Sadly, Yesterday Just Another Day For Mackey

It was supposed to be one the proudest moments of his young life—National Signing Day. Instead, while talented young basketball players everywhere signed their names to take the next huge leap of their basketball careers, Bud Mackey passed the day with no fanfare. For Mackey it was just another day in what has become a nightmarish last two months.

It was supposed to be one the proudest moments of his young life—National Signing Day. Instead, while talented young basketball players everywhere signed their names to take the next huge leap of their basketball careers, Bud Mackey passed the day with no fanfare. For Mackey it was just another day in what has become a nightmarish last two months.

On September 29th, 2007 Mackey was arrested at his high school in Georgetown, Kentucky for ostensibly dealing crack cocaine. He was arrested with 1.6 grams of the substance in his shoe and was immediately taken into custody. He was later released on bond, but the life he walked back out into isn't nearly the same. Instead of focusing on yesterday, November 14th, Mackey now forced to focus on another day, December 6th, the date his fate will be decided by a Kentucky District Court.

What's already decided is that Mackey's plans for making a big splash in Bloomington are over. The Hoosiers made it clear that they were parting ways with the 6-foot-4 All-State guard and yesterday's signing of point guard replacement Terrell Holloway made it all but official.

"I'm not going to go into that situation, but in recruiting, you always expect the unexpected," Sampson said yesterday when asked about Mackey. "Sometimes, for an action there is a reaction. At the end of the day, we do what we think is the best for our program."

It wasn't an easy move for the Hoosiers. They were just as excited about Mackey coming to IU as the young guard was about playing in Assembly Hall. After all, this was a kid that had the stones to wear IU socks inside hallowed Rupp Arena during the Kentucky state title game last spring. Sampson didn't just feel like he was getting a good player, but possibly a great one. Scout.com recruiting expert Dave Telep agrees with the assessment.

"He had enough talent to one day make some sort of a living playing this game," said Telep. Now Mackey's future is all about making a living, period, let alone doing it by playing basketball. Suddenly, basketball has become a total afterthought as the young man has to concentrate instead on simply getting his life back on track, all the while considering the possibility of prison time. On December 6th he will face charges of trafficking drugs within 1,000 yards of a school, a charge that could carry a sentence of 1-5 years in jail if he's convicted and a fine up to $10,000.

Suddenly the MVP of last year's state basketball tournament and the future hope of the Hoosier backcourt has become a young man just trying to get his life together.

"Bud Mackey is one of the most significant mysteries of the early signing period," said Telep. "It's really difficult to think ahead in terms of his college basketball career while he works through his legal troubles.

"At this point, his situation in basketball terms is tragic and we can only hope he puts the pieces of his young life together and eventually gives himself a chance to return to the hardwood."

Sadly, a return to the hardwood has been put on hold and Wednesday passed meaninglessly, a day that should have been so momentous.


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