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Escape from Alcatraz

Posted Jun 30 2009 12:00am

Watching the NBA draft last week, I was amazed to find out that DeMarre Carroll, a graduating senior from Missouri, was selected in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies. Demarre, a great basketball player, was not predicted to be drafted until the second round despite leading his team in points and rebounds last year. By all respects, no one doubted Carroll’s extreme athleticism and skill, they doubted his health. Demarre Carroll was diagnosed with liver disease in his first season at Missouri after complaining about itchy legs and fatigue. The diagnosis was kept quiet while at school, but was revealed prior to the draft.

What shocks me most about Carroll’s condition and his ascent up the draft board is his attitude. Whereas I get tired from walking a few blocks, Carroll played 40 minutes of basketball every night at the highest level in college. Granted that I need a liver now and the doctors tell Carrol he has 20 to 25 years until he needs his. Still, Carroll is undeterred to let it affect his NBA career. “It’s blown out of proportion,” Carroll has said of his condition, the specifics of which have still not been disclosed. “The way the world is these days,” he continued, “in 20, 25 years you might be able to grow a new liver.”

With an NBA career ahead of him, Demarre still plans to finish up his master’s degree. Only 15 credits shy of that feat, Demarre Carrol is truly a basketball player to look up to. So often in sports, the headlines read of jail, drugs, and dog fighting. It’s nice to hear about someone once in a while with true determination. And so, no matter his playing career, I’ll always root for Demarre Carroll, a true basketball star.

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