Matt Stainbrook is one of the most recognizable faces of the NCAA Tournament, but for a minute, he was instantly recognizable for his foot.
Stainbrook, clearly displeased with not getting fouls called in the paint early on in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen game, was visibly angered in talking to an official during a timeout. Then he took out his anger on the press table next to the Xavier bench when he gave it one big, swift kick.
Somehow, he avoided a technical foul for that immature act. The kick didn’t run live nationally since the broadcast had already gone to a commercial break.
But what Stainbrook did after that miscue was admirable. He collected himself, and gave Xavier a chance to knock off Arizona.
Xavier didn’t win, but it was cool to see the goggle-wearing, Uber-driving Stainbrook overcome his emotions to have a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in Xavier’s season-ending 68-60 loss to Arizona on Thursday.
Asked what happened early, Stainbrook said: "I just wanted to win. Sometimes, emotions get the best of you when you’re compete hard and you want to win. But you’ve got to bounce back and play hard."
His eyes were moist, and he fought back tears behind those goggles, which he wore to postgame interviews.
Stainbrook was so effective all season that Arizona, like most teams, threw double teams and traps at him. He passed out of them well. But Arizona coach Sean Miller wanted to keep Stainbrook off the offensive glass, and the Wildcats accomplished that as Stainbrook had just one offensive rebound.
But he had one very effective career at Xavier after transferring from Western Michigan. It was Stainbrook and his fun personality and catchy goggles that made Xavier cool. The 6-foot-10, 270-pounder had an impact at Xavier, which joined the Big East two years ago.
"I take a lot of pride. When it comes down to it, I want people to remember me as a person that played hard, played to win, played tough," Stainbrook said. "I hope I leave a legacy that my parents, my friends, my family is proud of. I think we’ve got some guys on the team who are returning next year, and they’re in very capable hands. I’d say watch out for Xavier."
His Xavier career is over, but he could earn an endorsement deal with Uber or a promotion seeing as how much publicity Uber got out of the job he liked to talk about so much. Fans have chanted "Uber!" at games.
Stainbrook gave up his scholarship so his younger brother Tim, a walkon, could have his scholarship. There’s much to like, and thankfully for Stainbrook, we won’t remember him for that kick. But we will remember that in the final two minutes of the game, Stainbrook simultaneously helped two players off the floor. He used one arm to help Arizona’s Stanley Johnson get up and the other to help teammate Remy Abell.