FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — March is the month of madness for college basketball fans in America, but in the Middle East, it’s madness of a different sort.
General Tommy Franks is calling the shots for “Operation Iraqi Freedom” from Central Command in Doha, Qatar, a place the University of Arkansas’ Darren Sorenson knows well.
He called jump shots there just three years ago, from April through November of 2000, as head coach of Qatar’s 18-and-under junior national team, and as an assistant coach of the 21-and-under national team and the pro team.
Qatar borders Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Except for the capital city of Doha, it’s mostly a barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel. No bigger than the state of Connecticut, Ca-tar or Cutter, whichever you prefer, has limited natural fresh water, and dust and sandstorms are common. It’s 95 degrees by 7 a.m. and temperatures routinely reach 120, but Sorenson jumped at the chance to go.
Actually, while talking to Ed Andrist, his college coach at Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wis., where he played from 1991-95, he deprived someone else of the opportunity.