CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The free throws were insignificant when it came to the big picture.
Dayton was ahead 77-71 with 2.4 seconds remaining, and masses of orange were already filing out of Assembly Hall. Although Illinois still had two free throws to shoot, the game was realistically over.
But for Illinois junior guard Demetri McCamey, it should have meant more. He was the one stepping to the line for the two free throws, and while it's a long shot that anyone will advise McCamey to stay in the NBA Draft even if he tests the waters, there was a chance that it could have been the final two times he ever shot a basketball wearing an Illinois uniform.
His first attempt clanked off the rim and fell to the floor. A miss.
His second hit the back of the rim, flew into the air, hit the ground, a Dayton Flyer recovered the ball, and the clock ran out. Another miss.
Money and draft position ultimately will be the deciding factors for McCamey for whether he returns to Champaign next season. But there should be more to it.
Wednesday should make McCamey pause whenever that choice needs to be made. Even if the NBA dollars make sense, McCamey should come back for one more go. With those two missed free throws, his 6-for-19 shooting performance and a quarterfinal NIT loss to Dayton on his home floor, McCamey should want more than anything to end his career differently.