CJ McCollum and Kyle O’Quinn are the heroes of the NCAA tournament’s opening round.
They’ll be the guys all over Sportscenter They are the kids whose names were trending on twitter. They are the players that picked the perfect time to lead their team to a perfect game and, in turn, upset carry a No. 15 seed to an upset win over a No. 2 seed.
St. Mary’s guard Clint Steindl learned the hard way about the other end of the hero scale.
The Gaels had just gone on a 14-2 run to take a 69-68 lead with 44 seconds left on a Jorden Page three when Purdue turned the ball back over. Steindl took the ball out of bounds, but he thought that he was allowed to run the baseline. He wasn’t — you are only allowed to off of a made shot — which means that when he took off down the baseline, he traveled. Purdue got the ball back, Lewis Jackson hit two free throws and the No. 10 Boilermakers went on to win 72-69.
If the play of McCollum and O’Quinn is everything that we want to see in March, than what happened with Steindl is everything that is awful about it.
Steindl had a good career at St. Mary’s. He was never much more than a role player and a spot-up shooter, but he played a significant part in the Gael’s attack over the last three seasons, one of which included a trip to the Sweet 16.
But he’ll never be remembered for that. He’ll be known as the guy that cost St. Mary’s a sensational comeback win. His career ends with the biggest blunder he’ll ever make, on national television nonetheless.
That’s the risk of being a high-profile athlete.
Everything you do will be looked at under a microscope. Even the worst moment in your life.