Basketball: Obama’s appearance at Dayton adds to NCAA security headache

This is a different experience at the NCAA tournament, and I’ve been to a couple dozen of these.

Right now, we are trapped in our hotel, held hostage while the neighboring roads are kept clear for the imminent arrival of President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The two are attending Tuesday night’s NCAA tournament First Four games at the University of Dayton, located just across the road from our hotel. There are police everywhere, clearly visible from my fourth-floor window. A helicopter swept through a few minutes ago. There are more fire trucks and ambulances than usual.

The traffic on I-75 South –which is also visible from my room — has been halted. Cars are going northbound; nothing happening the other direction.

And we’re not going anywhere until Mr. President and his pal pass through.

UPDATE: The President’s motorcade just passed through (6:25 p.m. EDT). It was 30 vehicles long, including two black limos, and a bunch of cop cars with lights flashing, unmarked white vans and a large ambulance. They entered the arena parking lot and circled around to a back entrance. Traffic on I-75 South was reopened immediately afterward.

I can only imagine what security is like at the arena for tonight’s two games. I covered a Final Four attended by President Bill Clinton and just getting into the building was a huge headache.

Thank goodness the leaders of the free world leave town tonight.

ROSSI WITH FAMILY: Cal coach Mike Montgomery said Alex Rossi remains at home in suburban Chicago, tending to personal family matters. He won’t be with the team for its game here Wednesday and was not in Los Angeles for the Pac-12 tournament.

The situation at home has no impact on his status with the team, Montgomery said.

REMEMBERING BRAUN: USF coach Stan Heath played the final two seasons of his career at Eastern Michigan for one-time Cal coach Ben Braun, and said the two still talk periodically.

Asked how Braun perhaps influenced his style of coaching, Heath said, “I thought Ben was an extremely start guy who had a unique way of handling players. He was almost like a psychologist, a professor-type. If you did something, he would give you an analogy and make you feel like, ‘OK, that is a better way to do it.’

“He would help you understand what he wanted you to do. He wasn’t yelling at you or dog-chasing or kicking. It was just a mental way he would help communicate with a player, and that’s what I took from him.”



Jeff Faraudo