"It has been a wonderful experience," says Joan. "I'm not saying we'd do it again. But watching Adonal grow up has been very gratifying. People ask us all the time if we think there might be another Adonal out there. I think there are a million of him. They may not play basketball, but they have something to offer if someone wants to take the time and energy to unlock their potential."
Now let's cut to the Carrier Dome, a slightly bigger stage, a few hours after acting class. Even in warmups you can tell that Colgate has no chance against Syracuse. Bruen has assembled a nice little team around Foyle and Tucker Neale—the senior shooting guard who was named the Patriot League Player of the Year last season after averaging 26.6 points a game—but the accent is on little. The 12th-ranked Orangemen, as usual, are big.
Before a crowd of 22,101—nearly four times the population of Hamilton—Syracuse jumps out to a 21-4 lead, and there's nothing for the Colgate fans to do except shout "Hard luck!" It doesn't help that the referees call fouls on Foyle's first two stuffs of Syracuse forward John Wallace, both apparently clean. After the second one, the 6'8" Wallace tells Foyle, "Nice try, boy." Foyle is hardly intimidated. He goes on to block five more Syracuse shots, two by Wallace. He also scores 15 points and pulls down 15 rebounds, but the single most impressive thing he does is to race the length of the floor to try to block a breakaway layup with just a few minutes left in the game and Colgate down by 35.
The final score is Syracuse 88, Colgate 53, but Bruen, ex-bartender that he is, finds a nice, shiny silver lining. "If Adonal had any doubters before tonight," he says, "they're long gone. He took on the whole Syracuse front line single-handed." Actually he was single-handed for a moment there. "I tried to go up for one rebound," says Foyle, "and a Syracuse guy was holding on to my wrist behind my back."
Foyle earns some admirers on the Syracuse side. Coach Jim Boeheim says, "Foyle's going to be a force," and senior forward Lucious Jackson says, "That man-child is going to be a sight to see someday."
The man-child is no less impressive after the game, hugging foes and teammates alike, then navigating between the Scylla of the TV reporters and the Charybdis of the print media. Asked how things are going at Colgate, he says, "I love it. I'm in the hands of a very good coach. I like his offense, and I think I'm going to prosper in it."
Ship sail. Sail fast.