Looking back at the 2010 NCAA tournament, it was an all-time great tournament: Northern Iowa’s Ali Faroukmanesh hitting that cold-blooded trey to put away Kansas, Murray State upsetting Vanderbilt on a buzzer-beater, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins consoling his senior forward Da’Sean Butler after he suffered a severe knee injury during their Final Four loss to Duke, Butler’s Gordon Hayward nearly hitting the shot of a lifetime in the National Championship to beat Duke … there were so many great moments. The Xavier-Kansas State Sweet Sixteen match-up was on another level though and it was all because Xavier guard Jordan Crawford nearly made legendary CBS Sports announcer “Screamin'” Gus Johnson explode into a million pieces when he launched an absolute missile from way downtown that connected and sent the game into double overtime.
This was one of those March Madness games where you remember exactly where you were watching it; it’s easily one of the top ten tournament games of this millennium and I don’t even really need to think about it. It just has to be. It was absolutely out of control if for no other reason than Gus Johnson literally climaxing in overtime.
Gus Johnson made a name for himself by consistently going bonkers during March Madness games because somehow the drama always seemed to follow him around and he was the perfect guy to call it. This Xavier-Kansas State game was right in the prime of Gus Johnson mania in which people would just watch games on CBS to witness Gus just lose his mind. This was when the “Gus Johnson Soundboard” was invented. This was when people would make videos of bulldogs humping teddy bears set to the exclamations of Gus Johnson.
This game was something special though. Among all-time Gus Johnson explosions, it’s right up there with “Batista with the CAAAAAAAATCH!” In fact this is an actual quote from his Wikipedia page, “Johnson is particularly known for his calls at the end of several close NCAA Tournament games including the double-overtime Xavier vs Kansas State game on March 25, 2010.”
Damn right he’s known for it. The aforementioned Jordan Crawford hit a three-pointer from so deep in that game to tie it in overtime that it caused Gus Johnson to short circuit. His programming just couldn’t process what just happened. No words, just a scream. I highly recommend watching the entire clip because it’s 2:28 seconds of pure Gus Johnson ecstasy, but 1:25 is where you want to skip to for the Crawford shot.
I’m still not sure if Len Elmore’s “OH NO” was in reference to the shot or that Gus straight up had a Gusgasm all over him. The best part is Gus’ pre-emptive “uh …” He just couldn’t believe that Jordan Crawford would pull up from like a good 35 feet from the basket and launch a bomb with six seconds still left on the clock. It was just an absurd shot in every sense.
It made for the absolute best moment though. Unforgettable. Kansas State went on to win the game 101-96 in rather unceremonious, anti-Gus fashion and would end up losing to eventual tournament runner-up Butler in the Elite Eight next round.
So where are all the stars of the game now?
Gus Johnson – Gus Madness is no more. Gus left CBS after a contract dispute and took his screaming to Fox Sports where he’s now calling college football, NFL, and some college hoops. He’s also ventured into calling soccer now and it’s anticipated that he will be the lead announcer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup so that’s actually happening apparently.
Jordan Crawford – Don’t know if you could tell, but Jordan Crawford isn’t too shy about shooting the basketball and this 32-point game ended up being his final one in college. After only one season at Xavier (he transferred from Indiana as a freshman), the 2010 A-10 Player of the Year entered the NBA Draft and was taken 27th overall by the Hawks.
Crawford’s penchant for just jacking up shots with no regard for humanity didn’t play too well in the NBA and he logged four NBA seasons on four teams. His final NBA regular season game up to this point in his career was a 41-point outburst while with the Warriors in 2014 in which he attempted 28 shots.
Crawford is now playing in China where nobody cares about how many shots he takes because he recently had a game in which he scored 72 points and grabbed 16 rebounds on 25 of 52 shooting from the field and 18 of 20 shooting from the free throw line. …and his team lost. This is basically how I envision Chinese Basketball Crawford:
Jacob Pullen – Pullen came out of Chicago-area basketball powerhouse Proviso East which is known for producing NBA-level talent such as Doc Rivers, Michael Finley, Shannon Brown, and ex-Illini great Dee Brown. Pullen is Kansas State’s all-time scoring leader and poured in 28 points in the win over Xavier, but could never lead his Wildcats to a Final Four. His collegiate career ended with a loss to Wisconsin in the third round (technically, the second round) in 2011 despite scoring 38 points.
Pullen didn’t get drafted to the NBA and has been living the life of an international baller since his college days, most recently with Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia. He also was naturalized as a citizen of Georgia (the country) and plays for their national team.
Tu Holloway – He was Xavier’s second best player behind Crawford and the point guard was equally as clutch down the stretch of this one as he tacked on 26 points of his own and made three free throws to send the game to overtime.
The A-10 Player of the Year in 2011 went undrafted in 2012 after an outstanding collegiate career and was playing overseas up until 2015 when he was briefly signed by the Mavericks, but waived two days later. He’s now a NBA D-League All-Star with the Texas Legends.
Denis Clemente – Kansas State point guard Denis Clemente was remarkably the fourth leading scorer of this game with 25 points which is a testament to how great this game was. Like Holloway and Pullen, Clemente went undrafted in 2010 and was playing in Slovakia as of 2011.
What a year 2010 was and it’s hard to believe that we will soon be approaching a half-decade of Gus Johnson-less March Madness which is really a shame.
Only two more years until the 2018 FIFA World Cup though. I’m predicting a lot of Gus Johnson “Here comes a firecracker!” exclamations.