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Graduation

I never know how to start these things. I have no idea if that’s evident here or on podcasts, in a conversation if someone and I find that common interest, I’ll learn your name in 20 minutes, we got to the good stuff already. But that said, I wrapped up with that college thing. Rather than getting sappy after the Big East Tournament, or the last game in Hinkle or whatever, I saved it all for now. Get one sappy post a half-year (that’s not a measurement of time people use), so I’m using it here.


I wasn’t a huge fan of my time in high school. In fact, I’ll be blunt, I fucking hated high school. They call it “senioritis” when you are just sick of HS and ready to be done, shit I had that by the beginning of sophomore year. I don’t need some “poor me” shit, I just couldn’t stand HS. Especially the teacher who for whatever reason went out of his way to try to make me miserable, but those are stories for another time.



When it came time to come up with colleges, I knew I wanted to go into sports. College basketball is all I know. HS was tough, but going home and watching hoops, speculating on bracket seeding, looking at resumes, feeling a part of a community of hoops lovers, that’s everything to me. So my mom took it upon herself (I have no idea if I would’ve been proactive at all… probably not, I coasted my ass through HS) to find programs that fit me. One school jumped out at her. Butler. Big East, Midwest which gets me away from home, to a basketball town, it was perfect.


I visited here for the first time, and Professor Bridge (HUGE congratulations on the retirement professor! Wish I had you for a class) knew me by name, where I’m from and what HS I went to. Before he even saw my face. I wasn’t just a number here, as I was back home. That meant a lot to me.


I got into Butler and visited again in February. This event perfectly lined up with a Butler vs Georgetown game in Hinkle, the “Terrell Allen” Game, for those who may remember. The people in the stands were so supportive of a kid who was visiting here, but wearing the opposing team's colors. As soon as I walked out of Hinkle, I knew I was coming here. Hell, halfway through the second tour, I knew I was coming here.


 

Butler was a new start for me. One I very much needed. It was covid, so it was tough to meet people other than those you live right by. However, these guys are awesome, hell I still live with some of them today. My classes were great next, and I killed it in semester one here and actually wanted to get the work done. Big change from HS.


Sidenote: My worst grade at this school is public speaking, which isn’t something I struggle with. It’s because I talk with my hands a lot (I’m Italian, it’s in the blood, come on), and the class was on Zoom (I talk to random people over the internet all the time now) so I would like to protest and request this gets changed to an A+ ASAP.


Fast forward to today and I genuinely feel like I grew as a person. I’ve learned a lot about myself from this place. I needed this time to find out who I am, and how I can better myself each day.


 

I started writing about college basketball towards the end of my sophomore year. Finally. Researching transfers, doing a film study, getting things wrong (which now can come back to bite me, as they should), all that. Then all of a sudden, the site that was running for years shut down just as I signed up, just as I showed up here junior year. Awesome. Found out after a class I had on South campus, when I lived past Hinkle (which is a decent walk, for those who don't understand the minutiae (big word) of Butler's campus), and I just didn’t know what to do.


One morning, I probably woke up around 11 (I'm a student, sue me) and I got a message from one Matt St. Jean which said (paraphrased) “Hey, we’re moving everything over to this new site insert link, do you want to join.” Naturally, I woke up, didn’t click the link and just said “yes.” A few emails later, and I have a credential to games in Hinkle, and you're reading this on said site. My roommates were very confused that I had a credential to games then, and frankly I still think they are.


Season One of the Thad Matta era was also my first time doing any of this. I had no idea what I was doing (still don't), just learning on the job, trying to find my voice. But I had a chance to be me, which was all I could ask for. Saying yes to anything I can here, and I thought year one went pretty well.


If I made this today, I would have added the final score graphic here to show that I was right, and not like ignore that, so 95% of people would be confused. Hot tip from the future, DeRosa.

This past season was so much more fun than the 22-23, I like competitive games, not teams that lose by 30 every time. I was very angry (perhaps far too angry, and I don't think I'd have the cajones/stupidity to speak in the way I did here) that entire BE play, not a fun time. That said, good bit.


