Darius Washington of Lottomatica Roma (L

New Phish album includes song dedicated to former Memphis guard Darius Washington Jr.

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The 2005 Conference USA tournament final is a game that lives on in the minds of many college basketball fans due in large part to its dramatic (and heartbreaking) conclusion. Then-Memphis point guard Darius Washington Jr. was fouled by a Louisville player while attempting a three-pointer, sending the freshman to the line for three free throws with no time left on the clock.

Trailing 75-73, making all three would have given the Tigers the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and after Washington swished the first John Calipari’s team looked to be well on its way. But he missed the next two, resulting in the painful sight of a despondent Washington lying on the FedEx Forum floor as teammates attempted to console him.

Washington’s moment served as the inspiration for the Phish song “The Line,” which will be on the group’s album that’s scheduled to be released on June 24. Lead singer Trey Anastasio stated during a live set that the song is based on Washington’s missed free throws in a Final Four game against Michigan State (which obviously did not happen).

Phish.net wrote the following about “The Line” back in November:

The song is written from the standpoint of Darius, standing there on the parquet floor of the FedEx Forum in Memphis in front of his home crowd, just before the shots were taken. We have all been told how to handle times of stress where you are put on stage: You have done this before, stand tall, control your breathing. Take your time, nail these shots, and your whole future is in front of you…

But that doesn’t always hold true. Sometimes, no matter the amount of preparation or skill that you may have, it just does not work out. The shots don’t fall. For whatever reason, the rim just continues to get smaller in front of you.

What’s Washington up to these days? He recently finished the 2013-14 season with Olin Edirne in the Turkish Basketball League, where he posted averages of 23.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The photo of Washington is from his time with Lottomatica Roma.

You can listen to “The Line” here if you’ve yet to hear the song.

h/t Rolling Stone

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.