By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – 10,000 Twitter followers to the man who saved Philadelphia sports for the week? I’d say that’s a fair request.
La Salle junior guard Ty Garland’s “Southwest Philly Floater,” gave the La Salle Explorers a 76-74 victory over Ole Miss on Sunday night, and a trip to the Sweet 16.
“I was like at one thousand, now I’m at like three thousand [Twitter followers],” Garland told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano on Monday. “Hopefully I can get in the K’s, I think that would be great. I got a lot of Instagram followers as well. I had like 511 after the game. That’s just great and it just goes to show how people are showing love. It’s great for Philly basketball man.”
Getting in the K’s means over 10,000. Twitter just uses “10k, 11k, etc …” instead of specific numbers. Garland’s handle is @tygarland.
The shot was big, but Garland’s post-game interview may have been even bigger.
“That’s what everybody was saying, I was so Philadelphia in my interview,” he said. “Everybody was tweeting and saying that was the greatest interview they ever saw. It was a big shot. My own teammate, Tyreke Duren, gave me the ball and I just had the confidence go in there and take the shot.”
“It’s just been so crazy. Everybody has been saying—it’s been trending on Twitter. Celebrities been re-tweeting it. It just brings like tears to my moms eyes, to my families eyes. I’m just happy for the university as well—I’m happy for coach as well too. It just makes everybody happy and that’s what I like to see because I’m a happy person, I just like to see people happy. Coming from the transfer and all that, it was a down year for me, and this has taken a lot off my chest and shoulders which is great. I’m just happy I came home,” he said.
His cousin Bern was the one who taught him the shot, and Garland made sure to thank him in the famous interview.
“That’s my cousin, I love him to death. He’s the one that put the basketball in my head when I was two. Thankfully, he did that for me,” Garland said.
“That’s the home right there. Myers gym and Myers playground, back when I was a youngster growing up. It’s a little watered down now because there’s just so much crime and shootings that was going around at the parks so they really don’t have a league no more. Back then, it used to be one of the best leagues in Philly—Well, the best league in Philly,” Garland said.
The next step is Wichita State, and maybe a trip to the Elite 8 for the Explorers. If they carry the same attitude they have so far, a victory doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.
“It was a lot of people that counted us out,” Garland said. “I don’t really pay attention much to what people say, but as college basketball players we watch ESPN and we watch all the rest of the games and they just were saying Ole Miss was just too big for us down low and they were going to dominate us on the glass and we were going to lose. There were a couple people—I think Jay Bilas said that he likes our guards and we were going to win. We just had the mindset that we know we can play with anybody, if we just play hard and play tough.”