(Ed’s Note: With the NCAA Tournament officially kicking off on March 18th/20th, we here at TSFJ will be giving the people 16(0) sweet words on 16 (bitter)sweet moments of March Madness past. Next up is Justin Tinsley again, as this time he speaks the gospel of being an alum of Hampton University. Oh, and if we go over 160 words…well, our bad.)
I chose the university I would attend the spring of my freshman year in high school. I wasn’t some freakishly athletic football, basketball or baseball teen prodigy. I wasn’t to be confused as Taj “The Smart Guy” Mowry or Minkus from Boy Meets World either.
Hampton only shot 38% on March 16, 2001, but unleashed a 14-2 run spring-boarded and capped by Tarvis Williams (16 points, 10 rebounds and the game-winning bucket) to shock the world. The defeat of a number two-seeded Iowa State squad led by, ironically, Jamaal Tinsley (no relation) was one of those moments in time when decisions make themselves. And this was long before Hampton’s legendary female-to-male ratio put the nail in the coffin where my higher education talents would be taken. Hampton wasn’t going to win a national championship, let alone make it to the Tournament every year. HBCUs are known more for their halftime shows and spring fraternity and sorority probates anyway.
Fate and destiny are real. I’m convinced of that. Jamaal Tinsley missed a potential game-winning layup, which I’m still not sure says about where I’ll ultimately end up in life. In a weirder case of irony, Hampton advanced to the second round to play Georgetown (where I would later attend grad school).
Some stuff just can’t be made up.