Myles Mack is tired.
Anyone who's watched the workhorse play this year, especially the past few weeks, can see it. And Thursday night against Purdue, Myles Mack blew a lay-up. I'm not going to link to it here, that's not fair to Myles, but if you do a Google search you'll find the play--because it went sports viral. The mothership tweeted the clip over and over and over. Several other sports sites picked it up too, finding it emblematic of Rutgers basketball.
Problem was, it's not emblematic of Myles Mack.
A few weeks ago, Jerry Carino detailed Mack's career, and boy, the kid is one of the all time Rutgers greats. He's might finish ahead of Quincy Douby in scoring. He has an outside shot to pass his own coach, Eddie Jordan, in steals. At 5'9", he's a great rebounding guard. The kid is leading the team this year, and he's doing it for nearly every minute of every game.
Rutgers isn't winning, but that doesn't mean Mack isn't. The kid plays 38 minutes night--40 if there are injuries--and his two guard mates have both been out extended periods with ankle problems. He's piling up the points, and also the assists. He was recruited as a tweener--probably originally expected to come off the bench with Jerome Seagears and Eli Carter leading the way when Mike Rice drew it up 4 years ago. Except, he pushed his way into the starting line-up then, and he stayed.
Myles Mack stayed. When everything else fell apart, Mack stayed. During some of the darkest moments in Rutgers basketball, the kid didn't go anyway, despite probably a ton of offers to go elsewhere. He didn't waver. He is all that is good about Rutgers. He's never embarrassed the program.
And, noticed what I keep calling him, a kid. Because, in the grand scheme of things, that's what the players are. Kids. Message board poster bristle at that, but do remember what it was like to be 18, 19, 20, 21, or 22? It was hard. You were finding yourself still. And these kids are playing basketball, representing your school and not making a dime over it. Sure, they're getting a free education and playing basketball, but there are Rhode Scholars getting free educations and doing math problems.
No one is making Vines of their mistakes.
He, and the rest of the players on this team, are not coaches making millions dollars. They are not pro-players with Los Angeles mansions. These are kids who give it all for Rutgers hoops.
Myles Mack deserves a five minute standing ovation on senior night. He will go down in Rutgers history as the player who stayed and lead the team.
Let's not remember Myles for missing a shot in a season of missed Rutgers shots. He doesn't deserve the images that went out over Twitter the past few days.
He is a player who should be a Loyal Son.
Jackson Donne is back! After nearly a 7 year absence from print, the New Jersey private detective returns in a thriller inspired by the Rutgers merger, Hurricane Sandy and Doctor Who. In NOT EVEN PAST, no one will come out unscathed. Set in New Brunswick and up and down the Jersey Shore, this thriller moves at a breakneck pace. You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Indieboud.