So this happened the Tuesday night during the Wake game. ESPN pretty much caught the most awkward hug ever by Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones. The whole thing reminded me of the scene in Wedding Crashers where Vince Vaughn talks about the “ass out hug.”
I’d like to break this hug down frame by frame in what I’m calling the “Awkward Moments in Duke History” segment at Duke Report.
Matt is clearly looking out at the floor, and is not really contemplating a hug situation. He’s thinking about his future playing time, his date for Saturday night, and how many waffles he’s going to eat before the UNC game. Thornton, obviously, mistakes the far away look in Matt’s eyes as the go-ahead for a bro hug.
Thornton closes in. He’s still clueless, and at this point it seriously looks like Matt has no idea what’s about to happen. He’s like an innocent hug bystander. The intensity he’s showing for the floor is positive though, it means he’s ready to get out there and do work. I guess there’s an entirely real chance that he’s noticed Thornton is going in for the hug and is trying desperately to avoid it by not making eye contact. It’s a level Voldemort hug at this point.
Seriously the focus Matt is showing here is nothing short of amazing. It’s like me when I see a stack of all you can eat pancakes. Matt has another man’s arms all the way around him and his eyes have never moved once. He hasn’t even blinked. As for Thornton, my god man, learn how to hug. It’s real weird. I’ve never seen a hug technique like this before in my life. He’s got the go in right, but just like in sales, it’s all about the close with hugs. Terrible closing right now. Terrible.
Matt is ice cold. Ice cold. Eyes still haven’t moved. Thornton has the head turn in, like he’s finally realized this is the most awkward moment of his life, and he’s really wishing he could just wrap this whole thing up, but he’s still committed to the hug. Still hasn’t closed his arms though, which is just weird. I mean, I think someone offered to high five him or something behind Matt’s back, but who gives a two-handed hand clasped high five with a man in between you? Thornton needs a lesson in hug protocol. It’s like A Night at the Roxbury, Thornton is Jim Carrey, the other person is Chris Kattan and Matt is the poor girl in the middle about to get dry humped. Also: 100% sure the guy right behind Jones is Laurence Fishburne.
Thornton, recognizing the moment is gone and he’s really made some bad decisions, gives up. Matt just keeps staring like he wishes it were over. Seriously, the coldness Matt is showing here had better turn up in his three point shooting next year. He’s like a dude who gets up after a marathon love making session and just walks away, not even saying goodbye to the girl who seriously thought she’d met the man of her dreams and they were going to get married even though they met at a club called “Sticky” 35 minutes ago.
It all hits home for Thornton here. Good grief even Hairston feels sorry for him. Look at him, full of respect for Matt’s stare game and at the same time full of grief for Thornton. It’s just like the look he gets when he shoots a 19-foot jump shot with 31 seconds left on the shot clock. Thornton is replaying the entire hug in his head, just wishing he had another chance and he would close those arms up. He would, you can read it all over his face. He’d bear hug the snot out of Matt, and he’d make him look him in the eye when he was doing it, too.
So there you have it, the first ever “Awkward Moments in Duke History.” I hope there are many more to come, and I really hope Matt Jones learns to accept Tyler Thornton as a bad hugger and they can all just move on from this.