaging 8.3 points per game.
McNeail became only the second player in the NCAA to score so many points coming off the bench this season.
Mix this formula with the senior leadership of redshirt senior guard Brandon Gibson, and the ’Dogs might have a NCAA Tournament team.
This is all due to the fact that head coach Mike White and his staff continued to recruit well and create the right game plans every single week.
Tabor sold me on this team once and for all, but there is one thing we both agreed upon that the ’Dogs need to improve on on both sides of the ball.
Tech does not play well in the paint. The eyeball test shows we are not aggressive enough defensively or offensively.
We have the big men to attack the boards, but they do not play to their size. It sometimes looks like we are scared.
The other part, and probably the most important part is Tabor and I challenge the fans to start attending more games. Smith Spectrum, the Utah State Aggies’ home court, is one of the hardest arenas to play in on the western side of the United States of America.
We feel like we can fill up the Thomas Assembly Center to cheer on the beloved Dunking ’Dogs.
Add those elements to our game, and we have ourselves a chance to play in the biggest tournament in the NCAA.
However, we must first compete well in the competitive WAC portion of the season as we still remain undefeated and finish off with a conference tournament win.
Let us hope they accept the invitation though.
Derek J. Amaya is a junior journalism and marketing major from Metairie. Email comments to dja...@latech.edu.