After turning 23 this past weekend, I return to the Blog a little wiser. It’s the difference between a boy and a man. Between a win and a loss. Between Jason Williams and Michael Jordan.
And just like MJ, I didn’t make my high school basketball varsity team. But that’s beside the point, although still very much top-of-mind. The bottom line is that Seton Hall played one of the most epic games of basketball I’ve ever seen on Saturday, and it would be foolish not to celebrate such a wonderful show of sport. Ordinarily I would complain about the questionable coaching and general lack of mental toughness down the stretch, but not today. Because today, I’m a little more mature than that.
Allow me to paint the scene, using words instead of paint. With 8 seconds left, the score was tied. St. Johns had the ball. Gonzo opted to press, which would prove costly, as Anthony Mason Jr. would be left open for a three, his fifth of the game. It’s hard to describe exactly how insane Young Mase played in the second half. With a haircut half Arsenio Hall, half Beetlejuice from the Howard Stern Show, Young Mase went absolutely nuts. Taking after his father who used to shave motivational messages into the side of his head while playing on the Knicks, Young Mase went literally insane. He hit everything.
Anyway, back to the game. So, with 2 seconds remaining, Eugene Harvey inbounded the ball to Hazell, who caught the ball at the other team’s three-point line. Shooting a bit prematurely, Hazell launched a prayer of unimaginable depth. But somewhere God was listening. Because the shot banked home. All of Queens falls silent. Magic has happened.
But wait!! Gonzo called timeout before the shot was released! No good! Doesn’t count!
As I said before, I refuse to criticize the Hall for this performance. This was one of the most incredible finishes I’ve ever witnessed, albeit terribly devastating. But the outcome was more far-reaching than just the outcome of the game.
Dave had been in Facebook correspondence with Jeremy Hazell all week, and it was looking likely that the Rain Man himself might make an appearance at the party. But after such a devastating loss, Hazell just didn’t have it in him. He was too dejected. Too distraught.
Jeremy, my man, I feel your pain. There’s always next year. In Jerusalem!