NCAA BK

Phish song chronicles player's failure

Trey Anastasio says Phish 'can relate' to Darius Washington Jr.'s missed shots.
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Fans of college basketball, raise your hands.

OK. Now, fans of improv-heavy, time-signature-hopping Vermont jam bands, you do the same.

Not much overlap there?

Wrong. Phish debuted a new song at a concert in Atlantic City, N.J., on Halloween: a seven-minute ode to the free-throw tragedy of Darius Washington Jr., a Turkish Basketball League player who in 2005 was a freshman for the University of Memphis.

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At that time, Washington and Memphis were playing Louisville in the Conference USA final with an NCAA berth in the balance. Washington went to the line with his team down two. He had three shots and no time left on the clock. He made the first one.

He missed the next two.

Louisville would eventually fall to Illinois in the Final Four, but that would be no consolation to the freshman, who immediately covered his head with his jersey after missing the final shot. Sensitive to this delicate moment, Phish frontman Trey Anastasio wrote lyrics for the song — titled “The Line” — that go a little something like: “Dry mouth, push it out, I can hear my heart pound, a hero’s what I’m not.”

So much for the vote of confidence.

Anastasio included a dedication to Washington after the band finished its seventh harmonica solo, although it contained a flub:

“Dedicated with much love to the incredible Darius Washington Jr., that song is about his experience when he missed those two free throws at the end of the Final Four Michigan State game. We love him, and we can relate.”

Not exactly "Stump the Schwab," but there probably wasn’t anybody in the crowd who noticed the gaffe.

Tagged: Memphis, Washington

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