Three Citadel seniors will play their final basketball game at McAlister Field House on Saturday when the Bulldogs take on Western Carolina on Senior Day.
It will be an emotional moment for Marshall Harris, P.J. Horgan and Ashton Moore, as well as head coach Chuck Driesell, who will be saying goodbye to his first class of four-year seniors.
“It’s always an emotional time. It reminds you of how fast time goes by and all the things you go through together,” said Driesell, whose team plays at 1 p.m. Saturday. “In my experience, it puts a magnifying glass on the kind of relationship you have with your players, and that’s always been very important to me.”
Driesell harkened back to the summer of 2011 when he welcomed Horgan, Harris and Moore as recent high school graduates eager for a life-changing step. Their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development began immediately.
“They were scared and they were thin, but they were also excited and anxious to begin their college careers,” he said. “Those four years are so critical and so embedded in us as people, and to be able to play a part in that development as a student, a player, a cadet and a person, it’s pretty neat to see where they are now.”
Harris took over as The Citadel’s starting point guard midway through his freshman season, led the SoCon in assists the following season — becoming the first Bulldog to do so since Jimmy Tharpe in the 1985-86 season — and will likely finish his career third in school history in assists. “The main thing I’ve been thinking about is to try and stay in the moment and appreciate where I’m at right now as a college basketball player,” Harris said. “I know Saturday is going to be special, but I don’t want to overthink it.”
Horgan’s sophomore season showed much promise, highlighted by his 23-point effort in the Bulldogs’ 84-79 victory over Furman. Then came a series of lower-back injuries so painful that Horgan had to stand during bus trips to road games. After initially giving up the game because of his back problems, Horgan. a 6-9 forward, returned late last year and has stayed healthy this season, ranking among the league’s best in rebounding and field goal percentage.
“I’ve been trying to not dwell on it too much about it almost being over,” Horgan said. “I just want to end on a good note playing as hard as I can going into the (SoCon) Tournament.”
Moore scored his 1,000th career point vs. Chattanooga on Dec. 11, hit his first career buzzer-beater at Samford on Feb. 12, and has authored a plethora of one-man scoring spectacles — most notably his 29-point masterpiece against Wofford at McAlister Field House in a 69-66 win on Jan. 15.
“I’ve been thinking about all the great memories, teammates and coaches and how much I’m going to miss this group of guys,” Moore said. “Saturday is going be a good day and a sad day at the same time, but now we can look back on our four years and see where we came from, how much closer we got as a team and how much better we are for it.”