— Spel (@spel81) December 10, 2018
With 5:14 to go in last Wednesday’s 19-point win road over Cal, University of San Francisco point guard Frankie Ferrari drove against Cal freshman Conor Vanover on the right side of the paint. As he neared the baseline, he leaped and zipped a pass to the corner for a Jordan Ratinho three.
The fifth-year senior stumbled out of bounds up his basket by grabbing some popcorn from a front-row patron. Cameras for the Pac-12 Network caught it, and it spread across social media. One version of the video has nearly 54,000 views as of press time,
While Ferrari just saw a snack, USF Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement Vinnie Longo saw an opportunity to promote the program’s best start since the 1999-2000 season, and one of its top players. On Thursday, the Dons (8-1) will host 1-6 Eastern Washington at 7 p.m., and all fans who arrive through the main gate of War Memorial Gym at the Sobrato Center will receive a full bag of popcorn.
“After the clip of Frankie grabbing a snack started to go viral, a lot of input come in from all over the place,” Longo said. “As more people started to respond to the video, the idea of giving out free popcorn surfaced and we knew we had to run with it.”
With 59 assists to just 11 turnovers, Ferrari — a Burlingame product — is fifth in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio this season, 20th in assists per game (6.6) and tied for 23rd in total assists. He’s also one of the core emotional leaders of a team looking for its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years. Any publicity is good publicity.
“I think it’s great, the way the USF community along with the media has taken the story and ran with it,” Ferrari said. “I hope that we can pack the stands on Thursday night and have everyone enjoy some Dons hoops along with some free popcorn.”