For any Weber State University fan, it’s hard to think about March Madness without thinking of Harold “The Show” Arceneaux and Eddie “The Thrill” Gill combining for 52 points in their Cinderella win over the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina, the biggest upset of the 1999 NCAA Tournament in Seattle.
“During college basketball season, I think about that game all the time,” Gill said. “And obviously when the tournament rolls around, it goes to a whole new level.”
The university inducted the duo into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame last month. The reunion provided an opportunity for the two to reminisce about not only the memorable game, but their careers as Wildcats.
“The Carolina game was great,” Arceneaux said, “but it was other memories throughout that season that I remember, and it was big for me.”
Arceneaux recalled the coach of Texas Tech University telling him he wasn’t good enough to be a Division I ball player. The coach of the Wildcats at the time, Ron Abegglen, then scheduled a game between the two schools, and the Wildcats came out on top.
“That was one of my biggest moments,” Arceneaux said.
Both Gill and Arceneaux said they treated the legendary UNC game like any other game.
“We’d been playing together since junior college, so for us, it was just a game,” Arceneaux said. “For us, it was the same. We were always together, getting in trouble together, so it was just another day.”
UNC was the No. 3 seed coming into the 1999 game, whereas WSU was the 14th. But Gill said that didn’t bother them.
“I never look at any opponent and think that they’re so great,” he said. “I just happened to go to a different school than (them). That’s the way I look at it.”
Gill’s perspective and tough attitude helped him go on to play nine NBA seasons, and two seasons overseas in Italy and Russia.
Arceneaux played international ball since he left WSU. He now coaches and plays in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“There were a lot of experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to get a hold of without my basketball experience starting here,” said Gill of WSU. “Basketball enabled me to get my schooling paid for, which, had I not had it, I don’t know if I could have afforded that opportunity.”
Arceneaux also spoke highly of his coach, and his decision to go with WSU.
“Coach A. did a great job recruiting me,” he said. “When he came to my house, he made me feel comfortable. Weber was one of the best decisions of my life.”
Arceneaux also said basketball and WSU have been a “blessing” in his life, considering his low-income beginnings in the projects.
As to these Wildcat legends’ induction into the Hall of Fame, Arceneaux said they’re in good company.
“When you know all the great players who played here, to be among those players, it’s a great thing.”
For Gill, it might not have sunk in just yet.
“It’s extremely important,” he said. “I think I’ll really grasp it all probably 10, 20 years from now. But knowing what ‘Hall of Fame’ means, that’s a select group that you’re now a part of. It means the world to me.”
With the Wildcats recently becoming the fourth No. 16 seed in three years to lose to a No. 1 seed by single digits in their loss to the University of Arizona, WSU fans can only wonder when Cinderella will once again wear purple. For now, fans can reflect on the past NCAA Tournament wins, and only hope for more to come in the future.