Dan Duggan plays in relative anonymity in the A 5v5 Leagues. A 5v5-ers hardly make a ripple on the message boards, never complain about the stats, but in turn – seem to get the least love of all the leagues. Even with former BC-ers like Jon Beerbohm or guest appearances from Big Baby Glen Davis and former NBA star Tyron Lue – the A-Leaguers like to stay out of the limelight – until now.
Double D is a virtual unknown in CAC circles but you may know him as the “voice” of the Celtics this past season during their playoff run. He also scribes for the UMass beat along with a weekly column about the fastest growing sport in New England. No – sorry Jumpman, Tibbs, and ROY (there – a Kahana reference) – it’s not soccer. If a sport can’t capitalize on Beckham or Landon Donovan‘s World Cup run – then it’s never happening. The Herald sends clowns like me to cover the Revs or the Breakers or high school boys’ gymnastics – all the same thing basically.
Duggan is the resident expert and aficionado on is all things UFC. So with the first UFC card ever in Boston recently, the fact that Dan plays right in our backyard, AND with the A 5v5 season starting Tuesday night – my bright 8-inch dome figured it would be a perfect time to get Double D on board for some chatter.
BFab: Double D – it is a pleasure to have you on board here on the CAC blog after a bunch of years hooping it up. Give us your background from A-to-Z with playing and loving hoops for so long?
DDuggan: Thanks for having me; it’s a little weird being on this side of the questions. My story is actually a lot like Michael Jordan‘s. I was a 5-foot-5 my sophomore year at North Quincy HS and, though I grew six inches that summer, I was basically already pegged for JV my junior year, which was a humbling experience. But like Mike, I used it as a positive and my senior year I was an OCL All-Star — guess that’s a little shy of being the greatest ever, but who’s counting? I got some looks from D-3 schools in the area, but decided to take my talents to UMass. It was a great decision because the intramural and pick-up hoops were competitive, and I didn’t have to worry about drug tests and 6 a.m. workouts.
BFab: MJ? Here I am touting you and your fellow A-Leaguers as “The Quiet Bunch” and then I get MJ comparisons…gloves are off now. Lived in Quincy for a few years – rumor has it you run some summer ball down there too? Care to let the CAC-ers in on this endeavor?
DDuggan: That’s true, but we’re very segregated in Quincy. The summer league only allows only two non-Quincy residents, like those European leagues. But on a weekend in August I run a 16-team, 5-on-5, double elimination tournament that is always open to new competition. This year’s tourney was won by a few CAC A-leaguers, Shayne Cranmore and Jared Hite.
BFab: Ahhh – Sugar Shane is legit. Can’t say I know Jared but I know he was First Team All-League in D3 a few years back. Tough competition – unlike what Saugus (Chise, Skerry, JaySar, MikeD, OD…the list goes on and on) brings to the table these days. Might create a wheelchair division for that group.
What brought you to the CAC finally?
DDuggan: After school I was looking to keep playing and tried a few of the leagues in the area. After winning a championship at BBall City, I heard about CAC. Even though Tibbs warned me about the A league competition, I was undeterred and jump right into those waters. We went 1-9 the first season and I quickly realized I would need to get my “Danny Ainge” on in the offseason.
BFab: Tibbs warning anyone about anything merits it to be looked at, examined, and tried at least twice before believing anything he says in reference to hoops. His first 5v5 adventure starts this season in Co-Ed of all places after being here for five-plus years. Might tell you something…
How did you steal my college beat gig without ever working a day in house the Herald?
DDuggan: Other than the fact that I’m not sure the sports editor knows your name? I kid. I’m pretty passionate about college hoops and we really didn’t have anyone assigned to that beat so I basically worked my way into it. One of my first stories for the Herald was a feature on Tiki Mayben: http://www.umassathletics.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/110906aaf.html
He wound up getting arrested for crack possession while at Binghamton last year: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4499315
I like to think I was ahead of the curve on his story.
BFab: HA! Touché! Shockingly my persona at the Herald is the complete opposite of my Evil Empire gimmick here at the CAC. Low profile keeps me employed for the last 10 years at one of the top 10 newspapers in the country. But these days – being a top 10 newspaper is like being a top 10 MLS team. No one cares. Even Rory Duyon of Game…Blouses thinks working at the CAC is better then getting bylines in the Herald – what a dbag! Duggan – as long as you are light years ahead of Royce‘s verbal curves – you are in business. Speaking of your UMass days….what are your thoughts on Marcus Camby being inducted to the UMass Hall of Fame? I don’t think I have to go into the reasons why this seems seedy at best…
DDuggan: Some people have a problem with it, but I don’t. He put UMass on the map. Who among us would turn down free money, jewelry and hookers while in college? He paid back the money UMass lost from the sanctions and took responsibility for it so it’s all good to me.
BFab: Don’t get me wrong, The Camby Man is a man after my own heart. I run bachelor parties like Turin eats rebounds or Serge takes down burritos. But obviously you are a tried and true UMass-hole. Camby may have returned the money – but he can’t return the banner. I guess money does buy you things…
DDuggan: Easy…that banner still hangs my friend.
