When I got the official press release from the University of Maine stating that Garet Beal’s National Letter of Intent was signed, sealed and delivered, I kind of smiled and chuckled to myself.
Because I thought, hey, when a kid from Jonesport-Beals says he’s coming to Orono to play his college basketball, his word is good enough. That’s just how it is in downeast Maine. No stinkin’ NLI needed.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Garet Beal is one rugged basketball dude. He can handle the ball, shoot the ball, rebound the ball, dish the ball and as UMaine coach Ted Woodward said in the press release “he has a great work ethic.”
And so I ask this question — can Garet Beal be the Cindy Blodgett of the UMaine men’s basketball program?
I’m not talking about scoring points on the basketball floor. I’m talking scoring points with the basketball public, especially here in Eastern Maine.
There are similarities. Both hard working kids from small town Maine who could have played college basketball elsewhere but wanted to play close to home because having family around is a big thing.
Also, Blodgett had and now Beal has the chance to play his senior year of high school hoops with those of us in the sports media saying “UMaine bound….” on every highlight play. That means the Black Bear program gets a full year of free publicity. By the time Garet Beal walks into the Pit (or Alfond Arena or the Cross Insurance Center or wherever they play next year) he’ll feel like Norm walking in Cheers — everyone is going to know is name.
There’s just something special about a kid from tiny Jonesport-Beals coming to the state’s only Division I school. Think about this — the population of the two towns is about the same as the number of freshmen entering the Orono school next fall with Garet Beal, around 2,000.
I think it’s great. Not that I’m trying to start the PR machine already….but, I hear Jonesport-Beals is playing in a preseason round robin in Hampden on Friday!
Just thought you would like to know.
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
— A total of 188 points scored during Maine’s Super Saturday of high school football! And, a bunch of different styles of offense.
— Let’s face it. The best hire for the Red Sox hitting job is Dr. Phil. All major leaguers can hit but as Yogi once said, half the game is 90 percent mental.
— Just wondering…is Rajon Rondo playing without a headband part of his new leadership style?
— Boston Bruins No. 1 draft pick Dougie Hamilton has 29 points in 23 games and a plus 22 for his Niagara IceDogs junior team. Oh yeah, remember he’s a defenseman. Come on NHL, get going so we can see this kid in a Bruins uniform.
— By the way, former UMaine Black Bear Gustav Nyquist is tied for third in points (17) in the AHL. I’m thinking the young Detroit Red Wing is a little over qualified for this level but if/when the NHL gets started he should be ready.
— Newly crowned NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski’s crew chief is Paul Wolfe. Back in his driver days, Wolfe raced in the Busch North Series, finishing 26th in 2002, 22nd in 2003, 24th in 2004. The Busch North champion those three years — Maine’s Andy Santerre.