Impressions from three interviews Thursday:
1. St. John’s coach Steve Lavin waited a full year to decide on how to treat his prostate cancer. He waffled for quite a while on whether or not to go with radiation, robotic surgery or traditional surgery. He went with the last, and it was an invasive, but thorough, seven-hour procedure. Lavin's energy and passion is tremendous. He said he is cancer-free. But he admitted it was a gamble to wait so long. Still, he has become an advocate for prostate screening. And his attitude and optimism will serve him well in his recovery. He brings such passion to his life and job that it is carrying over into his comeback from a life-altering scare.
2. It was quite amazing to hear Arizona's Kevin Parrom discuss his life-altering events. He never knew his mother had cancer until the end. And the literal fight for his life as a gunman entered his home sounded terrifying. He got the gun away from the assailant after it was first pointed at his head. But the gun still went off during the scrum and a bullet lodged in Parrom's leg. He said his leg went numb and he was in shock. It’s amazing he’s still able to function so well after such a harrowing event. He has a tremendous support system, but he will need it for quite some time. He said he’s still grieving his mother’s death. Of course, but he also has to be dealing with the reality that his own mortality was in question for a few brief moments. No matter the age this is a lot to process.
3. Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy has a long road ahead but his wife Mary’s support is inspiring to witness. She is there for him every step of the way. Kennedy is dealing with the early signs of Parkinson’s disease as well as recovering from a month-long bout of exhaustion that saw him get an average of two hours a night of sleep. Oh, and he still has bone spurs in his shoulder. You can see how he is struggling. But there is a catharsis in coaching for him now. He will take things slowly. And he understands he has to be patient. But this is a long recovery. Seeing him on the practice court and on the sidelines was a welcome sight.