BFab: On to the NBA. You were blogging, live chatting, supposedly getting schooled by NBA-ers during writer breaks on the parquet. Give us one funny story from covering the hoops scene from start to finish…everything and everyone are fair game here…
DDuggan: I didn’t actually get schooled by any players during the Finals, but during an interview I did get drilled in the head by an errant Ty Lue shot, which was documented by True Hoop. As for funny stories…I have to be a little careful because I don’t want to get myself in any trouble, but there really wasn’t anything too crazy this postseason. The Celtics are kind of boring because of all the vets. Tony Allen was a character and I won’t miss him rapping over every one of my pregame interviews. There will probably be wilder stuff this season with a full year of Nate and Shaq, not to mention Delonte.
BFab: Whoa – that’s right. Everyone send their mom’s to Florida this winter – Delonte is in town! Give us a “Naked City” style story leaving the names out to make your girls Laura and Gayle proud. I’ll post this on their Facebook page so they can fawn over you…
DDuggan: I’m already in pretty good with the Track Gals. They might not be a bad interview subject.
BFab: I’ll toss myself under the bus…Track Girls walking through the sports department as I walk in and Laura looks me up and down in my work clothes from Genzyme. I happened to be wearing a dark orange shirt and Laura leans in rubs my arm and says, “Hey, nice shirt”. Needless to say I was comedic fodder for the next 6 hours and that shirt has never seen the light of day again!
Listening to you on 98.5 the Sports Hub one afternoon – and after you hung up – Adam Jones essentially challenged you to a game of 1-on-1. His producer (name slips me) confirmed you are a trained assassin still to this day – but Jones still wants a piece of you going to the rim. You got challenged on regional sports radio and couldn’t say anything about it!! Any thoughts on that?
DDuggan: Yeah, I played pick-up with his producer, Brian Robb, and a bunch of media guys during the Finals. I’m not sure Adam could hang. The best media member I played with was Mark Jones from ESPN — solid old school mid-range game — but I’ve heard the best in the biz is Chris Ballard from SI. I’ll believe it after seeing him dominate in Pop-a-Shot at a bar in Santa Monica.
BFab: WHOA! Pop-a-Shot. Mike Sweeney and I went mano-y-mano after a Celts playoff game during their championship run. Sweens doesn’t remember it cause it was his 18th trip to Sully’s that night but I hung with the Deft Lefty to the very end in the 80’s. I smell a challenge I can handle with you Duggan…I’ll brush up before the Celts season starts – but I smell another blog idea…
Best player you have played with at the CAC? Best played against? Anyone you want to absolutely rip in print? Basically – you’ve played here for quite some time – give me the Double D Awards for the years you’ve been here? MVP, Best Defensive, most annoying? The blog is yours…
DDuggan: Best player I’ve played with is Royce (Henry) by far (he’ll probably put that comment in his sig on the message boards). He can be a bit maddening at times, but he also does some stuff on the court that most guys can’t so you learn to live with a few ill-advised 3’s. There’s obviously a ton of talented players in the league, so for the best I might go with two of the most consistent: Basil (Wajd) and (Ben) Coffin. Both just get it done every season and can pretty much do it all.
Best defensive? I’m catching and shooting, so I’ll just back up a few steps if need be.
But most annoying? I’ll give this to Crotty and I mean it as a compliment — one of those guys you hate to play against but love to play with. He just plays hard and smart. He’s like a Duke PG.
BFab: Any derogatory reference to Duke is a good thing. Even though I was labeled Coach K due to my days with Genzyme until recently:
The good news is I can go back to hating Duke…speaking of Coach K…any inside insight on how Rajon Rondo went from being the starting point guard to having family issues and coming home from Turkey for Team USA?
DDuggan: I don’t have any inside info, but I don’t think the primary reason he came home was family issues. Some have speculated that it had to with his personality and I’m sure that didn’t help. He’s an aloof, cocky guy and he was never fully on board with the whole team USA thing. But I buy the main reason was that he really wasn’t a good fit. (Derrick) Rose is doing just fine at point.
BFab: Team USA moved into the semifinals after a tough one against Russia then wins gold rather handily. I thought for a quarter or two that the Russian head coach had gotten the best of Team USA with his nonsense about the 1972 Russian team deserving the win.
Small nugget is (thanks to Danny Ventura of the Herald) that Coach David Blatt actually starred on the court right here in Framingham, Mass – traitor…thoughts?
DDuggan: I disagree with Blatt, but have no problem with him sticking up for the team he coaches. This tournament was strange though because not only are most of the best US players sitting out, but so were the top guys from other countries. The thing that stood out for me was Kevin Durant. It’s hard not to love that guy and not just for the way he plays. From all accounts he’s a great teammate and he quietly signed his extension — to stay in Oklahoma City no less — amidst all of the other ridiculousness this summer.
BFab: Durantula is quickly becoming a household nickname. More people should rally around the team formerly known as the Seattle Sonics. What are the Celts overall chances this season?
DDuggan: I’d say the regular season will probably be similar to last year. There’s no way they don’t win the Atlantic, but I don’t know if they’re winning more games than Miami, Orlando or even Chicago. As for overall, I hate to say it but I don’t see how they beat Miami.
