Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Distraught Darius Washington

March 15, 2005 Columns No Comments




The Agony of Defeat in Memphis

by Phil Kasiecki

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Darius Washington had to be the sickest man in America on Saturday.

The scene at the FedEx Forum said it all. Washington was just laying on the floor motionless, his head buried in his jersey, and no one able to get him up. The same player who helped carry his team to the brink of the Conference USA championship and the NCAA Tournament had to be carried off the floor. Like any athlete who has just lost an important game, the fact that he scored eight points in the final five minutes and 18 in the second half (23 points and six assists in the game) and was the reason they even got that far, mattered not.

It’s easy to look at some of his previous plays and not feel an ounce of sympathy, but this isn’t the time to take the hard stand. Earlier, Washington was nodding his head when he scored key baskets, even though his team was still coming from behind. He had similar reactions upon being fouled with no time left and his team down two, nodding his head and pounding his chest multiple times as if he had just won the game – even though that wasn’t the case. On the first free throw, he followed through with his right hand still in the air as it went through.

But the next two free throws are just part of why we can’t take this hard stand, along with the fact that he’s still a young kid and just playing with emotion. When he missed the second one, giving Louisville a 75-74 win and the Conference USA title, he collapsed to the floor like a ton of bricks. That was all that was needed.

“Obviously Darius made every play down the stretch to keep us in the game, and the kid is just distraught over the three free throws,” head coach John Calipari said after the game. Washington did not speak with reporters, for obvious reasons.

The NIT beckons for the Tigers, and the season thus far has certainly been a trial-by-fire for the Winter Park, Florida native. He didn’t exactly set the college basketball world on fire at first, although he certainly showed promise. In his first college game, he had eight assists and two turnovers in a win over Savannah State. Perhaps his first bad game was in the Tip-Off Classic, where Maryland blew out the Tigers. Washington was just 4-12 from the field, with one assist and six turnovers, a game that Calipari said was “a little bit of a wakeup call for Darius.”

Washington didn’t instantly mature, as he had similar games against Pittsburgh (2-10 shooting, one assist and four turnovers) and Ole Miss (two assists, eight turnovers despite scoring 20 points, a career-high at the time). He had his worst shooting game against Providence, going just 2-for-13 from the field. But that game, a loss, may have been the point where he really turned the corner. It was his last game scoring in single digits, as he averaged over 17 points per game the rest of the way, and he had a 1.1 assist/turnover ratio.

Calipari has said that he gets on Washington as hard as anyone in practice. He’s as talented as anyone they have, and as their floor leader, much is expected of him. As the season went along, he started to fulfill what was expected of him. The Tigers went as he went this season to a good degree, which often happens with a team and its floor leader. And on Saturday, it’s only fitting that as he missed two of three free throws at the end of the game, the Tigers ended up losing – though Washington did all he could to put them in the position to win. They didn’t lose because of him by a long shot; allowing Louisville to make 15-of-23 three-pointers contributed to the loss a lot more than anything the freshman point guard did.

Washington has clearly grown during the season, and with all his talent, he has some great times ahead. If the past is any indicator, he will grow from Saturday’s experience as well, starting with their first NIT game on Wednesday night. He will remember the feeling, and it will be one more thing that motivates him to keep growing as a basketball player.

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.