Friday, April 4, 2014

Register Product Seth Davis Talks UConn, Toad's Place, Vito Montelli

Seth Davis is in town (of course) as one of CBS's analysts for the Final Four. He was born at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and his first job after graduating from Duke was as a sports writer for the New Haven Register. He worked there for 2 1/2 years before moving on.

I did this story on Davis four years ago, so I'm not going to rehash it all here. But I caught up with him for a few words on Friday (incidentally, for fans who made the trip down to Dallas, he'll be serving Subway's new flatizzas with Jared the Subway Guy on Saturday from 10:45-11:30 a.m. at a Subway restaurant on 1222 Commerce Street in Dallas).

Davis remembers his 2 1/2 years at the Register fondly, living in a high-rise apartment that was right down the street from Yale-New Haven Hospital and walking distance from Toad's Place.

"Walking distance is a generous term," said Davis, who caught acts like the Radiators, Squeeze and Southside Johnny at the well-known venue.

He didn't cover much UConn at the time (Dave Solomon was on the beat), but made lifelong bonds. One of them was with Vito Montelli, the longtime St. Joseph's basketball coach. He recalls being at a St. Joe's year-end banquet one year with John Calipari, who was and remains good friends with Montelli. When Davis saw Calipari the other day, he asked about Montelli.

"I told him I’ve got tickets for him," Calipari replied. "I want him down here, but he can’t make it."

"Calipari really loves him," Davis noted.

Davis and his family lived in Ridgefield for several years, but last July moved out to Los Angeles, where Davis had been researching for three full summers for his recently published book on John Wooden.

As for the Huskies' chances this weekend, Davis said:

“I certainly wouldn’t have expected them to be here. I’m a big believe in luck. This is not to diminish them or anybody else who’s here, but everybody outside of Florida … I mean, UConn needed overtime to beat St. Joe’s. You appreciate that, how hard it is to get here, how easy it is to lose once you get here. But, when you have good guards, that can erase a lot of deficiencies. That’s why, to me, Kevin Ollie is the perfect coach for this team. He’s got two scoring point guards, and getting them to play together is not easy to do. He’s a really impressive guy. I love his attitude, his demeanor. He’s very eloquent. I really like Kevin.”


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