Radford basketball coach Brad Greenberg remembers the day his younger brother, Seth, engineered one of the biggest upsets in Allen Fieldhouse history.
“I was player-personnel director of the (Portland) Trail Blazers. I remember going in the media room at halftime. Our public-relations director said, ‘Did you see that score?’ I said it had to be a mistake on the screen. He said, ‘It’s a final.’ I couldn’t believe it myself,” Brad said of Long Beach State’s remarkable 64-49 victory over KU on Jan. 25, 1993.
That Long Beach win — make it that Long Beach blowout — was completely unexpected.
Roy Williams’ Jayhawks entered the game 16-1 and ranked No. 1 in the land. Seth Greenberg’s Long Beach State squad was 13-3 and unranked.
KU advanced to the Final Four that year. LBSU fell in the first round of the NCAAs.
“Later I watched the game. It was the most incredible thing,” Brad said. His Radford Highlanders enter today’s 7 p.m. game 4-2 and unranked in another Greenberg-brother meeting versus the No. 1 team in America.
“They (49ers) did play well. But Kansas that game missed a ton of shots that hung on the rim. It was as if some sort of leprechaun was knocking it off. They (49ers) ended up having a good team. Little did anybody know at the time they had (long-time) NBA players in Lucious Harris and Bryon Russell on that team.”
That Long Beach State victory is a source of pride in the Greenberg family. Seth is currently head coach at Virginia Tech.
“I think in his den downstairs in Blacksburg (Va.) he has a Long Beach newspaper or the L.A. Times, some headline with some sort of reference to the Wizard of Oz or something,” Brad said. “Obviously, any time you beat a No. 1 team, it’s special. I don’t have to tell you about the magic of Phog Allen Fieldhouse. It’s one of the special places.”
Radford’s hopes of a similar upset tonight might rest on the shoulders of Artsiom Parakhouski, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound senior center from Minsk, Belarus. He’s averaged 22.3 points and 14.8 rebounds per game for a team that has lost to Duke (104-67) and Duquesne (71-63) and beaten Navy, Lynchburg, Winthrop and Presbyterian.
“We call him ‘Artsy,’ as if he’s a little kid,” Brad Greenberg said with a laugh. “No, we call him Art. Most people call him Art.
“I think he is on the radar for sure with NBA people. He is a guy most teams know they have to see, maybe numerous times. He will be in the draft somewhere.”
It’s KU big man Cole Aldrich vs. Parakhouski tonight in a super sub-plot for the game.
“It’s two guys who will look each other eye-to-eye for the most part,” Greenberg said. “Both have strength and bulk. My suspicion is Cole is a little bigger than the 245 (pounds) you see on the screen. Art is every bit of 270.”
KU coach Bill Self believes Parakhouski is the real deal.
“He’s a big guy who moves very well. We haven’t played anybody like that yet without question,” Self said.