BFab: Come on – even you being the non-bias reporter has to think the Miami thing is nonsense? Also – how bout theJets calling themselves “The Miami Heat of the NFL”?
DDuggan: I thought the way LeBron handled things was horrible and I don’t get why Chris Bosh got elevated to the level of LeBron and Wade, but the team around them is much better than I expected. The only team that can beat them is LA because Kobe and Artest can match-up and I don’t think Miami can answer Gasol and Bynum. I have to say I’m entertained by the Jets. They have too many former stars with huge egos and a shaky QB, so it probably won’t work, but it’s been entertaining.
BFab: Bosh is elevating to Toni Kukoc status with this move. No – that’s not a good thing. Third fiddle in a two-fiddle band. Back to the CAC – The A 5v5 Leagues don’t get much love on the site with write-ups and blogs – but you guys must still dig the stats?
Question: Why do you think the A-Leaguers don’t get the “press”? Do you guys even care after all these years?
DDuggan: People definitely like the stats, no matter what league. I’m not sure why the message boards don’t get going though. Maybe because the games aren’t at CAC so guys don’t really associate with it, or because there’s a revolving door of scorekeepers so there’s never lines, awards, etc.
BFab: Calling Mr. Director of Basketball – calling Mr. Director of Basketball. The revolving door has been an issue for quite a few of the leagues recently.
Rumor has it “On (Tom) Layman’s Terms” is itching to get back into the CAC fold…shout out to any former vets that want cover the A League? Do you even know Layman, Mr. Celtics? Probably too low on your totem pole at the Herald…
DDuggan: Of course I know Layman. He gets me my coffee every morning. And I don’t even drink coffee.
BFab: Layman, all former XJV-ers and Legends will love to read that. Touching every league the CAC has to offer in this interview. But NO way you are off the hook without assessing the growing popularity of the UFC…
DDuggan: It’s obviously had a huge rise. I don’t think it’ll be a fad like poker, but it probably will plateau at some point. I was surprised the ticket sales for Boston were relatively weak — they gave away nearly 3,000 tix to get it close to capacity.
BFab: Honestly – that does surprise me, but the price was extravagant (average ticket price was $244). There was a lot of hype surrounding the Boston event and Dana White was in every magazine including Cooking Light promoting the damn thing. Even more surprising was my phone didn’t ring with your cell phone on the other end with a few freebies…real nice.
Here’s a little rapid-fire UFC word association – say what comes to mind:
DDuggan: brilliant businessman, but he’s a promoter so a good BS-er too.
BFab: Sounds like Josh Smith. Obviously, you are too afraid to cross the man!
DDuggan: Pretty savvy to land a $500K+ payday for 3 minutes of work.
Boxers as UFC-ers?
DDuggan: Not a trend. There’s no motivation for a top boxer to cross-over.
Wrestlers as UFC-ers?
DDuggan: Boring. I think this will be a problem for the sport. It’s become the dominant style and it’s also the least entertaining.
BFab: When I say “wrestlers” I don’t mean the Nik Lenz sleep-a-thon win over Andre Winner type-wrestling. I mean the WWE guys coming infiltrating the ranks, like Brock Lesnar, who is a both a stand up guy and a grappler. More include Bobby Lashley (TNA) in Strikeforce and Dave Batista (WWE) is training as well.
DDuggan: Ahh, I got you. I think the steroid testing could be a major hurdle, but I’d be all for it. I think the 1-2-3 Kid would be a star.
BFab: AAAHAHA – I did a WWE vs. CAC Blog awhile back and 1-2-3 Kid was highlighted as none other then Schmiegal Kaplan. Or Kappa Don as he refers to himself in third person:
Should UFC combine with WEC? Or meet annually? Or have it like the old boxing days as the “WBC, WBA, IBF, etc”?
DDuggan: I know some people are clamoring for it but I don’t see the need.
BFab: Was I the only person in America that thought Toney would last a minute at least? I figured with Kimbo (Slice), Brock Lesnar, and Bobby Lashley having some – if not great – success – he at least had a “puncher’s chance” – all puns and digs are intended.
DDuggan: Well he lasted three (minutes), but he didn’t even come close to landing a punch. That fight went exactly as expected. It would have been cool to see him land one shot just to see, but (Randy) Couture wasn’t going to put himself in that position.
BFab: Toe-MAY-toe, to-MAAAA-toe. Three minutes, one minute – if I paid the PPV ticket knowing you had a fistful of freebies and every blonde chick usually hanging at Bret Michaels‘ concerts on your arms bartering “their goods” for a shot inside the Garden – then I’d really…wait, that did happen…DAMN!
DDuggan: I think that’s everything. Hopefully my answers were better than the typical “one game at a time” type stuff we get so much. Thanks for having me.
BFab: Doubling down with Dan Duggan was a pleasure. Welcome back and congrats to a new season at the CAC, a new season with Shaq, and making out with the girls from “The Inside Track“. Poetry at its best! Can we maybe find a Shaq of the CAC? Stay tuned…