Year Two was a different beast, as it should’ve been. Get the feet wet, learn, now lock in. Hosting the Road to the Garden podcast with Tommy (if you ever thought "holy cow this is so well edited," that's me), Dinga and DeRosa with Chris Thedinga, showing up almost anytime I’m asked onto Everything College Basketball (holy shit we had Seth Davis on a show like wtf??? That happened. Crazy.), The Bulldog Bark with Guru, BFC and Kyle and writing whenever I can about the Butler Bulldogs.


And it all capped off by going to New York, meeting all these people I've spoken to hundreds of times on the internet for the first time, covering the damn Big East Tournament. Weirdly enough, I wasn’t nervous at all showing up to MSG to cover this event I've been watching on TV for as long as I can possibly remember. Feel like I should’ve been, but I’m also not the nervous type. Takes a lot to make me nervous (heart was pounding while talking to Seth Davis though I can't lie, that got me, had no idea he was showing up.). I don’t know what I was expecting, but those guys are all incredible. Love them all.


Hell, on night one my little brother was on SportsCenter. WTF. Made sure to stay up until 3am when we were finally able to get the showing on screen (shoutout to those guys for putting up with me on that), and hearing Scott Van Pelt on live TV (well it was re-aired when we saw it, but it was live at one point) shoutout my little brother. I got to watch my little brother play in a State Title game while watching the Big East Tournament in MSG, and watch some incredible basketball for days straight, with people I would absolutely consider my friends. It doesn’t get any better than that.



There was an assignment in my High School Photoshop class about your "goals." A simple collage to send everyone off, get you an easy 10 points as the seniors were all done and take off. I'm not the type of person who sets goals or anything, not my style. Anyways, we put five things down, but genuinely all I remember are these two. Covering a game in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Covering a Big East Tournament. Mom, Dad I did that. Not bad.


That was the moment for me. Taking the train ride back to DC (after watching Grand Canyon nearly get in a fight in the WAC Title game), before flying back to Indy that next morning, I had quite a bit of time to myself. That’s when it all set in. The last few years built up to that, and it was all worth it. No quote sums up my feelings then better than this from Dustin Poirier:


l will cry like a bitch if he somehow wins that title on 6/1. Love the story so much. Also I didn't do anything in blood, but it's such a good line I couldn't not have it here.


"Paid in Full, This is Mine." Can't take that away from me.


So all that is to say: Thank you all. Thank you to the people who helped me along this mini four-year journey, thank you to everyone here with the House of College Hoops/Road to the Garden, thank you to all the people I met at Butler (I lose contact far too easily, so please don’t hesitate to reach out, promise I’ll respond), and thank you to anyone who engaged with any of my content/writing in the past. Reading, watching a video, hitting that follow button, whatever. None of this happens without all of you, so thank you all very much.


I try as much as I can to get back to any reply (within reason, if the reply is “this guy stinks” I’m not responding to that), any DM (DM’s Open if anyone just wants to talk ball. Ladies corny wink that immediately follows by me holding my head in shame (I'm not funny I'm sorry), you too), (it's funny that I apologized for a bad joke then added the "you too" to double down right... right? please?), because it’s super obvious that without these beautiful internet people, I wouldn’t have been at Madison Square Garden during the Big East Tournament. Thank you all, very very much, all love here.


To anyone out there who had me on their show, to my friends and family, to BE Hoops community, to the House Family, to my professors who were so kind to me, and gave this prick a chance to rebuild himself, thank all of you. Happy to have gotten to know all of you (or better, I knew my family before I got here, believe it or not) over these four years, some of the best of my (young) life. 


High school was a long four years. The four years here have gone by in a blur. It’s incredible.


 

I won’t sit here and say this place is perfect, it's not. But I love this place for all it’s imperfections. Hell you won’t see me trying to pretend I’m perfect (I’ve made many mistakes, and will make many more), and I bet allllll my professors, friends, colleagues, etc. could have a list that long and then some complaining about me. Bet most people reading this can too.


