Wiedmer: Former UTC coaches Shulman and Long both have rooting interests in NBA Finals

John Shulman rests his chin on his right hand as he watches the UTC men's basketball team take on Reinhardt in December 2010 at McKenzie Arena. Shulman was an assistant for the Mocs from 2002 to 2004 and their head coach from 2004 to 2013.

As John Shulman was preparing his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team to face Wake Forest and point guard Chris Paul in the opening round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, he noticed one thing never changed as he watched Demon Deacons game tape.

"Paul was involved in a mess in every single game they played," Shulman, now the head coach at Alabama-Huntsville, said Monday afternoon. "He's just meaner and nastier. He just wants it more than everybody else."

The record will show that a meaner, nastier Paul helped Wake erase a three-point halftime deficit that March 17th night in Cleveland, Ohio, against UTC, the Demon Deacons ultimately prevailing 70-54.

But can a 36-year-old Paul now similarly will the Phoenix Suns to their first NBA title - and his first, as well - when the Suns host the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night in the opening game of the best-of-seven NBA Finals (9 p.m.,