November 17, 2011
A smiling Lavin read the caller ID on the iPhone, picked up the call and greeted the man on the other end of the line by saying, "Davey? How are you? It's Steve Lavin, St. John's University." As a roomful of reporters chuckled in astonishment in the background, Lavin engaged in a brief conversation with the no doubt stunned "Davey" before informing him that he probably should get back to the press conference now.
"He seemed a little bit taken aback," Lavin said afterward. "But he's a real gentleman. He said, 'Thank you.'"
Lighthearted moments like this are what makes the always gregarious Lavin one of the most fun coaches to chat with in college basketball.
A ringing cell phone during a news conference often inspires a glare or a brief lecture from uptight coaches stressed by the intense pressure of their jobs. Lavin just returned from undergoing surgery to treat prostate cancer, he has a roster consisting almost entirely of newcomers and he's facing No. 15 Arizona on Thursday night, yet he's still not too frazzled to miss the chance to lighten the mood.