A great deal can be said about the University of Miami men’s basketball team. Most will jump the gun, a little blindly, and say the regular season was an utter failure, as the team finished 11-19 overall and 4-12 in ACC play, leaving them at the bottom of the conference.
Sure, on paper this may be the case, but the Hurricane locker room is not, as such a person would expect, a place marked by failure.
How is this? Well, it is quite simple. The players who have laced it up, night in and night out, are not failures. They have given there all this season, and it is simply their misfortune that the team was desecrated by injuries and suspensions.
Let’s not kid. The team “fell apart.” But, this is only in terms of injuries and suspensions, and does not, by any means, carry over to the players who have given it their all this season.
It is true we have seen the team struggle during portions of the season, but they have always persevered and played through their troubles. Not once has a player come out and said: ‘Man, what do you expect? We’re missing like half the team. So, just get off our backs.’
Instead, on different occasions, we saw different players-whether it be Jack McClinton, Brian Asbury, Dwayne Collins, Anthony Harris, Denis Clemente or Keaton Copeland-rise to the occasion and play beyond everyone’s expectations.
Thus, it is time to step back and take a look at the big picture, the real picture. All year, the Hurricanes have been criticized for not performing. It is time to take a look at the players who have played through the woes and laced it up all season long. They could have packed it up, but they didn’t.
These players deserve praise. These players deserve appreciation. Not only have they showed their abilities, but they have showcased their heart, their unwillingness to quit, their desire to persevere and their respect for the game.
Thus, it is time to stop criticizing the team. No one who is sitting around ragging on the team would have had the will or drive to go through a season like the one this team has gone through, especially when one factors in all of the physical and mental abuse these athletes endure.
Still, they stand tall.
So let’s get behind the team, instead of being an obstacle in their way, and help them become a force to be reckoned with as they enter the ACC Tournament. Let’s rally behind them and give them the credit they deserve.
Every true fan considers himself/herself to be the sixth man of his/her favorite basketball team, so, collectively, let’s become the sixth man of this Hurricane squad, letting them know that for every player they have lost this season, they have gained another “sixth man.”
Pravin Patel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.