What’s in a name? Well, let’s go back 20-odd years to a hospital in New Jersey. Natalie Fleming was in early labor, so what’s a husband to do to pass the waiting time? Watch SportsCenter, of course.
“Iverson is a last name?” Natalie asked. “I kind of like it for a first name.”
Which is why, the other night at Minnesota, the leading scorer for the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds with 24 points was senior guard Iverson Fleming.
Not every player in college basketball is named John Smith. Here are some who aren’t, and why.
Senior | Guard | Cal State Fullerton
Prominent on this list last season, he was a surer repeat than Kansas is in the Big 12. Yes, Lionheart is the king of… any all-name team.
With his mother enduring serious health problems during delivery, the little guy wasn’t given much of a chance to be born. That was his first upset victory. The doctors said he had the heart of a lion.
So, what if he’d have to spend the rest of his life explaining that, yes, it’s his real name?
Freshman | Guard | North Carolina
Do you know your Genesis? Louis and Monica Woods do, including the verse about God blessing and resting on the seventh day. Hence, Seventh Day’Vonte Woods would be the youngest of their six kids, not to mention the one with the best jump shot.
Now if only the Tar Heels could win couple of titles while he’s in Chapel Hill, his name could also stand for the number of North Carolina national championships.
Junior | Guard | Boston University
OK, so maybe you didn’t know that Cheddi B. Jagan once led Guyana to independence in the 20th century and was one of the most influential Caribbean politicians of his time. But, Michael and Robyn Mosley did. Which is why the third leading scorer for the Terriers is Cheddi, and his brother Jagan is a freshman guard at Georgetown.
Cleveland “Pancake” Thomas
Senior | Guard | Western Kentucky
It came from his grandmother, and the presumption has always been that the kid liked his flapjacks for breakfast.
“It’s a different story behind it, and I don’t want to break it yet,” the Hilltoppers’ third leading scorer said the other day. “Back home, I’ve got friends I grew up with, and they still don’t know my real name.”
Everybody calls him Pancake. Actually, his real name is Cleveland, which puts him on this list, too.
Freshman | Guard | Massachusetts
His mother just liked it, isn’t that enough? Also, there was an older kid in the neighborhood with the same name, which makes it a pretty unique neighborhood.
Junior | Guard | Chicago State
Nope, it doesn’t come from the state.
His late father Michael was into fashion, and that included designers Claude Montana and Christian Dior, which he thought would be fine names for a son. His wife Dwana insisted the middle name be after the father. Hence, Montana Michael Byrd.
Senior | Forward | Little Rock
Cedrick Billings has always loved to watch westerns. With westerns, you get cowboys, and cowboys wear hats. Stetsons, to be exact. So along came a son for Cedrick and April, and they were looking for something unusual, but not too hard to pronounce or spell. You can probably take it from there.
Freshman | Guard | Providence
He was the first born in his family. And, his grandfather was named Alpha, so it seemed to fit. No word on if, had he been the second born, it would have been Beta.
Junior | Guard | UTEP
This leading scorer’s father was Omega. His father’s father was Omega. So make that Omega III. Just think if the Miners ever play Providence. It could be Alpha against Omega.
Junior | Center | Houston
You can probably guess his birthday. Feb. 14, right?
But then again, San Diego State senior center Valentine Izundu was born Feb. 19. He was supposed to come along on the 14th but was late. His mother liked the name too much to quibble.
Freshman | Forward | CSU Bakersfield
Kenya Southerland planned on her newborn’s name starting with a T, because she had already nicknamed him Tigger for the way he bounced around the womb.
But Tigger for a real name? Nah. She has French ancestry, and Taize is a community in Burgundy with a monastic order. So, voila!
Sophomore | Guard | Georgia Southern
The name came from his grandmother, in lieu of his full given name. Quindarious Deavundre Brown. The Georgia Southern public address announcer is eternally grateful to the lady.
Tookie, the Eagles’ second leading scorer, has a sister on the Georgia Southern women’s team. Given name is Alexis, grandmother came up with Pumpkin. Alexis prefers Alexis, thank you.
There are more holdovers from last year’s list. SMU’s Shake Milton, whose late father Myrion was called Milkman during his playing days at Texas A&M. Hence, his son might be officially Malik Benjamin, but he was really Shake while still in the womb, and it stuck. Better than Milk Dud.
Florida senior guard Canyon Barry, who last year was at Charleston and is now the Gators’ third leading scorer. He still owes his name to how much his father – former NBA star Rick – and wife Lynn loved the Grand Canyon. Imagine had they loved the Marianas Trench more.
Tennessee sophomore forward Admiral Schofield, whose father is a retired Navy man, and clearly wanted his son to aim higher than chief petty officer. He was born, by the way, in the same London hospital as princes William and Harry.
Eastern Washington junior guard Sir Washington, whose father wanted the name of first born to be Mister, but bowed to his aghast wife. The compromise was that the second son would be Sir.
Michigan State junior guard Tum Tum Nairn Jr., given first name of Lourawls. That’s a combination of a grandfather’s admiration for a singer and a mother’s love of the movie “3 Ninjas.”
Stetson junior guard Divine Myles, averaging 16 points this season, who so defied ominous reports from the doctors at birth, his parents wanted something permanent to stand for the odds he had beaten. And in case people still didn’t get the point, they made his middle name Miracle.
UT Arlington senior forward Faith Pope, whose mother was looking for a constant reminder to believe that hard times would get better. Such as every time she called her son’s name.
And lastly, Middle Tennessee junior Giddy Potts, so named because he was always laughing as a kid. If anyone thinks he was happy then, they should have seen him last March when he put 19 points on Michigan State to upset the Spartans in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tom Izzo was not giddy.