Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Byron Mouton: Stuck in Shining Moment

Today's Washington Post has a great feature article about Byron Mouton (2000-02), the only starter from the 2002 championship team who never got to play in the NBA. As I posted back in January, Byron is now playing for the Wilmington Sea Dogs, but the Post article says:

Mouton ended up in Wilmington by mistake. When he signed a contract with the Sea Dawgs in late January, he thought the team played out of Wilmington, Del., a 90-minute drive from Mouton's apartment in Bowie. Two hours later, his agent, Mike Hart, called to say that he'd bought Mouton a plane ticket to North Carolina.

"What am I going there for?" Mouton asked.

The story talks about how Byron is plodding through the season in the ABA where his professionalism and veteren leadership is out of place and he's making $500 a week, eating team meals at Chik-fil-A, and playing home games in high school gyms in front of tiny crowds of 250 fans. But he still has fans who remember him from Maryland and want him to sign Terps memorabilia after the game, even though he'd like to move on from it.

Five years have passed since Mouton helped Maryland win the national title the last time it was held in Atlanta, but the significance of that weekend still casts a shadow over his daily life in the American Basketball Association. Since he started for Maryland during its 2002 title run, Mouton has played for 13 professional teams in nine leagues. Still, even in Wilmington, fans regularly ask Mouton to talk about his old college teammates and sign Terrapins memorabilia.

In the consciousness of basketball fans, Mouton is forever stuck in the NCAA tournament. [...]

"You get a little sick of it," said Mouton, 28. "It's like, 'Okay, that's great fans want to talk to me. But are they really supporting me or this player they remember from five years ago?' "

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