U. Dayton BasketballRecon: Alabama

There’s are plenty of avenues we could take in preparation for Tuesday AFTERNOON’S game against Alabama. We could discuss Dayton’s recent domination of SEC teams, as the Flyers are 5-2 against the Lord’s League over the past five seasons. Building on Ryan Mikesell’s eye-opening performance this past weekend, we could delve into a discourse focusing on tempering expectations when it comes to Flyer freshmen. The fact that Archie Miller, a handsome millionaire, refuses to tailor his suits? That could be...

There’s are plenty of avenues we could take in preparation for Tuesday AFTERNOON’S game against Alabama. We could discuss Dayton’s recent domination of SEC teams, as the Flyers are 5-2 against the Lord’s League over the past five seasons. Building on Ryan Mikesell’s eye-opening performance this past weekend, we could delve into a discourse focusing on tempering expectations when it comes to Flyer freshmen. The fact that Archie Miller, a handsome millionaire, refuses to tailor his suits? That could be a possible conversation starter as well.

While these topics may be adequate starting points for this recon, a recent announcement has rendered those matters as inconsequential garbage. 



There is a fairly well-documented instance in which the Germans and Brits, combatants during World War I, laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas.

When World War I erupted in 1914, soldiers on both sides thought they would be home to celebrate Christmas. But the men on the fronts didn’t get home for Christmas, and many not at all, as the war dragged on four more years, killing more than 8.5 million men. The “war to end all wars” took a horrific human toll and transformed Europe.

However, on Christmas Eve of that first year of battle one of the most unusual events in military history took place on the western front. The weather abruptly became cold, freezing the water and slush of the trenches in which the men were bunkered.

On the German side, soldiers began lighting candles. British sentries reported to commanding officers that there appeared to be small lights raised on poles or bayonets. Although these lanterns clearly illuminated the German troops, making them vulnerable to being shot, the British held their fire. Even more amazing, British officers saw, through binoculars, that some enemy troops were holding Christmas trees over their heads with lighted candles in their branches. The message was clear: The Germans, who celebrated Christmas on the eve of December 25th, were extending holiday greetings to the enemy.

Within moments, the British began to hear a few German soldiers singing a Christmas carol. It was soon picked up along the German line as soldiers joined in harmonizing. The words were these: “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” British troops immediately recognized the melody as “Silent Night, Holy Night” and began singing in English.

Christmas Truce 1914, as seen by the Illustrated London News.

The singing quickly neutralized hostilities and, one by one, British and German soldiers began laying down their weapons to venture into no-man’s land separating the two sides. So many soldiers on both sides ventured out that superior officers were prevented from objecting. An undeclared truce erupted and peace broke out.

Frank Richards, an eyewitness, wrote in his diary, “We stuck up a board with ‘Merry Christmas’ on it. The enemy stuck up a similar one. Two of our men threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads as two of the Germans did the same, our two going to meet them. They shook hands and then we all got out of the trench and so did the Germans.” Richards explained that some German soldiers spoke perfect English with one saying how fed up he was with the war and how he would be glad when it was over. His British counterpart agreed.

That night, enemy soldiers sat around a campfire. They exchanged small gifts—chocolate bars, buttons, badges, and small tins of processed beef. Men, who only hours earlier had been shooting to kill, were now sharing Christmas festivities and showing each other family snapshots.

The truce ended just as it had begun, by mutual agreement. Captain C. I. Stockwell, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, recalled how, after a truly “Silent Night,” he fired three shots into the air at 8:30 a.m. on December 26 and then stepped up onto the trench bank. A German officer, who had exchanged gifts with Captain Stockwell the previous night, also appeared on a trench bank. They bowed, saluted, and climbed back into their trenches. A few moments afterwards, Captain Stockwell heard the German officer fire two shots into the air, and the war was on again.Victor Parachin

What is now referred to as the “Christmas Truce” is proof that even in the darkest of times, man’s humanity can pierce through even the most nebulous clouds.

Enter Red Panda.

A diminutive Asian woman flipping bowls onto her head while perched upon a seven-foot unicycle just may be the answer to world peace. After briefly retiring, the Red Panda  — like Michael Jordan or George Foreman  before her — has returned to the game when it needed her the most. Unleashed on the world, the Panda could cause discernible societal change.

