We most admired departing ASU swingman Trent Lockett this past season after he badly twisted his ankle in a mid-January game against the Oregon State Beavers.
But to hear Lockett on the radio after his injury and to see him cheering his beleaguered teammates from the bench was a remarkable thing. He showed a maturity beyond his years, and was as upbeat as a guy could be whose junior year pretty much had gone down the tubes. Articulate as hell, too.
Lockett has been a true scholar-athlete, winning his way into ASU's very competitive Honors College, and is on track to graduate this summer after only three years.
ASU's Herb Sendek has said of Lockett that the Minnesota native is one of the best leaders he's ever coached.
The news coming out of Tempe that Lockett has asked for his scholarship release effective immediately so he can transfer to a university closer to home for his final year of eligibility send shockwaves through the local basketball community.
The serious illness of his beloved mother, whom he listed as his "idol" growing up in sports information ace Doug Tammaro's team guide.
Lockett's departure comes on the heels of similar news from sophomores Chanse Creekmur and Kyle Cain, who started 30 games and averaged about 12 points per game between them.
This program clearly is a mess, as much as we admire Coach Sendek for his intelligence and clarity of thought.
The phrase "dire straits" comes to mind.
As for Mr. Lockett, who may be able to make some money somewhere down the road playing basketball, we have the feeling that he will do just fine, wherever he lands. And, of course, we wish all the best for his mother's full recovery.