All about the G

HEY everybody.

This upcoming weekend is the NBA All-Star weekend.  For me, that means that I get a few days off. 

I am going to be heading back to Saint Mary’s in Moraga, California, where I went to school for the previous four years.

It is going to be a special weekend because Saint Mary’s is retiring number 4, the number I wore.

It is a huge honour that the school would do this for me. I’m really looking forward to catching up with everyone.

Saint Mary’s will always be a home away from home for me.

I remember on my recruiting trip back in September of 2008, as soon as I was on campus, I could tell there was something special about the place.

At the time I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I do now. It is the people. It is Coach Bennett and his staff and the type of people he recruits to play there.

It is the students who choose to go to Saint Mary’s. It is the Professors, Brothers and other faculty.

It is also the people in the community that support Saint Mary’s. I guess it doesn’t hurt that it is a picturesque campus tucked away amongst the rolling green hills.

 We were lucky enough to experience a lot of success on the court (which we worked hard for, too).

The highlights are obviously the big ones: winning the West Coast Conference tournament in 2010 and making the NCAA Sweet 16 that year as well.

Co-WCC Champs in 2011 and winning the WCC outright and the WCC tournament in 2012. It is the little details that you remember that make those big achievements special.

The grueling conditioning sessions, the mile, living with your best mate Mitch Young for four years, the tough meetings where the hard truths are told, the special road wins where it's just the 12 guys on your team versus the rest, the pre-game talks and pump-ups and then singing the team song after a win.

That is the stuff that I will never forget.

A college basketball tradition in America is to honour the senior’s in their last home game.

After the warm-ups and introductions, each senior is introduced and they say a little bit about the person. As this is happening you are escorted out to mid-court with family members or someone close to you.

As my Mum and Dad were unable to be there, I was lucky enough to have two of our assistants walk me out, Rick Croy and his wife Jamie, and Australian Adam Caporn.

Caporn was actually the first Australian to play at Saint Mary’s so he was the one that started the pipeline.

It was a very emotional game because it was the last time I got to play at home in McKeon Pavilion.

While I was walking out, I can remember thinking of games I had played in my freshman year and how quickly the time had flown by.

Probably my most enjoyable day at Saint Mary’s was graduation day. Getting a degree in Psychology was something that I worked hard for four years to achieve.

It was just like in the movies with all the students dressed up in the black gowns with hats. It was pretty special to have my Mum, Dad and my sisters there to watch me walk across the stage.

After all the formalities, there was a big party with food, drink and music.

Saint Mary’s means a lot to me as it does to a lot of people. I was very lucky to go there for four years and I just want to thank the college for having me, especially Coach Bennett. 

I made many life long friends and learned a lot both on and off the court and inside and outside of the classroom.

Sometimes it’s really hard living away from your family.

Last week, my grandpa Ralph Mitchell, from Bendigo, passed away.

He always had a smile on his face and was proud of all his family.

Thinking of all the family back home, especially grandma.

  Thanks everyone for the support, I appreciate it. 

Saint Mary’s will always be a home away from home for me.

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