My three favorite Matt Carlino highlights from this year involved only one moment of him in a BYU jersey, and none playing.
We (you, me, a lot of others) tend to study high-profile athletic success at face value. Records. Statistics. What's a player done? What's he capable of doing?
We tend to forget what most of us (Ok, you got me...you) figured out along the way in college: How to become an adult.
Carlino's journey — granted, this comes from a reporter's view, which isn't perfect — included a much greater comfort in his own skin. Communicating with others. Enjoying where he was, who he is.
At face value, if you ask me, it's a shame he won't wrap up his college career at BYU. Through a school-issued media release Tuesday, he'll seek to play his senior year elsewhere.
The general thought is that Carlino didn't want to risk being a reserve again.
It's not like he was exactly receiving lowly backup's minutes during his sixth-man days. But he wants to start. He wants to play how he feels he's capable.
Certainly that will get some snickering. Carlino hoisted 16 shots in his final game, making four, in the NCAA Tournament loss to Oregon on March 20.
The Thursday afternoon in Wisconsin, for many, perfectly summed up Carlino's time in Provo to a T. Or a three.
He missed early. He jacked up a few shots. He got rolling at one point in the second half to get the Cougars back in the game. It was his first time as a starter in a couple of months. The Cougars were missing Kyle Collinsworth. Carlino felt compelled to do some of the heavy lifting. We all know that can be a dangerous mindset.
He found a noteworthy balance for awhile coming off the bench during the previous three months. Collinsworth's absence left a high-risk, high-reward slew of possibilities.
Anyway, I won't remember his junior year in Provo for any particular games.
He never became Jimmer Redux. He isn't Tyler Haws.
What he was is someone who seemed to have a pretty nice experience, even if it wasn't perfect. That's still a pretty darn good existence, right? He took the criticism in stride, hopped off Twitter; a brilliant move.
I would hope that he doesn't have buyer's remorse as he leaves teammates that seemed to like him plenty.
Dragging you, dear reader, long enough, I should get to what I'll remember about Matty Ice. I promised three things, right?
Carlino and I wound up getting to chat at length in Los Angeles in October. He was pegged as a co-captain and head coach Dave Rose wanted him to attend the league's West Coast Conference media day.
It didn't strike me as Carlino's style. Rose appeared to be trying to send him a message with the invitation. I was skeptical about whether that motivation was worth it.
But he was a pleasure to talk to, open, forthright; he joked about feeling more comfortable than ever about being himself. A few folks at the event approached me and said he was a favorite guest.
So there's one.
Number two came on Selection Sunday. I happened to be sitting at my computer in the Marriott Center reporters' room, waiting for various Cougars to talk about making the NCAA Tournament. Other teammates and school folks were running around. Carlino pulled up a chair and we talked about the team getting back into the dance. How the fellas were relieved to not have to go to the NIT again.
If this was some veteran bitter about his role, it sure didn't show.
By the way, I think he just came over and chatted because the room was empty except for me. He just wanted to talk to someone without the tape recorders and cameras. His happiness and comfort level was obvious.
Perhaps a small part of that was he knew he would be starting again. This was a big chance for him. But I'll choose not to be so cynical. And besides, every player at this level — without wishing something upon a teammate — would quietly wish for themselves an opportunity to contribute on such a grand stage.
Lastly, I'll remember Carlino's final BYU practice. At Harris Center, leading up to the Oregon game, Carlino and Rose walked off the floor together after their NCAA-mandated time expired. Rose put an arm around him. They both looked into the rafters and shared a laugh that Wednesday afternoon.
It seemed hard to believe the coach and players' relationship was strained in that quiet moment. Though there's no question Carlino's style, and streakiness, was a conflict throughout his time in Provo.
Rose and his staff gave Carlino a lot of freedom throughout his career, from the very start. If Carlino's game was a monster, BYU's laboratory helped to build it.
He could handle the ball. He had a green light to shoot, and shoot often. It was like Jimmer all over again.
We can agree that didn't quite work out.
That doesn't mean Carlino's time in Provo was a failure.