The biggest star of this year’s NCAA tournament isn’t a member of any basketball team.
St. Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli's 4-year-old grandson stole the show on Thursday during the school’s matchup against the University of Connecticut. The youngster made national headlines during the Atlantic-10 tournament when he was spotted imitating his grandfather’s sideline mannerisms, but he became a star last night after an interview with TBS reporter Allie LaForce.
In the second half, LaForce caught up with the boy as he watched his grandfather’s team defend a narrow lead, For The Win notes. During the interview, he disclosed the secret behind his Coach Martelli impression.
“When I’m grandpa, I have to fold my arms,” Philip said. “And then sometimes when I fold my arms I put two fingers onto my cheek.”
Martelli’s grandson also said that he wasn’t allowed to give interviews during timeouts; he has an important job to do for his team. “In sit-down timeouts, I run all around the court and flap my wings,” he said, describing his impression of St. Joseph’s mascot, the Hawk.
Phil Martelli, his adorable grandson, and St. Joseph's are going to the Big Dance. pic.twitter.com/EiAdPNBObV
— Cindy Boren (@CindyBoren) March 16, 2014
Philip also has another important responsibility during games, though he didn’t realize it until he was off-camera. “Think Martelli’s grandson was cute?” LaForce tweeted. “Should have heard him tell me this: ‘I can’t talk to u during a time out because I’m drawing plays.’”
The antics of Martelli’s grandson weren’t enough to spur the Hawks to the next round; Connecticut pulled out a 89-81 victory. Still, he can always watch his grandpa’s games next season.
A video of LaForce’s interview with Martelli’s grandson can be viewed below.