The Washington Times - February 4, 2009, 06:58AM

If there’s a word you always hear about in athletics that is no doubt overused, it’s “focus.”

Lots of things have to do with focus, it seems, And the best athletes seem to possess an unlimited reservoir of it.


I, admittedly, do not. Not in an ADD kind of way, where there can be a diagnosis for the situation. It’s more a symptom of being part of the first Remote Control Generation. Disinterested in something? Move along to another option.

This translates into a tendency to scan other scores even while covering games. And it definitely means listening to crowd comments around me when other people effortlessly tune them out.

Last night, that trait was a blessing. The press seating at North Carolina is right in front of a portion of the student section, so there was a chance to be stuck near a bunch of ignoramuses (an experience that happened to me recently in the home gym of another Tobacco Road titan).

Not in Chapel Hill. Not with Carolina students Jay Wilson and Rachelle Jean-Louis maintaining a running commentary during the Tar Heels’ 108-91 defeat of Maryland.

Here’s some snippets I scribbled down as the blowout unfolded. Wilson took care of most of the snarky remarks, with Jean-Louis egging him on throughout the night.

* 12:38 (1st), after a missed 3-pointer: “You trying to build a house?”

* 7:25 (1st), after an off-balance attempt: “You are not LeBron. Why are you taking that shot?”

* 7:14 (1st): “Rivals will give Maryland a 1-star defense.”

* 6:45 (1st): “How do I know your plays better than you do?”

* 3:51 (1st; Carolina up 52-34): “We are cooking.”

* 4.7 (1st, on Wayne Ellington): “He was watching Kobe last night. He saw the 61 points.”

* 15:21 (2nd, after a turnover): “Can we challenge the play? Oh, wait, I forgot it’s not football.”

* 14:05 (2nd, after two missed Ed Davis free throws): “Ed, why do we practice?”

* 9:11 (2nd): “I see you Wayne. Twenty-four points. You’re slacking off in the second half. You need to turn it on.”

*9:07 (2nd, after Ellington drills a 3): “Bam! I’m psychic!”

And the coup de grace, offered up by Jean-Louis in reference to a promotion from regional restaurant chain Bojangle’s:

* 8:12 (2nd): “We’re definitely getting Bojangle’s biscuits tonight because we’re definitely getting 100 tonight.”

There were a couple more highlights —- including glee at winning said biscuits with 5:25 left and an incredulous “What are these, pity fouls?” when the whistles kept blowing in the final few minutes.

In any case, it was highly entertaining. And a basic rule is if you entertain me, you get into the blog in some form or another (Maryland students, take note —- I am listening), regardless of how focused I am.

So best wishes to that crew. Something tells me a seat near them for a North Carolina-Duke game would be a real treat.

—- Patrick Stevens