On The Mark: Darius, Eloy In For Emotional Evening
03/01/2012 11:02 AM
Senior Day is such a big tradition at Kentucky. I knew it, the players before me knew it, and I’m sure Darius and Eloy know it. Senior Day is the culmination of a career. It’s the end of your last regular season you will ever play in college, even more, as a Kentucky Wildcat. Barring any unusual circumstances, it’s the last time you will walk out of the tunnel at Rupp Arena to 24,000 screaming fans.
Senior Day doesn’t seem like much to the casual viewer, but let me tell you from experience – it’s emotional. Think about it. Your college career is closing. The parents that saw you dribble your first basketball, who have been with you the entire journey, are standing at midcourt in front of a packed crowd. The memories start coming back of AAU trips and for Darius, probably Kentucky Sweet Sixteen Tournaments where it was a dream to play on Rupp’s floor. Now, after all the workouts, practices, and games it is near the end.
It would make sense if it were a sad event, but for some reason, even though it’s the end, happiness and nostalgia come creeping in. The toughest part is to enjoy the ceremony before the game and then get your mind right for the tip off that’s right around the corner.
Eloy has been at Kentucky for two years, so he may not have the overwhelming feelings I mentioned. However, Eloy’s college career, no matter where it started, is coming to a close. That’s always tough.
Darius on the other hand, has had quite a career. I remember the summer he got to campus before his freshman season. It was Coach G’s last year. He made Darius work out by himself because he didn’t like the way he ran. It can go without saying, but that year was chaos and ended up with an NIT loss at Notre Dame. Not to worry though, Coach Cal showed up and has made Darius’ career hugely more successful than that first year – Elite Eight in 2010, Final Four last year. You see a pattern here? 2012 has got to be the year.
From a guy who had one of the best Senior Day experiences ever, I hope Darius and Eloy truly enjoy it. They shouldn’t dwell too much on it though. There are tournaments to be won.