A Basketball Life
I remember picking up a basketball for the first time. I was five and it was me and my dad in the driveway.
I remember the first game I ever played in high school. I was a freshman and hit a floater from the free throw line in a scrimmage. I didn’t play all that much.
I remember the first time I dunked. I was going into my sophomore year and we were all trying to throw it down on the rims at old Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh.
I remember all my high school games, the AAU travel teams, the countless hours in gyms around Garner and Raleigh and the Triangle – the hotbed of basketball in the state of North Carolina.
I remember knowing I was good enough to play at the highest level and remember the frustration when none of the local schools believed in me.
I remember my first meeting with Coach Christian and how much he believed in me. He had a vision and I wanted to be a part of his program. I wanted to be a pioneer and turn the program around to where it used to be, He gave me the opportunity I needed to play at the highest level.
I remember 0-18 as a freshman and an injury that kept me from playing, doing anything I could to help the team win.
I remember 2-16 as a sophomore and how you could see that things were pointing in the right direction – exactly as Coach Christian had promised.
I remember the joy of being on the scorer’s table as the students stormed the court after we beat Duke this past December, knowing that all of us followed the plan and trusted our process.
I remember how special last season was. I always trusted in the coaching staff and the program. I knew we would take that next step.
I remember walking off the court after the loss at Western Kentucky. I didn’t play as well as I wanted, as well as the team needed. All losses are painful, that one especially because it was the last time I got to wear my Boston College jersey. (Sorry guys, I might have taken the jersey with me…please don’t put a hold on my transcript lol).
I remember the highs and the lows, the hard work and the sacrifices, the sweat and the tears, the joy and the pain.
I remember Boston College and how I grew in every facet of my life: as a person, as a student, as a teammate, as a leader, as a basketball player. We were told at orientation and a million times after that about how BC would mold us as total human beings. How we were going to leave BC ready to go forth and set the world on fire.
These memories are the 21 years of my basketball life. And it all went by in a flash as I heard Commissioner Adam Silver call my name and I walked toward the stage, adjusting my new Los Angeles Clippers hat.
I am so honored and blessed to be in this position and know that so many people helped me and believed in me along this path.
I owe so much to Jim Christian for believing in me. He has always been so much more than just a coach to me – he is a major influence in my life. Coach helped make me a better person, a better man.
He shows you how much he cares – not just words, but actions. He showed me the meaning of true loyalty and trust. He is a true role model for me.
Boston College is family to me. All of the coaches – Coach Spinner, Coach Wu, Coach Cheeks, Evan, Stevie, Dan, Chip, Nate and everyone involved with men’s basketball over the last three years – thank you from the bottom of my heart. All of my teammates – my brothers – I love you and know there is a lot more for you all to achieve. All of our great fans – thanks for showing out and keep filling up Conte. I’ll never forget getting to play in front of a packed house last season – keep that going! All of my classmates and professors – Boston College is a special place and it challenges you as a student and as a person. Thank you for helping me become a better person.
Thank you to all everyone in the athletics department – a special shoutout to Martin Jarmond, our athletics director – it was so great having a North Carolina baller with us last season.
My three years at Boston College were unforgettable. As I look to build more and more memories in this next chapter of my basketball life, BC will be with me every step of the way. I love you all.