Jerod’s college career ends |

Jerod’s college career ends

Steve Yingling

Jerod Haase’s final basketball game for South Tahoe High ended in ecstasy. His final day on the court for Kansas University ended in heartache.

Arizona stunned the top-ranked Jayhawks 85-82 in the NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional semifinals Friday in Birmingham, Ala.

“Obviously, it’s extremely disappointing,” said Haase by phone on Sunday. “In my mind, without a doubt, we’re the best team in the nation, but we will never be called national champions.”

Haase directed the Vikings to the Nevada state title during his senior season in 1991-92.

But on Friday night Haase was in a helpless plight – on the bench with a broken right wrist that had become too painful for him to play effectively. He played only 14 minutes and scored two points.

However, Haase didn’t hide his warm smile for long. A young girl, Katie Martincich, cheered up Haase during a pep rally Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. She showered Haase with several “You’re special” balloons before returning to her seat, where she held up a sign that read, “Jerod, will you marry me?”

“That was a good feeling. Things like that I’ll remember for a long, long time. That’s more important than winning ball games. I do take pleasure in being a role model and that I have an effect on a lot of people’s lives,” Haase said.

Haase’s fans may not have seen their idol’s last game. He longs to play in the NBA.

“I don’t know what others think of my ability, but I’m confident I can play at just about any level,” Haase said.

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