Wed Mar 23 11:17am EDT
LostLettermen.com, the college sports fan site and former player database, regularly contributes to The Dagger. Here's a look the newest trend in college basketball: 3 goggles.
Of all the ridiculous celebration fads in sports during recent years, the newest trend taking over college basketball might be the most absurd.
That's what you'll see players like Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom, Duke's Nolan Smith and Kentucky's Doron Lamb doing after they hit treys during their Sweet 16 matchups Thursday and Friday, forming "goggles" with the traditional "A-OK" hand sign and placing the "O" over both eyes to showcase their tunnel vision for the long ball and at the same time sticking three fingers up on each side.
So just how did it all start?
As The Wall Street Journal detailed last week, the trend began earlier this season in the NBA when Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez hit a couple threes during halftime warm-ups. He mockingly flashed the gesture to teammate Patty Mills, who chided Fernandez during the break about his vision and suggested Fernandez look into getting glasses.
Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith, among others, has been making the "A-OK" sign with his hands for years after hitting treys and LeBron James and the Cavs already had the "goose eye," but Fernandez's innovation took the movement to a whole new level.
As college players often do, they started emulating the pros, and the trend officially hit Marquette's campus when former Golden Eagles star and current Trail Blazer Wesley Matthews called Johnson-Odom before a Jan. 10 game against Notre Dame.
"He made sure that when we made a three, we threw the '3 goggles' up," Johnson-Odom said.
Marquette hit 12 treys that day in a blowout victory over the Irish and the goggles were an instant hit.
They most recently made an appearance during the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles' victory over third-seeded Syracuse on Sunday when almost the entire Marquette bench broke out the goggles after Jae Crowder and Johnson-Odom both hit 3-pointers late in the game to propel the team to the Sweet 16 with a 66-62 victory.
Not surprisingly, the fad has spread across the Marquette student body since January and plenty of people were waiting to flash the goggles at Johnson-Odom once he stepped foot back on campus after the big win.
"I've seen it a lot today," Johnson-Odom said. "A lot of students are doing it and saying, 'Hey, I've got instructions on Facebook of how to do it and pictures on Facebook.' So I think it's something that fans are starting to take over and something that they love doing."
And Johnson-Odom doesn't think it's all fun and games. He says the goggles have helped pull the team together and provide a boost to the players in the heat of the action.
"I think it's a team-bonding thing for us," Johnson-Odom said. "It definitely has helped our momentum in games and it's created a lot of energy for us when we made game-tying baskets or getting a stop or stuff like that that will change the momentum of the game."
It's hard to argue with the results after last weekend. Despite going just 9-9 during the Big East regular season and squeaking into the NCAA tournament field as a No. 11 seed, the Golden Eagles are now one of only two teams from the conference left standing in the tournament (Connecticut being the other) after the Big East received a record 11 tourney bids.
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