This article was originally published in Issue 8, Forty-Ninth Year of The Minstrel (January 28, 2015). Click here to view the entire issue.
The DeSales men’s basketball team lost the championship game of their annual Holiday Tournament to McDaniel College, 77-73, but that’s not what the team will remember best about Jan. 4.
Sophomores Kuity Slanger and Ryan Callahan executed a perfect alley-oop to tie the game as the fourth quarter ended, forcing overtime in dramatic fashion. Before the end of the night, sport media titan ESPN tweeted a student-produced clip of the play.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCY8UdMgvW4[/youtube]The Bulldogs trailed 67-65 late in the game, and a McDaniel player knocked DeSales’ pass out of bounds around midcourt with 0.6 seconds left in regulation. Slanger tossed the inbound pass toward the basket, where Callahan ran up and tipped it in before time expired.
“We actually had not practiced that play since last year during practice. When Coach Koval called the play with 0.6 seconds left, no one was really aware of what we were supposed to do,” Callahan said. “The only reason I remembered was because it was a play that really excited me when we were taught how to run it the year before. So Coach set us up to run it before the referee gave us the ball, and then we made it happen.”
DeSales sports information director BJ Spigelmyer said his work-study staff members, seniors Rachel Vogel and Casey Schermick, originally had the idea to show ESPN the video.
“I OK’d it, but they deserve the credit,” Spigelmyer said. “I didn’t know they did it until ESPN tweeted us back.”
Earlier in the week, Vogel and Schermick decided to start making short highlight videos to accompany Spigelmyer’s game stories for the DeSales athletics website. When Slanger and Callahan’s play succeeded, Vogel says she and Schermick “immediately knew we had the highlight of the night.”
“We joked about how we were going to tweet it out to SportsCenter, but then actually realized we could do that and asked ourselves, Why not?” said Vogel.
Schermick and Vogel tweeted the video through the DeSales Athletics account and included the hashtag #SCtop10. ESPN uses this hashtag to allow fans to nominate plays for SportsCenter’s “Top 10 Plays” segment.
“Within minutes, the Twitter account @ESPNAssignDesk tweeted back, asking if ESPN could have permission to use the video for any of their media,” Vogel said. “BJ tweeted back, granting permission to use the video. ESPN then emailed BJ, again asking if they can use the video. Again, BJ granted permission.”
The DeSales community was especially impressed because ESPN rarely covers Division III athletics. The network, whose slogan is “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” has over 15.4 million followers on the popular social networking platform. Their DeSales tweet received over 1,000 retweets and over 1,200 favorites.
“I was pretty hyped when I saw [the tweet] because I saw that people were going to see it worldwide, and simply because it’s ESPN,” Slanger said.
“Kuity actually saw it first and sent me a picture of the tweet,” added Callahan. “Then I saw it for myself and really couldn’t believe it. I’ve always dreamed of being on ESPN, so I can cross that one off the bucket list.”
SportsCenter did not feature a “Top 10 Plays” segment the night of Jan. 4 due to the network’s coverage of the death of ESPN anchor Stuart Scott. Nonetheless, the alley-oop will fondly be remembered as one of the top plays in DeSales athletics history.