What a tough way for Rick Jackson
to go out: A very solid, hard-working four-year player plays arguably the worst game of his senior season in an early NCAA tournament loss. Marquette was playing tough defense against him and he never seemed like he was in the flow of the game... Really a shame, because you'd like to see him go out strong.
We have a pretty strong recent history of miserable sendoffs for four-year(-plus) players, though...
- Hakim Warrick and the 2005 Orange lose to Vermont in one of the ugliest Syracuse games ever played after Gerry McNamara dribbled off his leg. We also get the bonus of making a star out of Tom Brennan and his tendency to start every sentence with "When we beat Syracuse..." for the next three years on ESPN (and still today on Westwood One).
- McNamara, not to be outdone, leads Syracuse on a magical run through the Big East Tournament, taking down number-one UConn and hated rival Georgetown on the way, only to get blown out by (an admittedly underseeded) Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAAs.
- Arinze Onuaku sadly busts his knee in a mostly meaningless game against Georgetown in the BET, and then gets to watch helplessly from the bench as fellow five-year player Andy Rautins and company sleepwalk through the first fifteen minutes of the Butler game and drop a weird one in the Sweet 16 after maybe the best regular season in school history.
And don't forget Lawrence Moten, of course, who will probably—hopefully—never be topped.