Freshman year was insane! Head Coach at the time Richardo Patton called a meeting late in pre-season, when he made it clear that he would be coaching his final season on the sidelines of Sox Welseth Court. The lame duck structure of our coaching system, lead to a long year, of broken chemistry and synergy. Despite all the ruff edges, the season was such a good experience for me. All my teammates from that year are still close to my heart. Dwight, J-will, Xaviar, Kal, Sean, Marc, Rich, James, King, Nique, Chase, Myl, MH...kinda...
Sophomore year didn't produce as many wins as we all would have liked under first year head coach Jeff Bzdelik, but it was a fun year. This was the first year i started seeing a significant amount of playing time. I began to gain a strong sense of what it took to be successful under the lights.
Junior year, pre-season went really well, i honestly felt that i was in the best shape i had ever been in. I felt that i was finally built like a college player and completely ready to stir some shit up in the paint. However, things as they do in life, never go exactly to plan... when my back started hurting. I had spent a lot of time in the gym the summer before, and as a result of spending to much time there, my body began breaking down. As the pre-season was coming to an end, I found the pain in my back getting worse and worse. It slowly became too much for me to handle, and despite what many had said i knew something was really wrong. I began to start feeling some tingling in my lower extremities, so that drew the line and i had an MRI of my spine... Come to find out that i have two fractures in my lumbar spine...Sidelined for 9 Months...
So my fourth year around, and my academic senior year of college. I was bigger than i had ever been, but not in the best shape. I had changed my game to be a true center, trying to fit into the system. It wasn't really a good fit for my game, and the stress started to take its toll! On the way to the Maui Invitational i got a stomach virus on the plane, which bed-locked me to the bed, and toilet the whole time we were in Maui. The worst was yet to come, when this stomach infection transferred its infection to a rare disease called Reiters Disease. This disease put me in bed on Enbrel injections for 3 weeks. I lost 30 lbs and all my conditioning, mid season.... After a 2 month recovery from the disease i spent the rest of the season trying to re-condition myself, but i just didn't have enough time. Academically i was graduating, mentally and physically I had just be drained to the last drop of my passion for basketball so I made the decision to move on and explore my career aspirations.
I was working in Dallas, very frustrated at times. I made the move to Dallas very quickly, from a random job opportunity and I really didn't take the time to look into what i wanted to do personally. I was personal training at 24 Hour Fitness at the time for about 5 months to get some experience in sales while i was there. This honestly presented a very unique situation. As a trainer, i got to spend my time fine tuning my body, and building it to its highest level of performance, as i increased my knowledge about training. After a few months of training, i was now in the best shape of my life. I was just as strong as before, but now I was quicker, and more explosive. So when the opportunity to come back to boulder and join the team presented itself, it was too good not to consider.
I rejoined the team as the second semester began. It was a completely new coaching staff, that had no experience with me, but to my advantage they had no previous knowledge of my history, which gave me a fresh start. I had to earn my respect, i had to put in the time to show these coaches that I wanted to contribute to this team that was on the cusp of breaking the top 25 polls, with a 3-0 start to the grueling Big 12 season. It was tough at times for me to handle, finding a comfortable home on the last seat of the bench. I told myself to be patient, and just to remember the purpose of a team, and that's the collaboration of individual minds to produce something much larger than oneself. Coach Boyle once told me, who was the new head coach that year..."If you haven't been apart of something bigger than yourself, you haven't lived life yet." From the end of the bench, i watch two all big-12 players and group of talented kids, carry a team, a program, more importantly a community to arguable the best season in school history. (most wins ever)
|Right after we beat #6 Texas at home.|
|View from outside Coors Event Center after a spring afternoon practice|
|Thanks Ben Mills|
|CBS filming our NCAA watch party|
|The NIT Final Four Charter|
|The Central Park Boathouse with all the seniors and Coach Boyle. (Coach Boyle, Javon Coney, Cory Higgins, Trent Beckley, Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphord)|
|We though my brother Beau looked like a bum, so he laid on the ground in Times Square|
|Coach Boyle and I visiting FDNY|
Our season was such a ride! we went from nearly breaking the top 25 polls, to loosing at Iowa state, and pretty much crushing any Dancing Dreams that any of us might of had. However, just like this team had done all year, we bounced back and went on a huge winning streak. Winning at home over Texas, (image of students rushing court after win) Nebraska, K-State in KC at the big 12 tournament, over Iowa state and close lost to Kansas in the Big 12 Semi-Finals.
We all had thought we stamped our ticket to the dance, later to come find our dreams shattered! Some call it the biggest snub in the history of college basketball. Dicky V, said he couldn't sleep the night after thinking about those boys in Colorado.
|The priceless photo that captures the moment that crushed the hearts all Buffs, or anyone who got a chance to see this team play.|
Once again we bounced back, won three straight games at home in the NIT, and set ourselves up to go play in the Final Four of The NIT at Madison Square Garden. This trip to NYC was to date the best moment of my life. My Mother, Brother and I found ourselves in Times Square all together! Celebrating all of our success.
|Beau at 4AM in Times Square|
We ended up loosing to Alabama in the Semi-finals. However despite all the emotions of the loss, i was proud of my contributions that night, and walked of that court with no regrets. I loved every teammate i've ever shared the ball with, and my experiences will never before be forgotten.