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SECOND-CLASS THINKING

I take issue with Jerry Sullivan's commentary regarding Canisius College basketball. After witnessing a thrashing by a far superior Kentucky team, Sullivan commented that he'd rather see winnable games against lesser teams than just another blowout. It is this kind of thinking that will keep this community second class.

Outside of the Bills being in the Super Bowl, Canisius basketball (making the Big Dance in '96 and their excellent NIT run a couple years previous) created the most positive sports buzz in our town in this decade.

I can still remember vividly going down to the Aud on Saturday nights watching the Little Three more than hold their own against top quality opponents. I can remember Richmond being a rest game for the Griffs before the Queen City Invitational, which was a top quality tournament. Now, 20 years later, we see our coach leave for Richmond to accept a challenge of better competition, not to mention more money.

Bottom line, Marine Midland Arena could be a showcase for top-flight college hoops. M&T Bank invested in Big 4 Basketball, but Canisius must invest in big time basketball. A determined move to a conference such as the Atlantic 10 would not be a move to the Southeast Conference, but a great move with built-in rivalries to solid Eastern programs such as UMass, Temple and, of course, St. Bona. We could then slowly add Big East, ACC or Big Ten opponents to our non-conference schedule, thereby getting college basketball rolling again.

Let's put some heat on Canisius to offer us a legitimate product. Dan Starr should be held accountable for taking our program backward. After Beilein left, Starr took the easy way out and hired someone from the Canisius "family." A lateral move by the biggest stretch. Put him on the carpet to step this program up or send him back to the history department, where he belongs.

Canisius College recently made a huge commitment to the next century. With some determination, effort and vision, we can turn Buffalo into a college hotbed. UB has already made strides and is heading in the right direction. Niagara could follow suit.

To Jerry Sullivan: I'm sick and tired of watching Siena and St. Peter's. By the crowds you'll see at our conference games, you'll see the rest of the area is sick of it too. I'd rather move up in class and take our lumps for a few years than watch what could easily be construed as glorified high school sports.

With competent direction, basketball could be a cash cow for Canisius and a great night of entertainment for local basketball buffs. Let's get off our duffs and make it happen.
MICHAEL GIAMBRA
Canisius College '74