This Saturday night, the University of Vermont will retire the jerseys of two of its all-time great basketball players: Taylor Coppenrath and TJ Sorrentine. In 2005, their Catamount team, a 13 seed, upset Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In overtime, unforgettably, Sorrentine nailed a shot from way beyond the arc.
When Vermont Coach Tom Brennan recruited Sorrentine, he was unable to offer a dome stadium or a team charter, but he had words. TB penned a poem for Sorrentine. Fifteen years after Sorrentine’s shot, that poem has a sequel:
SORRENTINE FROM THE PARKING LOT by Jon Hart
When TB uttered Oh Sorrentine at Saint Raphael’s, the kid from Pawtucket was sold.
And an unspoken pact was made to break the mold.
Sorrentine hopped a bus to Burlington and talked championship or bust every day.
More than a few asked: What did that Rhode Island kid just say?
Tighter than Andy and Redd in Shawshank, TJ and Taylor shared a bunk bed.
In those close quarters, some things were probably better left unsaid.
TB scheduled a bucket list.
It would’ve gone much smoother if Sorrentine hadn’t broken his wrist.
But the injury made all stronger.
And TB got to be with the kid from Pawtucket a year longer.
Against North Carolina, TB talked Rudy.
It would have been cool if he could’ve put in Rosowsky.
At Allen Fieldhouse, the Cats gave the Jayhawks a scare.
But it was undeniable::Hehn had the best hair.
In Westwood against UCLA, Taylor owned the paint like Picasso, but the refs did the Cats no favors.
Timmy Time would’ve made a great ice cream flavor.
In Vegas, TJ played early morning poker, and he figured that his beloved coach’s patience had finally worn thin.
Instead, TB took a seat at the table and said: Deal me in!
In Worcester, some thought Syracuse was Final Four ready.
Unfortunately for the Orange, magical Mopa was more money than Eddie.
Not for a second did Martin let his man go free.
Somewhere, Shooter was pointing at a screen, screaming: That’s the way you play D!
In the final stretch, way off the top of the key, Sorrentine slowly dribbled the ball.
He shook off the sideline play, hoisted and Gus Johnson made his iconic call.
Oh Sorrentine Oh Sorrentine with your shot you took us to outer space for a ride.
When you backpedaled down court, you didn’t miss a stride.
At the buzzer, there was the Taylor smile and an embrace from Kyle.
Sorrentine ran the court and pointed to his jersey as was the style.
Bernie always says it’s just a game, but this one felt like much, much more.
It was for Kevin and Trevor and everyone that came before.
Sorrentine From The Parking Lot never gets stale.
It always has the same ending on You Tube: Thomas John Sorrentine never fails.
Jon Hart is @ManVersusBall on Twitter.