So sorry to hear about the passing of Jim O’Connell, the warm and wonderful and eccentric national-college basketball writer for the Associated Press.

Mark Blaudschun and Chris Dufresne have done outstanding tributes here at TMG. They knew him far better. I merely want to express my sadness at Ock’s passing and share two memories. . .

We covered a couple of Maui Invitationals together. When I got to the gym, Ock was there. When I left the gym, Ock was there. Some of us were squeezing in our basketball coverage between fun in the sun. Ock was pounding the hardwood beat. And he really did know every coach on a personal level. As Blau noted, Ock was proud that he’d never been to a beach and didn’t own a pair of shorts.

Before I was fully aware of his passions, I once made the mistake of telling Ock I wasn’t all that into Steak N Shake.

From the look on his face, I might have said I didn’t believe in Santa Claus.

I am stopping at the next Steak N Shake I see.