July 27, 2008

Triche, Smart linked by memorable moment

Everyone remembers the players who hit the game-winning shots.

The moments are crystallized and "posterized," living forever in photos and nowadays in video clips on the Internet. Ten years from now, even 20, fans will talk about Mario Chalmers' 3-pointer that sent the 2008 NCAA championship game into overtime. Probably only Memphis fans will remember that the shot came over the outstretched hand of freshman guard Derrick Rose. Years down the road, there's a good chance Rose will have had a stellar pro career and memories of the Tigers' runner-up finish will fade.

If you look closely at the photos or the replays of some of the most famous shots in NCAA history, you'll find the guys who were on the less fortunate end of fate. Rivals.com decided to find some of those players to get their recollections and see what they're up to now.


Jason Flanigan
Flanigan is not widely remembered as a player, but each March we see him again and again. Flanigan was an Ole Miss freshman in 1998 assigned to guard Valparaiso's Bryce Drew in the waning seconds of an NCAA tournament game that has become legendary. [ Story ]
NAME: Howard Triche.
AGE: 43.
RESIDENCE: Syracuse, N.Y.


Triche was a forward on the 1986-87 Syracuse team that lost to Indiana in the national championship game. The Orange led 73-72 in the waning seconds, and the Hoosiers were looking to get a shot for guard Steve Alford. Alford had been held to two points in the second half, due in part to a box-and-one employed by Jim Boeheim, after lighting up Syracuse in the first half. The players usually covering Alford in the second half were Triche or guard Sherman Douglas. As the clock ticked down, Alford couldn't shake loose of Douglas. Triche was guarding Keith Smart. Smart started to dribble-drive, then dumped the ball inside to Daryl Thomas. Thomas turned to shoot, but Derrick Coleman was right there, so he passed back out to Smart. Smart took one dribble to his left and rose up as the clock hit 6 seconds to play. Triche tried in vain to reach him, but Smart's shot hit nothing but net.


"Let's see here. It was initially a pass down to one of the big guys. I doubled-down, and they threw it back out to Keith Smart. And supposedly he wasn't supposed to be known as the shooter. The second half he had he was on fire. He was going to the hole, pulling up for jumpers. He did a lot of good things. I guess he dribbled left and sprung up to shoot. I went out on him to contest the shot. It was more of a wave. The more people have seen it, it really looks like I stretched out to try to block it. I didn't realize I'd gotten that close. He made a fantastic shot. It was all frozen from that point on. It was pretty astonishing. Everybody kind of froze at that point in disbelief.

"If you look at a photo, it's looks like I was right there. But if you see it on video, it's more of a wave. I was more horizontal and out than vertical and out.

"Give him all of the credit in the world. It was a fantastic feat. He kind of nailed us.

"It's bittersweet, of course. If it wasn't for the fans and people talking about it and how great it was . As a player you recall how you lost. Media and friends help you to realize how important the game was, but as a player you want to win. You take it and still say, 'If I'd have done this or that differently, maybe we could have won.' Media and friends say the other stuff. I think he just made a great shot.

"I'm trying to think (if I've ever spoken to Smart). I've always talked to him through the media. For about five to six years, he got the same call I got talking about it. I would know it was that time of year. Start getting the phone calls to reflect on that. Keeping it alive in my mind. I don't think about it until someone brings it up. I don't think we've actually come across each other."


Triche has remained in the Syracuse area, and he works as a group manager for Anheuser-Busch.

"I'm still close to the program. I get to the games, and they're recruiting my nephew (Brandon Triche is a three-star prospect at shooting guard)."

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.


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