Blue roundup: Cleveland on "Marriott Center magic"

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 20 2011 4:02 p.m. MST

Baylor's #55 Pierre Jackson ,left, battles with BYU's #10 Matt Carlino under the basket as BYU and Baylor play Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 in the Marriott Center in Provo. Baylor won 86-83.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

Steve Cleveland took over as the head coach of BYU basketball at the program's nadir. The Cougars were coming off a 1-25 season when he accepted the job in 1997.

But Cleveland worked tirelessly to guide BYU back to conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances before leaving for Fresno State in 2005. Now, Cleveland is working as a broadcaster for BYUtv. He reflects on "Marriott Center Magic" in his latest BYUtv blog.

"The atmosphere in the Marriott Center was electric and rockin’ during the BYU/Baylor game," Cleveland writes. "A sold-out crowd of 22,000 enjoyed one of the greatest college games ever played in that arena. Watching that game brought back some special memories. There was a time, not so long ago, that the Magic of the Marriott Center did not exist as we know it today. During that 1-25 season of 1996-97, the Marriott Center was like an empty cavern. There were those faithful fans, but the numbers were frightfully low."

Freshman guard Matt Carlino had quite a debut last Saturday against Baylor, pouring in 18 points. Check out some other memorable Cougar basketball debuts, including from Danny Ainge, Shawn Bradley, Russell Larson and Devin Durrant.

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