MICHIGAN CITY | What you're about to read almost always happens here, in this place alone.
It won't happen before tipoff of an NBA game. Won't happen before kickoff of an NFL game. Just in high school games where reality is more grounded.
After warm ups of Friday night's boys basketball game between Times No. 3 Bishop Noll and Marquette, Blazers sophomore Tyshaun Smallwood walked to midcourt.
People stood ready to put their hands over their hearts. But Smallwood wasn't singing no anthem.
He had something just as important to say.
“I want to apologize for what I did,” Smallwood said, nervously clutching the microphone like a raft on a stormy sea.
Last week in a junior varsity game Smallwood got upset, took off his jersey and “disrespected the program,” varsity coach Donovan Garletts said.
Smallwood had only played “four or five minutes” of varsity this year. He played a lot more on Friday night in his home gym. His error in judgment last week, which wouldn't even make the Top 50 of an NBA police blotter list, drove the 6-foot-4, power forward with a soft lefty touch.
He scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Marquette's 67-61 overtime win over Noll. He scored the game-tying bucket with 16 seconds left to force OT. He scored the first basket in the extra frame to get the party started.
“I was very nervous at first,” Smallwood said. “We have great support here. Our fans are here for us every night. What I did was disrespectful to them. I had to apologize.”
From the mouth of babes, hey.
It was Garletts' first win over Noll in his four years of rebuilding Marquette from an also ran to, after this win, a state power. The play of No. 32 in white shocked Warriors coach Josh Belloumini.
“We didn't expect that, a little surprised,” Belloumini said of Smallwood's play. “But whenever you get a big victory someone unexpected usually steps up. We've had that in our big wins. They had that tonight.”
Garletts was pumped. The excitable coach did a little Carl Traicoff early in the first quarter. It didn't take him long. His jacket came off, put behind the bench, and he started coaching.
Down 15 to Noll in the third quarter, he kept coaching.
“In my four years here this was my biggest win,' Garletts said. “The way (Smallwood) played was surprise to me, too.”
You have to tip your cap to this young man. You have to raise a glass, of juice, to the school for having such a high standard. Raise it up fellows. If you build it they will come.
“I was embarrassed,” Smallwood said. “I had to make it up to them.'
Not any more young man. Not any more.