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Unspeakable tragedy gives way to unbeatable basketball for Ball State

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MUNCIE – The locker in the corner is empty and it will stay that way. It’s a reminder, not that anyone on this Ball State basketball team needs one. They have memories seared into their brains, memories no college kid should have to carry. Two of them have had tattoos seared into their body, tattoos with the same word as that empty locker at Worthen Arena:


This season, it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. The part about Ball State being good, one of the best teams in the MAC, one of the best mid-majors in the country? Well, that part was always a possibility. The coach arrived in 2013 vowing to rebuild Ball State on a foundation of Indiana high school basketball, and five years later he has a team with eight Indiana All-Stars and nine consecutive wins, the fifth-longest winning streak in the country.

The good? The good has been no surprise.

But the tragedy, nobody saw that coming. Tall young men in black suits, slowly circling a casket. A letter from Connecticut. An empty locker.

Used to be, when the Cardinals came together as a team, they’d huddle around their coach and scream two words: “All in!” That was before Aug. 22, 2017. Now, when they surround their coach and break the huddle, they say one word, and they don’t scream. They say: “Family.”

But when the coach isn’t there, when it’s just the players, they huddle and say another word. It is their heartbreak, and their motivation.



Another stellar story by Mr. Doyel.    Here's to BSU's continued success in the wake of such a tragedy.

Chirp! Chirp!


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