How could a member of ISIS, of Boko Haram or Hezbollah commit atrocities after seeing Ms. Panda (aka Rong Niu) perform her ceramic miracles? How could a child gaze upon bowl after bowl landing in unison upon the Panda’s head without knowing that anything is attainable, the possibilities limitless? Ask anyone who has seen Red Panda’s routine in person (some of the subtitles are lost on television) —  their lives are positively changed forever. Colors are brighter, pleasant smells more defined, women’s shirts are sheerer, good vibes are aplenty.

Now, I am not saying recent terrorist attacks could have been thwarted if there were an army of Red Pandas besieged across all corners of the world. I’m just saying the question has to be asked.

For those of you lucky enough to witness the Panda perform tomorrow, prepare yourself for an awakening, an emotional and mental walkabout.


The big news coming out of Tuscaloosa this spring, besides literally everything related to football, was former Flyer Anthony Grant’s merciful shit-canning. Grant led the Tide to just one NCAA appearance in his six years at the helm, and now sits on the Oklahoma City Thunder bench holding Billy Donovan’s used gum.

For a time, it seemed like Gregg Marshall was on his way to Alabama (who reportedly offered him in the neighborhood of four million dollars per year), but it turned out to be just a brief flirtation, the type your father likely enjoys with his Asian pharmacist when he picks up his dick pills. With Marshall out of the picture, the Crimson Tide turned its sights on a former NBA coach Avery Johnson.

Johnson takes over a program that reached the NIT last season, yet is a complete work in progress. Although the cupboard is not completely bare, it is depleted enough to warrant a 13th place position in the SEC’s Preseason Media poll. Johnson has a tough road ahead of him, but the chance to impose his shrill, cartoonish voice on the college basketball world.

[su_testimonial name=”Avery Johnson, Bama Head Coach” photo=”http://www.blackburnreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/averyJ.jpg”]”We’re young and inexperienced. We’re not very big, but my guys work hard, and we’ve got an uphill climb. There are a lot of great wonderful possibilities about this year with our team. We have some nice pieces, but we’re going to have to play really terrific team basketball on both ends of the floor.”[/su_testimonial]

The phrase you continually hear when reading about this year’s Bama team is “young and inexperienced.” Which, besides being a major turn-on, is usually not a recipe for basketballin’ success. The Tide lost two starters and their top three scorers from last season — bringing in five newcomers to help fill the void. This will be a transitional year for the Alabama basketball program, as the Tide lack the depth, experience and talent (and the chest) to compete at a high level this season. Johnson has already made strides on the recruiting trail and it seems that better days are on the horizon. 


[show-team  category=’alabama’ layout=’grid’ style=’img-square,img-shadow,text-center,img-above,4-columns,white-box-theme’ display=’photo,position,location,name’]

Retin Obasohan closed the season last year as one of Bama’s better offensive players and looks to improve upon that this season. The senior guard opened up with 18 points, a team high, against Kennesaw State. Obasohan was born in Belgium and once saw a parakeet smoking a cigarette. Dazon Ingram and Arthur Edwards round out the Tide’s backcourt triumvirate. Ingram is a freshman with a ton of upside, and Edwards is a fifth-year graduate transfer from New Mexico who brings size to the table.

Shannon Hale is the team’s top returning scorer, an All-SEC Freshman team selection two years ago, with the potential to be the Tide’s main offensive option. Jimmie Taylor is Alabama’s enforcer around the rim, the team’s top shot-blocker last year. Taylor’s issue, and I think we all can relate, is acting too handsy and fresh — the junior picked up at least ten fouls in ten games a season ago.

Freshman Donta Hall, a four-star recruit, will be a solid contributor once he puts on some man mass. Justin Coleman is the first backcourt member of the bench, a 5’10” speedy sparkplug that excels on the defensive side of the floor. Riley Norris has Bama Bangs, gives maximum effort and fancies himself a shooter. He is essentially Ryan Mikesell’s southern counterpart. 

Numbers Game

Did someone ask for meaningless team stats? You’re in luck!



A one o’clock weekday game in the Decibel Dungeon? Advantage, Flyers. If there was ever a time to completely blow off classes and get piss-pants before noon on a weekday, this is the time. I’m guessing the Sweater Nation won’t be out in full force, but I’m confident the student section will more than make up for their reduced participation.

I expect a close one throughout, with the Flyers pulling away late, 75-68. Charles Cooke gets untracked, scoring a team-high 18 points. UD holds Bama to under 40% shooting and the crowd goes home happy, into a late afternoon in the Gem CIty.

Tom Blackburn

Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.