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Game #9-537: Illinois State Redbirds vs. Wichita State ShockersMarch 9, 2013 5:05 pm
St. Louis, MO
I don't necessarily love post-game press conferences. They're tedious, boring and usually filled with questions that have no relevance on the game. But they are a requirement in my line of work as a journalist, so I attend them.
The worst press conferences are during tournament settings with the losing team. The locker rooms are even worse, but the press conferences are bad, too. This goes double for a team that's not going to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. I've covered enough of these to know how these press conferences go down. First, the coach makes an opening statement.I'm so proud of these guys, even though we lost by 50 points and finished in last place by eight games this season.
Then he looks longingly at his seniors seated next to him. "Questions for the student-athletes," the moderator says.
Some dumb question comes. The seniors answer. And then they cry. It's terrible. It's a horribly uncomfortable moment that nobody should have to witness, but I guess that's the price players pay for being public figures. It's not fair at all, but it's reality.
So when Tyler Brown's college career ends on this afternoon after losing to Wichita State, the above scenario plays out. Somebody asks Tyler about his career, and he begins to break down. Fellow senior Jackie Carmichael tries to console him. Coach Dan Muller looks helpless, as if he wants to do something but knows he can't say anything to make the pain go away.
You could say they're overreacting, but anybody who's ever played a sport in their life at any decent level knows the feeling. If you've poured your heart and soul into something for hours upon hours, days upon days, months upon months and years upon years, the pain is unbearable when it finally ends.
It's just a sport. A stupid sport. But I couldn't help but feel sick for Tyler Brown cry in that press conference. I'll see that happen to more players, but I appreciate their crying. It makes them human and shows that they care. It helps me remember that for the thousands of fans out there and, you know, the countless writers who waste (I mean, "spend") precious time recapping Mid-Majority games, that the players actually do give a crap.
So thank you, Tyler Brown, for validating me as a college basketball fan. I watch the game because of you, and I hope you have a great pro career somewhere or find success in another field if you so choose. It may seem like the end, but this game against Wichita State is far from the end.
Men can cry. In fact, it's totally encouraged. When else can you say that besides after a college basketball game?
WICHITA STATE 66, ILLINOIS STATE 51
ILLINOIS STATE 18-15 (8-10) -- J. Carmichael 7-16 7-13 22; T. Brown 3-12 2-2 9; B. Allen 1-9 0-0 2; J. Hill 0-4 0-0 0; J. Wilkins 2-7 5-6 9; N. Zeisloft 2-4 0-0 6; A. Cousin 0-0 0-0 0; K. Keane 0-1 0-0 0; J. Ekey 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 16-56 14-21 51.
WICHITA STATE 26-7 (12-6) -- C. Hall 7-10 2-3 16; D. Williams 2-7 2-2 6; M. Armstead 5-9 4-5 15; T. Cotton 1-6 1-2 3; J. White 1-4 0-0 2; R. Baker 2-6 2-2 7; C. Early 2-8 3-4 8; F. Van Vleet 3-5 0-0 8; E. Orukpe 0-1 1-2 1; N. Wiggins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 15-20 66.
Three-point goals: ILST 5-20 (J. Carmichael 1-2; J. Ekey 1-3; B. Allen 0-4; J. Wilkins 0-2; T. Brown 1-4; N. Zeisloft 2-4; K. Keane 0-1), WICH 5-15 (M. Armstead 1-3; D. Williams 0-1; R. Baker 1-5; T. Cotton 0-2; C. Early 1-2; F. Van Vleet 2-2); Rebounds: ILST 25 (J. Wilkins 7), WICH 45 (M. Armstead 9); Assists: ILST 9 (J. Ekey 3), WICH 9 (M. Armstead 3); Total Fouls -- ILST 18, WICH 14; Fouled Out: ILST-J. Carmichael; WICH-None.
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