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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.

The bench. (By Jim McIsaac - Getty)

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.

The end. (By Preston Keres - TWP)

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.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 20, 2009; 9:49 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Next: Covering the Women's Dance


This is why I love sports!

Posted by: TheFunBunch | March 20, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

This kid is a good writer. If he has an un-natural preoccupation with haircuts and beards, Steinz should be concerned for his job.

I am a little ticked that we never got to find out what was in the "not mashed potatoes" though. :(

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping Garrison Carr would be this year's Stephen Curry.

Posted by: inchesfromyourface | March 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

This kid's got the pepper for blogging.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | March 20, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Went to the game in philly with the rest of the blue crew - you guys made us proud to be Eagles.

Posted by: ashleyns | March 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the insights, Bryce. Great job by you and all the seniors throughout your time at AU.

Go Eagles!

Posted by: Brett19 | March 20, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Go AU! You guys did us proud...
Once and Eagle, Always an Eagle!

Posted by: Gaylek | March 20, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Dan, a whole day has gone by, and you haven't weighed in on Ovechkin's Ocho-Cinco/T.O. celebration last night.

You feelin' OK?

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 20, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

the "not mashed potatoes" was in fact mashed celery root.

Posted by: UnnamedSource | March 20, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the unsung heroes/grunts of AU (and all college basketball) -- the student managers. You and those who experienced last year's season are the envy of so many previous managers who at times came so close to going to the big dance.

Posted by: randerson3 | March 20, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the players who have worked so hard to get so far. The game in Philly was great and we made sure we were heard. You also won the support of the VCU and UCLA fans, who also fervently cheered for you and yelled at the refs for their blatant homecooking. You were the better team that night - never forget it!

Posted by: alumzsh | March 21, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

American, its players and loyal fan base is what college hoops is all about. The noise they made in Philadelphia will resound of the Liberty Bell for years to come.
To Bryce for this blog and and your fellow seniors that have made a regularly good team - into a true "program" - THANKS!

Posted by: Hoops44 | March 24, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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