LOS ANGELES — This is the way it ends. This is the way it always ends when you’re not cutting down the nets. In a quiet locker room, elbows on your knees, hands on your head, eyes becoming red.
The end hit the Arizona Wildcats suddenly on Thursday night, with a 3-point shot like a dagger from Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross with 2.1 seconds left. From 11 points up, to 10 points down, to a tie game on the final possession … to heartbreak.
And so Grant Jerrett sat in the Los Angeles Kings locker room at Staples Center, white towel covering his face, hands on his head, struck by the finality of a 73-70 loss to Ohio State in the Sweet 16. Fellow freshman post player Kaleb Tarczewski spoke to Jerrett’s right. The team’s other freshman post, Brandon Ashley, conducted interviews to his left.
For nearly 20 minutes, Jerrett barely moved. How many times he must have replayed the final, fateful play.
“No one died,” he said, when he finally lifted the towel and spoke to reporters for a couple of minutes, “but when you play basketball and you really love it, it hurts a lot.”