He’s 73 years old and playing college basketball


Ken Mink did not star in the movie “Cocoon” or its sequel, although Hollywood has already come calling. The Farragut, Tenn., resident did not stumble upon a Fountain of Youth in his backyard, either.

A long-time itch pushed the 73-year-old Mink back to the basketball court last summer…

He’s playing for Roane State, a junior college in Tennessee.  Roane State is coached by Randy Nesbit, who once upon a time was the head basketball coach at The Citadel, so he’s used to working with players who may not be quite as talented as typical college hoopsters.  Nesbit also teaches in Roane’s business school, incidentally.

According to the article, Mink got thrown out of another junior college 50 years or so ago for a prank gone bad (he says he was innocent) and recently wrapped a long career as a newspaper editor.  He’s apparently still eligible for one season of JuCo ball, and Nesbit was the one local coach willing to give him a shot.

As you could probably guess, Mink is planning on writing a book about his experience, and says that Hollywood is already nosing around.

Imagine being one of Roane State’s opponents.  Nesbit plans on playing Mink only when the Raiders have a big lead in a game, which strikes me as extra motivation for an opposing team.  You don’t want to suffer the indignity of being blown out, and then have a 73-year-old guy walk on the court, especially knowing his teammates are going to do everything possible to get Mink in the scoring column.   If you’re the teammate who feeds Mink for that first basket, you know you’re going to be portrayed in the inevitable movie, so everyone’s going to try to get him the ball.

After looking at the Roane State roster, I’m hoping that Mink’s first hoop is assisted by Camille Ngon a’ Ngon.

Roane’s first home game (I’m guessing Mink would only play in home games) is against King’s JV team on November 3.  I don’t know if he would play in a game that early in the season, but he will have a chance to get into a home game on back-to-back days on November 21 and 22 (against Dyersburg State and Southwest, respectively).

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