Some things just take on a life of their own.
For UMKC guard Quinton Day, the childhood nickname “Pooh”, given by his mother Renee Taylor when he was a baby, has stayed with him and isn’t going anywhere.
“I had decorated his baby bed out of the Pooh Bear ... so it formed from there, we just started calling him Pooh,” Taylor said. “I thought it was going to fade away but even his high school coaches called him Pooh.”
Day, who’s not exactly thrilled by the moniker, hoped it would stay in the family.
“I didn’t want to get it to middle school, but it got to school, one of my friends that came over what time said it at school one day so since then I haven’t really cared about,” Day said. “It’s just like Quinton to me now.”
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: After UMKC coach Rich Zvosec picked up a technical foul with 15 minutes left and his team down by 15, MU coach Quin Snyder picked sophomore Jason Horton to shoot the free throws.
Horton, who shot 48 percent on free throws last season, blanked on both attempts.
“Apparently a lot of people didn’t approve of that,” Snyder said. “I could have subbed in a quote-unquote higher-percentage shooter ... Jason was 6-of-6 down the stretch against Northwestern State and I wanted to reward him and show confidence in him.”
Although Horton didn’t seem like an obvious choice, he wasn’t caught off-guard by the opportunity.
“I wasn’t surprised, that’s how much confidence he has in me,” Horton said. “Even though I missed them, I still thanked him for putting me out there. That’s something I got to keep working on.”
BACKCOURT SHOWDOWN: Perhaps Snyder knew what he was doing when, during a news conference Monday, he mentioned that UMKC might have the best backcourt in the state with Tim Blackwell and Day.
“I think they’ve talked about having the best guards in the state, and they just might,” Snyder said. “They’re awfully good. We’ve seen those guys over the years.”
After the game, it seemed as though his high praise inspired his defense and jinxed Blackwell and Day, who shot a combined 5-of-24.
Senior guard Jimmy McKinney was well aware of how much this game meant to Blackwell and Day, who are both from the Kansas City area.
“You knew they were going to come out and try to get theirs ... and try to prove something,” McKinney said. “We had to make sure we had to meet their intensity and make sure they don’t get off on our home court.”
Zvosec said that Day may have been pressing a little bit and that his slow start hindered his ability to find a rhythm.
Despite the poor shooting from Day, Zvosec said that it will help him against future bigger schools.
“Considering this was his first game against physical play, a physical point guard, I think it was a good learning experience,” Zvosec said.