It’s not an exaggeration that the Colby College men’s basketball team could win a national title and still not get this much attention.
The Mules produced a roughly two-minute video of their choreographed bench celebrations this season, and posted it to the “ColbyMensBasketball” YouTube account on Sunday. Since then, the video has been picked up by numerous media outlets, including ESPN, Fox Sports, Deadspin, Bleacher Report, and Barstool Sports. The video on the YouTube site, which was produced by assistant coach Greg Rosnick and starting point guard Luke Westman, had been viewed more than 108,000 times by early Tuesday evening.
The official ESPN SportsCenter Twitter account linked the video late Monday night, and it was retweeted nearly 10,000 times in the next 12 hours. On its page linking the video, the Fox Sports website had the headline, “Colby College men’s hoop team leads the nation in awesome.”
Sophomore John Gallego is a prominent part of the routines, and Strahorn said he and Gallego will be interviewed on NBC Sports Network on Wednesday. Strahorn said he talked to Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, and said he heard from Colby sports information director Bill Sodoma that MLB Network planned to show part of the video Tuesday night. WABI-TV also featured the celebrations on its 6 p.m. newscast Tuesday.
“It’s been sort of crazy to see the exposure that it’s gotten,” Strahorn said. “I think for the guys it’s been awesome.”
Strahorn said things started after a game Nov. 19 against the University of Maine at Farmington. Colby led 35-22 at halftime, but UMF made a run to get within three points. The Mules then ended the game on a 10-2 run to close out a 69-58 win.
While watching the game film, Strahorn noticed that UMF’s bench players were excited during the Beavers’ run, but when Colby made its run, the Mules bench was subdued. Strahorn spoke briefly in practice the next day about the team needing to pull together and show support from the bench.
“The guys just kind of took it and ran with it,” Strahorn said. “It was neat to see it evolve.”
The video features more than a dozen different in-game celebrations, including “Field Goal Unit,” where Jonathan Kalin snaps an imaginary football to Gallego as the holder, and Michael Loginoff steps in and “kicks” the ball, followed by the three players and a fan signaling that the “field goal” is good.
At the very end of the video, there’s a clip of Strahorn frantically shuffling out of the coaches box to ask for a timeout. The clip is edited so that it looks like Strahorn is dancing back and forth.
“They love that,” Strahorn said with a laugh. “There’s some priceless footage if you watch all the way to the end.”
According to Strahorn, Westman’s family had a flip camera to record the games. When they ended up with two extra, one of the cameras was focused on the bench to record the routines.
This being the Internet, some of the comments online have been insulting, mocking, or both. But Strahorn thinks the video is a reflection of the team’s togetherness.
“Hopefully the video speaks to the positive energy that really surrounded this group,” Strahorn said. “It was fun to come to practice every day.”
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It seems like everything the next few days has a “weather permitting” attached to it. That includes the UMaine-Farmington baseball team’s spring trip to Florida. The Beavers are scheduled to land in Orlando around 5 p.m., Thursday.
UMF is actually scheduled for a home doubleheader on March 29, which is probably a tad optimistic. The Beavers had a Florida trip in 2012, but did not make one last season. This year, they’re scheduled for six games Friday through Monday.
“It was an agreement that we made because of our vacation schedule, that we were going to try to alternate every other year,” UMF coach Chris Bessey said. “Also, we have to do quite a bit of fundraising. It usually takes some times to raise some money.”
The first two games of UMF’s Florida trip are actually North Atlantic Conference games against Colby-Sawyer. Bessey said that was because of concerns about having too many games to make up before the end of the season.
The Beavers finished 9-23 last season, which was UMF’s most wins since 2007. They tied for fifth out of seven teams in the preseason conference poll. The top four teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the NAC tournament.
“Our two biggest classes are freshmen and sophomores,” Bessey said. “We’ve got some potential. We’re starting to build our roster up to where it needs to be. I think we’re getting closer. We’re getting more competitive each year.”
UMF’s depth took a hit with the loss of catcher Matt Woodbury, who would have been a junior this season. Bessey said Woodbury, who played in every game last year and hit .290 while leading UMF in seven offensive categories, opted to focus on playing hockey.
“Fortunately, that was one of the positions we recruited pretty successfully,” Bessey said.
The Beavers have two freshman catchers in Jordan Croteau, a Mr. Baseball finalist last season at Oxford Hills, and Ethan Gouin of Sanford.
After UMF scored 3.7 runs per game last season, Bessey said the offense needs to improve to have a chance at a NAC playoff spot.
“Pitching-wise, we feel like we’ve got six pretty good starters who are going to keep us in ballgames,” Bessey said. “It’s a matter of scoring enough runs.”