After Morrison's postgame breakdown, the Gonzaga superstar faced a glut of media scrutiny for allowing his emotions to get the better of him so publicly. His response, an EA Sports commercial in which he says, "Yeah, I cried. I cried on national television; so what? Failure hurts. In that moment, winning was everything … I'll cry again. I hope I never lose that intensity. More people should cry …"
On Friday night, more people did cry. In fact, just about everyone cried.
Antioch senior swingman Murkice Carter, one of the team's most valuable players, spent a good portion of the fourth quarter in tears after fouling out of the Panthers North Coast Section Division I second round playoff game against host Monte Vista. After being forced to the bench, there was little else the standout could do as he watched Monte Vista whittle away at his team's seven-point lead.
With just over 19 seconds remaining to play and the Panthers clinging a one-point lead, Monte Vista guard Ryan Whalen crashed hard to the offensive glass and muscled a rebound away from a pair of Panthers, earning himself a trip to the charity stripe on his way back up to the bucket. Whalen's free throws gave the Mustangs a 51-50 lead, and Brian Barbour's two free throws on their following possession stretched the Monte Vista lead to three points with less than 10 seconds remaining.
The Panthers chose to inbound the ball before calling a timeout, allowing the clock to wind down to just 1.7 seconds and setting up a last second heave by reserve guard James Brunell in an attempt to send the game into overtime at the final buzzer.
Brunell's half-court prayer wasn't answered, as the ball bounced off the backboard and Monte Vista players and fans stormed the court in celebration as the buzzer sounded.
"This is the best season and the best team I've ever been on - no regrets," senior Eddie Miller said after embracing his teammates and wiping away his tears. Miller scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds in the loss, despite facing a defense designed specifically to deny him the ball.
Miller and Carter weren't the only Panthers in tears after the heartbreaking defeat - they were joined by juniors Tim Williams and Calvin Douglas, guards Ryan Fox and Nick Banks … just about everyone wearing black and gold gave in to the emotion of the moment and let their grief take them.
"They feel bad about it, and they should feel bad about it. But they shouldn't feel bad about the effort that they put out this whole season," said head coach Drew Torres, fighting back tears of his own.
And, thanks in part to Adam Morrison, a generation of young men have learned that it's OK to wear your emotions on your sleeves … even if you aren't wearing sleeves.