Simon Says: AU's Season Ends in Philly
American's Bryce Simon has agreed to provide daily reports this week as the Eagles go to their second straight NCAA tournament. You can read more about Bryce in this John Feinstein column, and find the rest of The Post's tournament coverage here. Also, read Bryce's first entry, his second entry and his third entry. His final entry was written a few hours after American lost to Villanova; the Eagles will return to campus around noon today.
As I sit here in my hotel room after the toughest loss of my life, I have made the decision to take my final blog entry in a different direction than the other three. Instead of giving the people an inside look at gameday for the AU men's basketball team, who won the P.I.G. games at shoot-around, what was discussed at team dinner, and what Jordan Nichols managed to film on his camcorder, I am going to go in a completely different direction. Instead, I will be a little bit selfish and use this last entry as an opportunity to thank all of the people who have been so important to this basketball team the past couple years.
First, to all of the Administrative staff at AU. I would be lying to you if i could tell you the actual job title of all of these people, but what i have come to realize is that without them there is no way we would accomplish what we have. They support us in any way possible, and though most of the work goes unnoticed it does not go unappreciated. I thank you for all of your hard work.
Second, to all of our fans. I will argue with anyone that you guys are the best fans in the country. The turnout for every home game this year was amazing and the ticket line outside of Bender this week will never be forgotten. I told the guys that we may not have had the most fans at the Wachovia Center Thursday night, but we sure had the loudest.
It took an article by David Aldridge for me to really understand what our recent success has meant to the AU community. When i read that he literally cried after our championship last year it hit me how much what we accomplished meant to all the fans of our program. I thank all of you for all of the support this year and I am proud to say Bender Arena has truly become the best home court advantage in the Patriot League.
Third, to our strength coach and athletic trainer. The work you do for us is invaluable. Coach Jason Riddell gets us in shape and ready to go every fall and keeps us strong throughout the long season and throws in a helpful motivational quote when needed. Mr. Sean Dash does his best to keep us healthy and as close to 100 percent as possible. He and I have spent a lot of time together over the past year doing rehab, and he was there every day to help with whatever I needed.
Both of these men would do anything they could to help us get ready to play, and they do a great job of it. I thank them for all the hours spent taking care of us.
Fourth, to my coaches. I would like to think the best compliment a player can give a coach is that not only did they make him a better player but a better person. I hear players say it all the time, but when I say it, it is the truth. In my two years at American, I became a better rebounder, passer, shooter, and maybe even defender. But what I know without a doubt is I became a better person from being coached by every one of them, and for that I thank Coach Jackson, Brennan, Williford, Donohue, and Jones.
Finally, to my teammates. I could talk for pages about what you guys mean to me but, I'll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible. Thank you for the wins, the championships, and all of the memories. Thank you for your support when I was battling through injury after injury. I wouldn't have made it in D.C. without teammates like you. I wouldn't trade you for any other team in the country. Simply put, I love you guys.
As I sat in a quiet locker room with my teammates after a heartbreaking loss to end not only a season but, for seven of us, our college careers, I decided it was time to take off my American University No. 33 jersey for the last time. As I stood there in the middle of the locker room hearing the sniffles, seeing the tears, one realization hit me. That realization is this: I came to Washington, D.C. and American University two years ago to find a basketball team, but what i found was more than that. I found a family.
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