Best I can tell, we haven't celebrated big felt heads (eaaaasy with that turn of phrase) and whimsical small-town logos in over 30 months, when we left off with the Toledo Mud Hens. We're killing two birds with one stone today (neither of them anthropomorphic representations), celebrating things wild (appropriately, on the 50th anniversary of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are), and things wren.
Team: Springfield Armor
Affiliation: Brooklyn Nets
Mascot: Steal (it's a homophone with a hoops twist!)
Springfield is also, as you know, the birthplace of basketball and the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, so it's a fitting location for a professional hoops squad. The Armor enters its 5th season in the NBDL with a dismal 67-133 overall record - the team's only finished over .500 once, and comes off an 18-32 season.
A team with a history of losing and low expectations? That's a comfortable place for G:TB's favorite Armor player. W&M's own Quinn McDowell parlayed his scoring title in Australia's State Basketball League (where he dropped 29.4 points per game) into a D-League roster spot. While he only played one minute in the Armor's season-opening loss to the Maine Red Claws, McDowell's closer to the NBA than any W&M player in recent memory.
Gheorgheness Quotient: 50/77
It's a decent mascot, and a solid homage to the historic Springfield Armory, but it's no Richmond Flying Squirrels or Cluj 77ers.
This Week in Wrenball: Like you, McDowell will be listening via TribeAthletics.com this evening as W&M takes on VMI in Williamsburg. The Tribe looks to go 2-1 against the Big South, after a win over Liberty and a loss to High Point.
Tony Shaver's Wrens finally put together a good half of basketball in their most recent outing, outscoring Rutgers, 48-29, after halftime to coast to victory. Marcus Thornton took advantage of the new officiating emphasis to get to the line 19 times, making 16 on the way to 28 points. Thornton's averaging 9 free throws per game over the first five games of the season, up from 4.4 per game last year. The Tribe junior is starting to get national attention, appearing in columns by both Jay Bilas and Jon Rothstein this week. When his three-point shooting reverts back to his normally excellent mean (he's 11-40 on the season), Thornton may drop 40 on some unsuspecting opponent.
Hopefully, that'll happen on Saturday, when Shlara, the Teej family, and my gaggle head to Howard University to watch the green and gold take on the Bison.