When you watch hours of March Madness basketball, dozens of anecdotes about previously unknown players start to pile up during the broadcasts. Most of them are forgotten instantly.
The one that TNT sideline reporter Lewis Johnson told about Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs on Friday afternoon stood out, though. Mostly because it credited Hannahs’ father Gerry for using behavior that could be described as “tough love” at best and mentally manipulative at worst.
Let’s join Johnson for a tale that honestly made you stop and say “wait … what?” if you were watching the game (Click here if you’d like to watch the clip):
Lewis Johnson: It’s been a great story, Brian. Yesterday, Dusty was telling me about his dad putting him in a lot of tough situations as a kid coming up. Some things others may not have been able to handle. Listen to these stories. Once he was shooting at a rec center as a young boy. He missed several shots in a row and dad left. Dusty got home, the front door was locked and the basketball was outside on the court waiting for him.
A similar situation as a freshman in high school: During a game, Dusty went 0-for-8 from behind the arc. The next time he got the ball, he passed on the shot and at some point he looked up and saw only his mom. And she had that “uh-oh” look on her face. Dad was gone again. And of course the ball was outside. When he got home he shot for 2-3 hours.
He said that’s the way he learned to be tougher on himself. His dad pushed him hard to try and be where he is today. Looks like that tough love … it looks like it worked.
Brian Anderson: Well, I guess there are no participation medals in the Hannahs household.
Chris Webber: Well, I tell you what: When I think of this tournament, I think of families first. That name on the back of that jersey, that represents your family and you have to love it. Just want to give a shout out to his mom for being the balance in that relationship. You always get that extra love from your mom. Great job by dad for the tough love, though.
Honestly, the whole segment was a little surreal and uncomfortable from the stories of the “tough love” themselves to Webber’s explicit approval.
Basketball fans on Twitter immediately took notice.
That Dusty Hannahs Dad story is still bugging me. #HALLIN
— CollegeHoopsDigest (@NCAAhoopsdigest) March 17, 2017
Dusty Hannahs' Dad locking him out w/ball on the porch is a classic hardo Dad move. Didn't make him a scholarship athlete, the genetics did
— Ryan Mahanna (@RyanMahannaNBA) March 17, 2017
That story about Dusty Hannahs' dad locking him out of the house for missing shots in a game is disgusting. Don't praise that, TNT.
— Matt Houston (@MattCHouston) March 17, 2017
Dusty Hannahs' dad is gonna make him walk home after this game for that defense, yo
— Rumble In The Garden (@rumbleSBN) March 17, 2017
The problem with these short March Madness anecdotes about lesser-known players is that they’re short and don’t come anywhere close to telling the full story of a player.
Or in this case, the player and his father. For all we know, the rec center was down the street and dad came out to rebound for him during the shooting sessions.
Still, it was a little weird for those stories to be told, especially when the Hannahs have a few other interesting anecdotes. For example, Gerry Hannahs is a former major league pitcher who grew so close with Dusty Baker that he named his son after him.
The younger Hannahs, meanwhile, was one of the best 3-point shooters in the SEC this season and a big reason Arkansas has advanced to the second round of the tournament. He scored 14 points during Friday’s win over Seton Hall and, as far we know, his dad stayed in his seat.
UPDATE: Dusty Hannahs responded to some of the Internet criticism on Friday night.
Anybody calling my dad a child abuser is a big time softy!!!!! I loved it and it prepared me for any adversity life has thrown my way! #wps
— Dusty Hannahs (@D_Hannahs) March 18, 2017
More March Madness coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Controversial flagrant foul call costs Seton Hall NCAA game
• Las Vegas goes nuts over wild NCAA game ending
• Meet Duke’s biggest villains … in Lego form