CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ye olde (tournament) notebook:
In a perfect start to the 100th edition of the boys state basketball tournament, SSAC officials asked the 99-year-old coaching legend to toss up the ceremonial jump ball.
"He did it better than some of our officials," said SSAC executive director Gary Ray.
Afterward, D'Antoni, father of Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, sat in the stands, wearing a Lakers jacket. To his left were son Mark, a partner for the Bowles Rice law firm in Charleston, and Don Nuckols, another state coaching legend.
"I shoulda practiced," the elder D'Antoni joked about the jump ball. "But this is great to come and be part of this, the centennial. Everybody's been so nice to me."
D'Antoni coached over 450 victories at the former Mullens and Chesapeake (Ohio) high schools. His Mullens team won a state title in - take a moment to consider this - 1955.
He also took teams to the state event in 1951, '52, '54 and '56. Those trips were to Morgantown and Huntington.
"In '56 we went back to Morgantown," D'Antoni recalled. "We lost to East Bank and Jerry West, who scored about 44. I lost a couple nights of sleep over that wondering why we couldn't stop him. But then he went to college and no one could stop him. Then he went to the NBA and no one could stop him. After that I figured maybe we did a pretty good job."
D'Antoni has fared well in all aspects of life. After coaching, he was a principal at Mullens. His sons Mike and Dan are coaching the Lakers, the latter as an assistant. Mark is a successful lawyer. Dr. Kathy Jo D'Antoni is an assistant state superintendent.
The topic of Lakers basketball, though, is ever present.
"I was worried to start the season," Lewis D'Antoni said. "Two or three egos were getting in the way. But they're getting it straightened out, I hope."
The elder D'Antoni remains sharp. And thankful.
"Basketball has been wonderful to me," he said. "To me and my family. I don't know what life would be without it."