Friday, January 4, 2008

WALK ON, RUN OFF

There are walk-ons, and then there are walk-ons.

Kentucky walk-on Dusty Mills got some good ink lately in ESPN The Magazine. The accounting major from Noblesville, Indiana used every ounce of his 5’8” frame to play scrappy defense which impressed the UK coaches who had invited 25 kids to tryout. When Dusty called his dad to tell him he made the team his shocked pop’s response was “Are you sure?”

During a recent Wildcat blowout of Florida International, the Rupp Arena faithful started the “We Want Dusty” chant…a staple of college hoop at its best. Dusty has seen a little time in four games for no points, no rebounds, no steals, no assists and no turnovers.

Meanwhile, down in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels also have a walk-on which prompts the question how does one tryout for, and eventually make, the best team in the country? Easy. It helps to be a 6’4” 210 lbs freshman from nearby Greensboro.
It also helps to be a gifted enough athlete to be the starting tailback on the UNC football squad. Remember Julius Peppers (multiple All-Pro defense end for the Carolina Panthers) and Ronald Curry (wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders) who both went both ways at Carolina?

Little has also played in four basketball games, with four rebounds, five points, two assists and one turnover.

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