Fadeaways and Heartbreak

Art by KAWS.

Great and wondrous it may be, but basketball will inevitably break your heart, often in unexpected and inventive ways.  (Wasn’t there even a TV show about this?)

Just ask Adam Morrison, one of the coolest college players ever seen by the 35-and-under crowd.  Morrison wore his heartbreak on his sleeve when he cried at the end of his final collegiate game, an NCAA tournament loss to UCLA.  He got no shortage of grief for it, either.

Adam Morrison was overcome after the Gonzaga Bulldogs were eliminated from the 2006 NCAA tournament. Photo by John W. McDonough, courtesy of cnnsi.com.

UCLA’s comeback win over Gonzaga was not the worst that the game had in store for Morrison, however.  Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick recently interviewed Morrison and published this excellent account of a discouraging NBA career (although he has two more rings than Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley combined) that culminated in crushing humiliations by Jimmy Kimmel, of all people.

Morrison has apparently rediscovered his love of the game and is currently playing for Besiktas in Turkey, but even that sweet mustache cannot cover over such a huge dose of angst.

On the local front, ODU’s final regular season game, a 73-72 loss to conference leader Drexel, was a heartbreak extravaganza.

Kent Bazemore of ODU missed a game-tying foul shot in the final second of Saturday's loss. Photo by Stephen M. Katz, courtesy of pilotonline.com.

Playing his final home game, Kent Bazemore scorched Drexel with 37 points, breaking a career high that he set just a week ago.  There is no question that Bazemore gave the home crowd an incredible performance to remember him by (12-23 from the floor, 12 rebounds, 2 steals), but what Bazemore will probably remember best from Senior Day is the 38th point that cruelly escaped him.

ODU mounted a furious comeback over the game’s final minute, and Bazemore was fouled on a three-point attempt with 0.7 seconds left and the Monarchs trailing 73-70.  After converting the first two, Bazemore missed the third free-throw and the buzzer sounded.

Although it didn’t change ODU’s seed for this weekend’s CAA tournament and likely didn’t change the Monarchs’ postseason prospects, the loss still stings.

ODU senior Trian Iliadis goes to the goal against Missouri earlier this season. Photo by Amanda Lucier, courtesy of pilotonline.com.

Perhaps worse than the loss, though, was the fate of senior guard Trian Iliadis, who hails from Perth, Australia.  During the first three years of his career, Iliadis was primarily a long-range shooting specialist, but he earned 16 starts this season and emerged as a versatile player capable of handling a lot of minutes. During the Monarchs’ road win against Georgia State last Wednesday night, Iliadis injured his knee while taking an offensive foul, and later learned that he had suffered an ACL tear that would end his season and his career at ODU.

Iliadis was inactive on Senior Day, and missed the rare opportunity to play in front of his parents, who traveled to Norfolk from Down Under for the game.

A heartbreaking end to Iliadis’ fine college career.

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