Chris Lowery Gettin' Interactive

Once upon a time, SIU men's basketball coach Chris Lowery was apprehensive about Twitter, to say the least.  In an interview before I went mainstream, Lowery said he was unsure about Twitter because he hadn't looked much into it.  He knew its pros and cons, but was unsure whether or not he would add the social networking tool.

Now, it seems as if you can't get the guy off the thing.

Lowery's latest trips into the Twitterverse ask Saluki fans several questions.

  • Saluki fans- what is your most memorable moment at SIU Arena? from web 
  • Saluki fans- who should start in the home opener? from web  
  • Saluki fans- who has been your favorite player through the exhibition games? from web

Some have brought it to the attention of TBDS, asking whether or not a man making $750,000 a year should be asking his followers to do his job for him.  Those people, in my humble opinion, really must be looking for straws to pick in regard to Lowery's coaching ability.

He's frowned upon when he looks like a big meanie.  He loosens up, and he still gets ridiculed.  We've played two exhibition games and people ask these stupid questions.

Now, I know some of them were made in jest.  Still, what does it hurt for the coach to ask his fans who they would like in the starting five on opening night?  It hurts nothing.  Except maybe your fingers if you type too quickly.

Oh, and for what it's worth, here would be my starting five after two preseason games.
  1. Dillard
  2. T. Freeman
  3. Bocot
  4. Fay
  5. Evans
That's right, Nick Evans' play has put him in my projected starting five.  In 44 minutes of play, Evans has scored 19 points, 13 rebounds and is shooting 8 of 16 from the field.  Booker has struggled.  He's hit only two of his eight field goal attempts in and grabbed three rebounds in his 29 minutes of playing time.  I'm sure hurting his head in Saturday's win against Southern Indiana compounded matters, as well.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Evans in the starting line-up on Saturday night.  He certainly has earned it through the exhibition season.

And while I have the forum, I might as well answer Coach Lowery's other questions.

Favorite Player Through Preseason: Kendal Brown-Surles.

It's almost a shame that Brown-Surles didn't come in as hyped as the previous class of Saluki freshmen, because he is equally as talented.  Through two exhibition games, KBS seems to fit the mold of your prototypical Southern guard.  He values the ball on offense (4 assists, 1 turnover in 36 minutes) and pressures it on defense (8 steals).  He's not quick ... he's just flat-out fast.

Everyone knows that I hate making projections after exhibition games, especially when it comes to college kids.  (Some of you will remember the pre-TBDS days when I proclaimed Matt Shaw as MVC POY, Carlton Fay FOY and Randal Falker Sixth Man of the Year after a Saluki game -- albeit tongue in cheek.)  But there is no discounting the effort Brown-Surles puts on the floor.  You can see it in the way he plays.  And the fact of the matter is, effort always translates no matter who you play.

Favorite SIU Arena Moment:  Oh, so many to choose from.

And since there are several, I'll pick my top three-and-a-half.

1.  My 1st Creighton Game.  As a freshman, I attended every home game while school was in session, but my first Dawg Pound experience was the Creighton game.

I remember the weekend very well.  Valentine's Day was around the corner and my roommate had decided that trying to make a girl that was six hours away his girlfriend was more important than the Valley's most intense rivalry.  (Note: maybe that's why I'm still single -- no I don't regret my decisions.)  Anyway, I yelled, screamed and heckled as the Maroon & White defeated the evil Creighton Swallows Bluejays.  And in the end, I ate the chocolate covered strawberries my roommie had made for his potential lover, but had left behind.

Epic win?

2.  My Last Creighton Game (as a fan).  Who can ever forget the ESPN GameDay game?  That whole day was an experience.  Again, that was during the pre-TBDS days.  The 48-44 win for SIU yielded plenty of highlights.  Including the now-infamous picture with Erin Andrews, who complimented my sign, autographed it and then posed for a picture.

We won't ever speak of the day in which the last time I saw SIU and Creighton square off at the SIU Arena.  Worst.  Day.  Ever.  On more than one account.

3.  "The Media Pick-up Game."  It is a day that still stands as one of my favorite moments as a Saluki beat writer.  Southern had an extended film session, pushing back the start of practice.  Rather than leave and return for interviews, media members were allowed to pick up a ball and have a brief shoot around before the players and coaching staff took the floor.

We took advantage of the opportunity, of course.  So, it was Southern Illinoisan beat writer Todd Hefferman, a pair of TV guys whose names I always seem to forget.  Oh, and Phil Oskilanec -- now at ESPN Radio -- was there too. 

We shot freely.  Then we attempted to do the Giant City Chicken game. (Lay up, free throw, 3 pointer in 30 seconds) and i was the only one to not make his three. (FAIL, I know).  But what I will claim is that in our game of 21, yours truly scored a few buckets, none more clutch than his drive to the lane while being fouled by Todd.  Of course, you don't call fouls in 21, but he got me across the arm pretty good.  He won't admit it, but I wouldn't expect him to.  He's followed Saluki basketball long enough to know it's not a foul unless there's blood or until the refs blow the whistle -- whichever comes first.

I hope answering these questions was helpful to Coach Lowery.  Maybe I'll forward him this blog post.  Or maybe someone can do it for me.