Friday, March 7, 2008

It Ends For Everybody

It ends for everybody. It ends for the pro who makes ten million dollars a year. It ends for the high school kid who never comes off the bench. For me, it ended on December 22, 1979, at the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Former LSU all SEC football center and author of "It Never Rains In Tiger Stadium" John Ed Bradley.

For Jaycee Carroll, it will likely end within a couple of weeks. Utah State has chance to win the WAC title at Idaho on Saturday night, then it will be on to the WAC tournament in Las Cruces, New Mexico. If things go well Carroll could end up playing in the NCAA tournament, but more likely the NIT tournament. Carroll will likely finish as the second leading all time scorer in the history of Utah college basketball. This after an illustrious high school career at Evanston High School in Evanston, Wyoming. Is there a place for Carroll in the NBA? Maybe. But it could simply be over, former BYU star and #3 leading scorer in Utah college basketball history Devin Durrant never found a place in the NBA.

This year Carroll will likely finish as the only player in the country to shoot over 50% on three point field goal attempts, over 90% on free throw attempts and over 50% on all field goal attempts. Certainly, other great college players never find a place in the NBA. Names like Bo Kimble of Loyola Marymount, Freeman Williams of Portland State, Kevin Houston of Army, Joe Jakubiak of Akron, and Alfredrick Hughes of Loyola of Illinois -- all tremendous college basketball players each of whom led the nation in scoring, but never found places in the NBA.

I gave it up, gave basketball up, gave my game up, the one I played so badly and adored so completely. I gave it up in Charlotte, in emptiness, in sorrow, in despair that I played it so badly yet in gratitude for what the game had given me...Basketball had rescued me from the malignant bafflement of my boyhood. It had lifted me up and given me friends that I got to call teammates. [Basketball] gave me moments where I brought crowds of strangers to their feet, calling out my name. The game had allowed me to be carried off the court in triumph...I gave it up. I left my game in Charlotte forever. Conroy's thoughts in the locker room following his teams' loss in the Southern Conference tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It's likely Jaycee Carroll won't be carried off the court the way he was when he set the Utah State scoring record ever again, just as Conroy was once carried off the court. Carroll likely will never again bring crowds of strangers to their feet calling out his own name as he has over the last four years at the Spectrum in Logan, Utah.

It ends for everybody. It ends for the pro who makes ten million dollars a year. It ends for the high school kid who never comes off the bench.

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