DALLAS - The latest gut punch in a deeply frustrating season for SMU men’s basketball was Sunday’s senior day game being canceled because of COVID-19.
Having the game canceled meant a moment lost for six senior players and a student manager.
The game was supposed to be against the University of Tulsa, which would have been especially sweet for SMU forward and Tulsa native, Ethan Chargois.
"I was really excited you know," said Chargois. "It all was going to come full circle, you know, started off in Tulsa, ended with playing Tulsa."
The Mustangs have had plenty of experience coping with COVID-19 cancellations, but when news came Tuesday that Chargois and his fellow senior teammates would not get one last chance to play at Moody Coliseum, it hit differently.
"It hurts you know just because like you just want to get in there one last time," said Chargois. "Get your last run in like Kobe [Bryant} did, get your 60 [point performancep off. But, it just didn’t happen."
The mustangs have not played a game since February 8th. Practices have been on and off as new COVID-19 cases have hit the team. Through it all, SMU remains focused on competing in the AAC tournament next Friday.
SMU forward Ethan Chargois was one of six seniors who did not get to play on senior day for the Mustangs after their game was canceled because of COVID-19.
Said Chargois of the team’s health: "Everybody’s good, everybody’s back, so yeah, this Friday is no cancelling – that’s going down for sure."
In the 15 games the Mustangs have played they are 11-4, which is a great record but a short body of work. If SMU doesn’t win the AAC tournament, that record may not be enough to get Chargois and company into March Madness.
"That’s the toughest part of this whole thing is knowing that we have a really good team this year but just not being able to show it," said Chargois.
Whatever happens from here, the last calendar year has shown Chargois to appreciate every chance he gets to step on the court. Someday, if he has a kid who plays basketball and gets to celebrate a traditional senior day ceremony, Chargois can tell them about this moment and how important it is to take it all in.
"I’d tell them enjoy it, it’s special," said Chargois. "Don’t take it for granted."
There is a chance Chargois could have a second senior day at SMU, if he wants. Because the NCAA has allowed student-athletes an extra year of eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chargois could return to the Mustangs for one more season in the fall. That is a decision he has yet to make as he focuses on trying to get this year’s team to the big dance.