Norfolk and Larry Glover

Just got done watching 15th-seeded Norfolk State’s spectacular upset win over two-seed Missouri.

Brackets have been destroyed.

Mouths are agape.

Senses are tingling.

And I’m thinking about Larry Glover.

Back in the winter of 1989-90, Glover was the star center for our basketball team at Mahopac High School. He was, I’m guessing, 6-foot-8, and probably weighed about 200 pounds. Maybe 210 after a sundae or two. Larry was the centerpiece of a pretty mediocre Indian squad. He probably averaged about 20 points and 10 rebounds, and talk and talk and more talk centered around the inevitable Division I scholarship that would come his way. Every week or so, we’d hear about the interest of familiar schools—Duke and North Carolina; Georgia Tech and Villanova. At the time we were young and dumb and eager to believe that our standout would go off and do great things. How cool would it be, after all, to see Larry Glover playing in the Pac-10 or the Big East, dunking in the NCAA Tournament, etc … etc.

Of course, nowadays we all know how this works. Schools send out recruiting letters to, literally, hundreds of high school seniors. It’s a process of making sure no one slips through the cracks; of double checking that nobody important was missed. Truth be told, Larry was a nice player who dominated the crap teams we tended to face. That’s not an insult—one eats what’s fed to him. Ours was a rural, middle-of-nowhere county, featuring mediocre opponents like Carmel, Brewster and Yorktown. There were no All-State players in our neck of the woods; no Vin Bakers or Glenn Robinsons to truly test Larry Glover.

Come season’s end, Larry Glover signed to play at Division II Norfolk State—and I never heard much about him again. I’d check newspapers … magazines … nothing. When I arrived at Sports Illustrated, I looked for old Norfolk media guides, but never found one word on Larry. I later learned that he played one or two undistinguised seasons, then moved on past the sport. Hey, it happens.

To me, however, Larry Glover will always be No. 5; always be posting up down low; always be the dunking, shot-blocking big man who gave our so-so high school some genuine excitement.

I hope, with the biggest win in Norfolk State history, Larry is smiling.