Story by Chris Graham
Senior Night wasn’t about tears for the UVa. point guard.
“I think because we lost so much, and I cried after every loss, I just didn’t have any tears left. But it was definitely emotional,” Singletary said after the Cavs sent #44 off the right way with a 91-76 win over Maryland Sunday night in their regular-season home finale.
You really couldn’t have written a better script for the night – well, OK, it could’ve been a resume builder for the NCAA Tournament berth that had seemed to be in the cards at the outset of the 2007-2008 season.
But that long since having been put back on the backburner, Wahoo Nation just wanted to see SS get his final just due.
“With all the conversation and tribute and everything else that goes along with Senior Night, a whole lot has been said, a whole lot has been repeated, about our seniors, and Sean in particular. So it’s hard to come up with more words, more superlatives, for not just what the four guys have given us since I’ve been here, Sean in particular, and he saved his best for last,” Virginia coach Dave Leitao said.
And save his best for last Singletary did – scoring 27 points and dishing out eight assists in 38 minutes. Singletary entered the night needing 25 points to reach the 2,000-point mark in his career, and he got there on a driving layup with 2:28 to go that ignited an 6-0 run and broke the game open.
The layup was part of a two-minute flurry that saw Singletary hit a three from the left corner, score twice on drives to the basket and also connect with Mamadi Diane on a fast-break alley-oop dunk that made the highlight reel on ESPN this morning.
The win in his final home game “means a lot,” Singletary said, but the finality of it all wasn’t what was foremost on his mind.
“I just wanted to win,” Singletary said. “This hasn’t been the best season since I’ve been here. We really haven’t been playing that well this year. Our record, I don’t think, credits this team for all the sacrifices and hard work that we’ve put in. Hopefully soon it will all pay off.”
“I’m not sure that any coach or any person can be given more by an individual than I’ve been given in the three years that we’ve been together. And not just by that performance here today,” Leitao said. “I knew that if somebody had asked me the question, Do you think with all the festivities and distraction that it might throw a guy off, as it sometimes does? They were talking about it during the game last night. I bet dollars to doughnuts that Sean only uses it as motivation. And that he did. And he was, especially in that second half, a one-man wrecking crew. Halfcourt, fullcourt, offense, defense, he did it all.
“I’m not so sure that in our lifetimes we may be able to see a guy perform night in and night out like we did for four years. I just thank God that I’ve been placed here at this time so that I can be a part of it,” Leitao said.
“I knew that from day one, ever since he’s gotten here. He’s always, you know, pushed me to be the leader, and always made sure I was on top of my game, whether in practice or in the games,” Singletary said.
“He wants the best for me, and as I’ve said to you guys before, he’s always been a father figure before a basketball coach. He wants you to be aggressive in all that you do. He wants you to be successful in life first,” Singletary said.