I can truly say it made me a better person, and I got that new start I needed. I can’t pretend as if it has set in yet that I won’t begin taking classes in August for the 22nd year in a row. Feels like another routine summer, it definitely hasn't settled in yet. Big East Tournament didn't settle in until the end, this won't settle in for a while. If anyone has a job out there that they think I could do, DM’s Open, I'd like money. 


I’ll keep talking ball, it’s all I know, and you likely won’t notice anything at all being different, except maybe my setup, ain’t nothing changing (shit hopefully I can make some bucks doing it soon too, that would be a welcome change). I'll be in Indy for the TBT and beyond, very excited about that.


I’ve got some time over the next little while, so if there’s any article/content/whatever you want to see that I can provide, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. Want to keep a decent flow going this summer, while I’ve got time.


Who knows what the next steps hold, but to everyone, Thanks Again!



 

Ok, now that I got sentimental, I will balance that out by mentioning random beefs I have (and something that hyper-triggered me today):


  1. Brother's Bar and Grill in Broad Ripple is dead to me. As a then 21-year-old who A. Doesn't drink and B. Was 21, I got denied at the door going to bar trivia. What 19-year-old shows up to Bar trivia on a Wednesday? ALSO I don't drink. Mf at the door was not handing that shit back even when I pushed him multiple times to say "ok, let's get a cop." That dork wasn't keeping me from using my ID to travel and stop me from getting to MSG. Nah man you ain't taking that from me. It's a great story, but like would be so much funnier if someone else was the butt of the joke. Either way, that place is dead to me and I hope it crumbles until they bow down and kiss the ring.

  2. Shoutout the media member(s) who big timed me. Some were great (I thought I was so funny when I called Matt Norlander "Mr. Donovan", when maybe it wasn't. Good guy.), shoutout Seth Davis too, good guy. But to the guy(s) who very much did, there is no beef, so long as you refer to me as "Mr. DeRosa." This is not a joke.

  3. Bad gambling advice. Oh my god.

Ok, so this person proposed a bet that loses only if the Pacers get swept (I'm typing this before game 1, I have no idea of the result, the bet could (and likely does, according to the math) hit). But this person proposed a hedge of a bet that would net a person a 19.84% payout, the bet pays roughly -405 at this price.

However, you can find this exact market out there on BetMGM (the book that is sponsoring this show) for -350, which is a pretty significantly better price (bet $54/55 less to win the same $100).

There were better numbers on the market (per the Twitter replies, an accurate source of news) at the time of this post, in case MGM just published this market following the heat here.


Digging through some replies, I do genuinely believe the guy (there's no beef here, seems like a good enough guy) when he said something along the lines of "I didn't see it as I was preparing for the show, just missed it." But he was also dunking on people saying "fade if you want" which just isn't the argument. The argument is you gave out something paying 54 cents on the dollar worse than you should, essentially asking people to give free money to the book in this roundabout way.


Essentially the same as seeing a banana that costs $1.00, paying $1.54 and leaving as if you just trumped the store. Right on brother.


There is value on some huge favorites, that's a thing. I have a Peyton Talbott -380 ticket sitting in my account rn (it's -455 now, and honestly I still think he covers that price tag), favorites can be the value side. But we can acknowledge our mistake, instead of attempting to dunk on people, then when you make the mistake say "you number nerds don't get it, fade me if you want." Just correct the mistake, we all make too many in our lives, be honest and we move forward.


I don't know everything when it comes to gambling, hell I don't know everything when it comes to anything, but I understand some math after 22 years of schooling, and this just fails on the principle of "basic math." Gambling is all math, the better we communicate that, hopefully, we help people keep it fun, as it is supposed to be.


Giving out losing picks is fine. Anyone thinking anybody hits at near 100% needs to give their head a shake. We all lose, just be honest about it, be transparent and make this fun.


Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. If you read this far... respect.

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