However, Dunkley, whose parents are Jamaican, has taught his Delaware teammates a few things too. He introduced the Blue Hens to Jamaican dance-hall reggae, which they sometimes play during warmups. The music helps Dunkley feel at home, as does his weekly visit to a local Jamaican restaurant to get his fill of curried goat and other favorites. Dunkley works out with the soccer team when he can—he gets all the headers—but there is one aspect of home missing. "My parents wanted me to be a cricket legend," says Dunkley. "But I've pretty much given up on that. I find there aren't a great many cricket players in Delaware."
BEAST OF THE LEAST
Last Saturday, St. John's and Boston College, both lightly regarded in the preseason, met for first place in the Big East. Instead of being a thrilling game between two surprise teams, the Redmen's 65-61 victory was an ugly battle that demonstrated what's wrong with the Big East.
The game, which was typical of the brutal play in the conference this season, was marred by almost constant pushing and shoving and by five technical fouls. Despite this, St. John's coach Brian Mahoney said he didn't think the game was any more physical than other Big East games had been. The sad truth is, he's probably right.
When the teams actually played basketball, the results were just as ugly. A Boston College three-pointer was the only field goal in the last 3:21. The game had 36 turnovers, 20 by the Eagles, who shot a miserable 38% from the field. Then there was the ugliness that didn't show up in the box score, like poor shot selections, three missed layups and Boston College guard Gerrod Abram's missed dunk that left him facedown on the floor.
Still, the Redmen, 9-3 in the Big East and 14-6 overall following the win, deserve credit for making a mockery of the preseason poll of league coaches, in which they were picked to finish ninth. Having to replace retired coach Lou Carnesecca and three four-year starters, including Malik Scaly, now with the Indiana Pacers, St. John's was supposed to struggle. Instead, the Redmen have become a group of small egos, reveling in anonymity.
"We have better chemistry than last year's team," says guard David Cain. "The ball is shared more. Last year everyone knew Malik was going to take the big shot. But this year opposing teams don't know who's getting the ball at the end."
The achievements of St. John's notwithstanding, winning the Big East is no longer a prestigious accomplishment. It won't become one again until the league puts an end to bruising basketball. One step in that direction would be for referees to call games tighter; it may be the only way to make coaches rethink their approaches. "We need to play a lot tougher," said BC coach Jim O'Brien after the St. John's game. "We need to get some kids that are going to be a little bit nasty."
If that's the lesson the Big East coaches are learning from games like the one last Saturday, the league is really in trouble.