This week, the Creighton men’s basketball team played their final home game of the 2011-12 regular season.
As the clock hit zero for the final time, it signaled not only the end of a successful season at CenturyLink Center Omaha but also the end of the careers at home for four seniors.
Point guard Antoine Young and walk-ons forward Matthew Dorwart, guard Derek Sebastian and guard Ross Ferrarini were sent off in spectacular fashion as the Jays pulled out a 93-92 win in overtime thanks to a game-winning jumper by junior guard Josh Jones with 22.6 seconds left. The shot signaled more than just a team win for Jones.
“This is my childhood brother,” Jones said about Young. “I needed him to go away with this. Ultimately it was for the team, but personally it was for ‘Toine.”
Head coach Greg McDermott expressed his pride in the team after the come-from-behind victory.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of guys and for it to happen on senior night, four young men that have meant a great deal to this program, each in their own way, but have contributed in a huge way to our success,” McDermott said.
After the game, each of the seniors was presented with a framed jersey, watched as a short tribute video featuring career highlights was played and took a few minutes to address the fans that stuck around after the game.Each player thanked the litany of people that have impacted their lives during their time at Creighton, and each showcased a bit of his personality in his speech.
Highlights form each speech: Sebastian made the smart move by appealing to the crowd, calling them “not only the best fans in the Valley, but the best fans in the nation.”
“When one road ends, the door opens to all new possibilities,” although he let the fans know the team isn’t done just yet.
Ferrarini thanked Evansville guard/forward Colt Ryan for missing the final shot of the game, otherwise the speeches could have been a little awkward.
He thanked his parents for sticking with him throughout his “basketball odyssey.” Apologized for highlights being so “few and far between;” also apologized for not living up to his name as “the Godfather” and hitting the pizza shot that night.
He encouraged the fans to consume plenty of drinks (I’m assuming he was referring to Pepsi) and to be loud down in St. Louis.
Dorwart claimed he wanted to be a point guard when he first started, but said the coaches probably made the right decision by letting Young handle those duties.
He said he hopes the team’s trainer Ben McNair won’t be too lonely without him amd that coach Len Gordy (Creighton’s Diversity and Inclusion officer) will find someone new to complain to at the end of the bench.
He told his brother who scheduled his wedding for the weekend of the Final Four he’ll have to find a new groomsman, as he’ll be busy that weekend. And he finally gave a shout-out to Gumby, the winner of a Twitter contest he held.
Young thanked his mom for keeping his dad in his seat and for letting him come home with his laundry and for a home-cooked meal.
He thanked former head coach Dana Altman and the previous coaching staff. He also thanked current head coach Greg McDermott for inviting him into his family when he was lost after the departure of Altman.
He told his teammates he’d “go to war with you guys any day of the week, any day of the week.”
He ended by giving a shout-out to the Bellevue West High School lunch ladies.
These four men may have completed their careers at CenturyLink Center Omaha, but as Sebastian said, the team is not done yet.