A despondent Kris Joseph buried his head in a towel and let silence be his answer as a question hung in the air.
A reporter had just asked Joseph to reflect on his career, and, at that moment, Joseph was reflecting. Just not out loud.
Finally, Joseph asked the reporter to repeat the question. The reporter rephrased, and asked what his best memories at Syracuse would be.
“Just how much fun I had,” Joseph said following Syracuse’s 77-70 loss to Ohio State in the Elite 8. “The teammates, the different teammates that I had. The relationships that I built.”
Joseph, a fourth year senior, had been part of so many memorable Syracuse moments in his SU career.
He was the only player on this roster that played in the six overtime game against Connecticut in the 2009 Big East championship. He played alongside Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins the following year when the team was the top ranked team in the country.
And then there was this year, a magical regular season run where SU lost just one game.
Surely, some of these memories had rushed to mind.
“It’s real tough knowing that my career is over,” Joseph said. “I won’t play with these guys again.”
Nearby, fellow senior Scoop Jardine, left alone by reporters for a moment, finally lost the fight with his emotions.
“I just wanted everybody to know that really, really loves Syracuse basketball, this team really gave it everything we got,” Jardine said moments before. “Everything they threw at us this year, we played and we played our tails off, and that’s all you can expect from a team like this.”
Jardine had come in with an incoming class that included Jonny Flynn and Donte Greene, plus high school teammate Rick Jackson. Jardine was the only remaining member of that class.
“As a kid, you know, you go to college, try to leave early, try to go to the NBA—it was never in my mind,” Jardine said. “I’m just trying to become a better person and a better player, and that’s what I’m leaving with.”
It was an emotional end for the duo, who leave Syracuse as the winningest class in SU history.
“These last two years they’ve been great starting, and they’ve been good leaders,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “They’ve really done everything you could ask from them, really. There’s nothing more you could ask out of those guys.”
And now, there is nothing more that can be asked of them, because their college careers are over.
“The loss hurts, but me not playing with these guys for the rest of my life is going to hurt even more,” Joseph said. “These are like my brothers, and we came up short today, but for the most part I think we had a great season.”
Corey Mallonee contributed with reporting from Boston.