I don’t know what’s harder to believe- the fact that Quincy Acy, Anthony Jones and Fred Ellis will never play another game for Baylor at the Ferrell Center, or the fact that I will never watch another men’s basketball game there as a student.
Or maybe it’s the fact that I have to write this column at all.
If you didn’t give a hoot about Baylor men’s basketball’s Elite Eight run in the 2010 NCAA tournament, you can stop reading. It’s certainly not a requirement to root for athletic teams, and there’s no point in feigning enthusiasm if you don’t really feel it.
But if you’re a senior and you got hooked on March Madness in 2010, even if you hadn’t followed the team all season, and you legitimately hoped your classes were canceled so you could watch the Bears fight through their bracket, I have a question for you:
Where the heck were you Monday night?
A pathetic handful of students showed up that night to send Baylor’s seniors — Acy, Jones and Ellis — off the court in style after Baylor enjoyed a 77-48 beatdown of Texas Tech. Even if every one of those students was a senior, the total was still just a fraction of this year’s senior class.
We’ve run countless columns and editorials pleading for students to support the Bears, but this isn’t about general apathy. This is about the seniors.
Monday was a chance to send Acy, Jones and Ellis a very, very simple message, simpler than seniors finding an excuse to skip class.
Senior night at the Ferrell Center was our night to look back and appreciate the excitement Acy, Jones and Ellis helped create in past seasons and this year as well, each in his own way.
Acy has been the heart of this year’s team and has never dialed back his aggression throughout his career. You don’t have to know much about basketball for an Acy dunk to leave you screaming and jumping.
Maybe you remember rising to your feet 10 times in the same game, when Acy threw down 10 slams in Baylor’s 2010, 92-77 win over the Texas Longhorns.
While Acy has certainly cemented his place in Baylor basketball history, Jones and Ellis have become crowd favorites as well and deserved every bit of applause they received in Monday’s pregame senior introductions.
Jones has averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in Big 12 games and was a big part of the Elite Eight team.
Although Ellis hasn’t seen as much playing time this season, he’s been the quintessential teammate and model student-athlete. He’s an invaluable mentor as well.
For the seniors it’s over for the most part — you can’t go back and experience Monday night’s party if you missed it.
But it’s not completely over. If you didn’t know, there’s some team playing at 11 a.m. Monday at the Ferrell Center, a team that hasn’t lost any of its 30 games. There are three seniors on this Lady Bears squad, arguably one of women’s college basketball’s most dominant teams ever. Seniors, why not congratulate fellow seniors on careers well done?
Meanwhile fans in the class of 2013 can learn a lesson by looking to the court where Brittney Griner, Destiny Williams, Brooklyn Pope, Nae-Nae Hayden and Jordan Madden will play.
Juniors, those women will be the main event in next year’s senior night. If you feel any pride when you hear the No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears brought up in conversation, you owe it to your 2013 seniors to show up and loudly cheer them off the court.
That’s the way basketball senior night should always be, but unfortunately at Baylor it is not.
We can do better.
Chris Derrett is a senior journalism major from Katy and is the Lariat’s editor in chief.