There was a loud crash and suddenly glass was all over the floor.
No. No backboards were broken by a thunderous dunk in practice. A beverage cart tipped over at the DiGiorgio Center just while the Winthrop Basketball Tip-off Dinner was in progress Tuesday night.
The incident seemed to be the lone mishap on a busy Tuesday as the Eagles prepare for their season-opening contest Saturday afternoon against Queens.
The day began with the season's first Coaches' Luncheon. The semi-weekly gathering was hosted by McHale's restaurant on East Main Street. Winthrop men's coach Randy Peele spoke to a group of about 40 fans. Peele then did a 30-minute radio show on site with Eagles' play-by-play man Dave Friedman.
Between segments Peele took a phone call regarding a press conference being planned for one of his recruits, James Bourne, in Arlington, Va. Bourne signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. The Eagles were awaiting signed commitments from point guard Andre Smith and forward Fred Mattison on Wednesday afternoon.
All the while, rumors swirled about a mystery 7-foot big man Peele and his staff are trying to lure to Rock Hill.
Tuesday afternoon was practice time for the men's team at the Winthrop Coliseum. Seated in the front row of one of the end zones was ESPN college basketball color analyst Jay Bilas. Bilas was the guest speaker at the Tip-off Dinner where the men's and women's basketball teams were introduced. Then the men's 2009-10 Big South championship rings were distributed.
Peele has known Bilas for more than 15 years. He called Bilas two months ago in September to ask him to speak.
"I was on a recruiting trip," Peele began, "I remember I was on a two-lane road somewhere when I called him and asked him to speak at our dinner. He said he'd do it as long as nothing came up with ESPN."
So sure of that conversation, Peele admitted he didn't talk to Bilas again until this week.
"You are coming, aren't you?" Peele asked Bilas with a nervous phone call.
"I'll be there," came the reply.
Bilas remembers Peele's first request a little differently.
"Jay? This is Randy Peele," Bilas told the Tip-off Dinner crowd. "I have two questions for you. Do you believe in America? And, do you believe in free speech?"
Bilas answered yes to both queries.
"Then come to Winthrop and give a speech!" Peele said.
The two met the night before the Big South tournament championship game in 1995. Peele was the head coach for UNC Greensboro; Bilas was a day away from his first television broadcast.
Peele and his team were staying at a Holiday Inn Express in Lynchburg, Va. Peele, Bilas and the other coaches watched game film together, preparing in their own ways for the next day's championship game. Bilas, Peele and several coaches talked basketball until the wee hours.
UNC Greensboro lost to Charleston Southern on a tip-in buzzer beater. Bilas remembers saying on air just before the final play, "Sometimes it isn't the first shot you have to defend, it's the tip-in."
Bilas looks back at the play as one that made him look pretty smart. Truth is, he was lucky and well-prepared. The game launched his career.
Peele lost the game but won a friend who is now recognized as one of the foremost college basketball analysts in the country.
Bilas gave a speech about treating every game as if it is a championship game. Bilas recalled his former basketball coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, telling the team before a game against a nondescript opponent, "This is the most important game of the season."
Bilas and his teammates were surprised. The opponent wasn't North Carolina or North Carolina State. The game should be an easy win.
The lesson Krzyzewski wanted his team to learn was to be champions, you must act like a champion in all that you do. Bilas said he has prepared for every college basketball game as if it was a championship.
After watching Tuesday's practice where Peele worked the Eagles hard on transition defense Bilas was impressed. Peele's practices are no-nonsense and well-organized. Bilas made sure the 300-plus in attendance at the Tip-off Dinner knew that not all college basketball practices are run in the same manner Winthrop's are conducted.
Backboards intact, the men's team has two more practices before going live to defend their Big South championship.