THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS is a feature documentary film that tells the story of real student-athletes who will never go on to the NBA, and may never play competitive basketball again, but fight with everything they have to bring home the one trophy this storied small college team has yet to win: The NCAA Division III National Championship. The film, produced over a three-year time frame, had its world premiere on Saturday, December 13, 2014, at the Schemed Music Center on the College of Wooster campus. DVDs ($25) or Digital Downloads ($15) are available through PayPal or check (see sidebar).
Scroll down to view two selected scenes from THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS.
To order by mail, send a check payable to TMBG Productions to:
144 W. Liberty St., 3rd Floor
Wooster, OH 44691
DVDs are $25. Digital Downloads are $15.
THE MARCH MADNESS YOU NEVER SEE …
Every year March Madness draws millions of viewers to the nation’s most famous basketball tournament featuring players many of whom are headed to fame and multi-million dollar contracts with the NBA. Yet, as the Division One NCAA bracket is just getting started, in Salem, Virginia, an equally competitive – but virtually unseen – men’s college basketball tournament is building to its final climax with its own Final Four. Welcome to NCAA’s Division Three … or D3.
In the spirit of Hoosiers and Hoop Dreams, we are producing a cinema verite-style documentary that tells the story of one of the best D3 teams in the country, the Fighting Scots of the College of Wooster, as they battle their way through the 2012-2013 season in search of the ultimate title – the only one that has eluded them to date: The D3 National Championship.
With no athletic scholarships allowed in D3 schools, the players on these teams play just for the love of the game, while also holding down full academic class loads as history majors, chemistry majors, business majors and philosophy majors. Many once dreamed of getting “D1 looks” during their last high school season, but when those offers don’t materialize the chance to get a good liberal arts education and play on a winning team, even if it is in Division III, suddenly seems pretty appealing.
While perhaps an inch or two shorter, the Fighting Scots’ dedication to the game, their energy, athleticism and drive are just as strong as what is on display in Division One arenas ten times the size of the Timken Gymnasium. But loyal Buckeye fans 95 miles south in Columbus have nothing over the loyal following found for the team from the eponymous town of Wooster, Ohio, a rural county seat of some 26,000 people. The local radio station broadcasts all home and away games; with just one camera, the local cable outlet sends the games into local homes and bars just about every Wednesday and Saturday night during the season; and the games routinely make front page news in the Wooster Daily Record.
While telling the story of the Scots run for the championship, the film will go off the court and behind the scenes, into the locker room, the dorm rooms, the classrooms to get to know the players and coaches. For nearly all D3 players, this will be their last team, their last competitive league, and, for the seniors, their last season. Some may go on to coach, but most take their degrees from this unique liberal arts college and pursue lives and professions as far away from basketball as can be imagined. When it comes to winning the whole thing, one doesn’t need to tell them it’s now or never.
For the seniors and juniors on Coach Steve Moore’s team, the taste of nearly winning a national championship in 2011 is still bittersweet, and after a year of rebuilding, their determination and confidence that they can go all the way will be stronger than ever. In the 2010-2011 season, the Scots opened with a 20-0 record – the most number of consecutive victories in school history – and were ranked Number One in the nation for eight consecutive weeks. Then, late in the season, the streak was broken in heart-breaker to Wabash by just one point in overtime. A week later, the team suffered its only other loss of the regular season – by four points against arch-rival Wittenberg. But they regrouped, winning the North Coast Athletic Conference league season championship for the seventh consecutive season, and breezed through the NCAC tournament, getting revenge against Wittenberg in the finals with a 82-68 win. It was the ninth time in the last 13 seasons they’ve won the conference tournament, and headed into the 61-team D3 national tournament as one of four regional top seeds. In 2003 and 2007, Wooster reached the Final Four but that’s as far as they’d ever gotten. To make it to the 2011 finals, they staged a thrilling come back, erasing a 17-point deficit with less than 9 minutes remaining to defeat Williams College by a score of 73-71. But there the dream ended, as the next day, St. Thomas outplayed the Scots, who fell behind in the first half and could not repeat the previous night’s heroics, losing 78-54.
After 25 years coaching at Wooster, Steve Moore has set his sights to go all the way – and his players know it. Moore, 56, brings an intensity to the game in which his voice can be as loud as his face can be red. His dedication and passion inspire tremendous loyalty and affection from team members. “He’s like a second father,” said one member of the team that almost went all the way. “He’s the best coach I’ve ever had … and the most intense.” Assistant Coach Doug Cline comments on Moore’s style of leadership, explaining, “There have been practices where the guys aren’t going hard enough after loose balls and Coach dives down on the floor himself to show them how to do it.” In a practice session last season he was demonstrating the proper way to take a charge and was flattened by one of the starters. It made an impression on the rest of the team.
With over 600 wins, he has the best all-time Division 3 winning percentage of any coach who has lasted 10 seasons or more. And in the last decade he has coached the Scots to the best overall record of any college basketball team in the nation – all divisions.
The 2012-2013 season will provide the backbone for the narrative of the film, but the players themselves – the student-athletes with as much riding on their grades as on their stats – will give the film its heart and soul. For those in the audience whose childhood dreams of playing for the pros will never go beyond the dream stage, these committed athletes will show them that there are, indeed, other places where being a star may not make you rich but brings its own equally satisfying rewards.