Behind the Scenes of the AAC Tournament


Emma Coons, NBA All-Star

This past weekend I had the opportunity through one of my mom’s friends who works as the official scorekeeper for the Memphis Tiger Basketball team to work at the American Athletic Conference Tournament hosted at the FedExForum this year. I delivered copies of statistics to team managers, team radio stations, and most importantly, I delivered player statistics during every single media timeout directly to ESPN. This was the experience of a lifetime for me as an avid basketball, and specifically Memphis basketball fan. Today, you too can get an inside look at the inner-workings of a D1 college basketball tournament. Exciting right?!

After already attending four consecutive games the previous Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights, four games from 11am-9pm tip-offs each day on Thursday and Friday for the tournament sounds like a LOT of basketball right? Well that’s the situation I was in and it is, but I’m always down for as much basketball as possible. Anyways, they had me arrive about two hours before the first tip-off for catered media meals (SO many cookies) so I had to get downtown even earlier. After eating a meal which was most definitely not on my diet I got to pretty much hang out until tip-off. Honestly for most media employees there is not much to do until the game starts, but I did have time to hang out with my friends in the stands which was great.

After tip-off I sat directly behind the bench, specifically behind the coaches, and soaked in the game. During game play, as a media runner, all you have to do is soak in the basketball. Of course during the Memphis games this was ideal, getting to sit right behind Penny, but sadly as a media employee you have to stay pretty stoic and you can’t cheer. In all honesty, I may have still cheered for Jeremiah Martin, just quietly and where the cameras couldn’t see. In the same vein, another situation involved with being behind the bench was that everytime ESPN showed a coach, they also showed who? Me. You can see this horror in the picture heading this article which our very own beloved Coach Becker took and texted me during the first Memphis game against Tulane.

In return for courtside seats, I did actually have a job. During every media time out (non-thirty second timeouts below sixteen, twelve, eight and four minutes left in the half), I had to run (yes, run) actual physical documents of details statistics of every player to ESPN. Many other media presenters from either other radio stations or even random newspapers also like to stop you in your run to ask for a sheet, which they can’t have, so that was super stressful. I also had one older man try to snatch (like-SNATCH) my sheets out of my hand all EIGHT times I passed him during the championship game. Now THAT was obnoxious.

Even though there were some annoying moments, as a basketball fanatic, this opportunity was the best thing ever. I got to sit in on the Tiger press conferences with Penny, which was super cool. I spoke to Kyvon Davenport (major senior for the Tigers), Tyler Harris (my favorite player) TWICE, and Raynere Thornton (another Tiger senior) even added me on Snapchat! And above all, I got to talk to and take a picture with Grizzlies rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. who came to support the Tigers each day! This was an amazing experience I will never forget.