By Alex Madrid / email@example.com
The last horn sounds, signalling the team’s elimination from the Basketball Champions League semifinals. The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg players stroll past the mixed zone in near silence, heads down and quiet. Nothing would be heard if it weren’t for Tremmell Darden, whose experience prompts him to advise and encourage his younger teammates.
Aged 40, Darden would have made Basketball Champions League history, hadn’t it been for an injury that kept him sidelined for the Bilbao Final Four last week.
“I pulled my calf a couple of weeks ago in the game against Cluj and aggravated it in the playoffs game at Cluj. I’ve been working for a couple of weeks to get back, I missed BBL games… The medical staff felt it was best that I sit out for the future. The team decided what was best for the team and we gotta live with that”, Darden told Eurohoops.
At this point in his career, it was especially hard for Darden not to participate in a Final Four in which his team managed to hang on for the third place.
“I can’t really put into words how upset and frustrated I am right now. Potentially to be my last time to win an international title. It’s frustrating to lose although we had the opportunity to beat them. So yeah, it hurts a lot because you never know what’s in store. God always has a plan and this was part of his plan for my team and myself”.
As for future plans, Darden says he has not yet made a decision about whether or not he will play one more season. “I don’t know. This was like objective number one for me individually. One of the main reasons I came back to this particular club is because I knew they were playing in the Basketball Champions League. It was the only thing I had to play in. I did FIBA Cup, I did EuroCup, I did EuroLeague… this is the last one. It’s emotional,” the Ludwigsburg veteran commented.
“Coming into the season I told my teammates this was possibly my last year. I told them the first day I got here. So… I don’t know. For teams, it’s hard to give a guy who is 40 and will be 41 contracts like that. Whatever God will, will be. Right now I’m like 60% this is my last year. It hurts but there’s still more basketball to be played. You never know what God has in store”.
However, for Darden, there’s only one ideal scenario for his final season – to re-join Real Madrid for one last run. The American guard/forward first landed in Madrid in March 2013 and helped the team lift both the Spanish Liga Endesa Championship and Spanish Supercup that year. “I know one thing. I love Spain, I always loved Spain so… the ideal world to retire? I would retire with Los Blancos. Play one more year with them if I was able to. Dream retirement for me”.
Photo credit: Basketball Champions League