Men's Basketball Seniors Bid Farewell
Feb. 24, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Marco Killingsworth, Sean Kline, Lewis Monroe and Marshall Strickland are without doubt one of the best senior classes to come through the illustrious Indiana men's basketball program. So far this season, the Hoosier foursome have made an impact in all of Indiana's 24 games this season. Killingsworth, Kline, Monroe and Strickland bring different leadership styles to this year's team, but share a common goal of making their last games in the cream and crimson memorable ones.
For Indiana-raised Kline, a Huntington native, playing in the cream and crimson has been a dream come true.
"Playing in Assembly Hall has been a dream of mine since I was young," Kline said. "This is a special place, and I was lucky enough to live my dream and have the opportunity to play at IU."
Regardless of setbacks during his career, the senior forward has a lifetime of memories playing for the Hoosiers.
"I've had so many great memories while at IU," Kline said. "The Final Four run my redshirt freshman year was obviously a highlight for me. Not many people can say they played for it all. Another obvious highlight was winning the Maui Invitational my freshman year. It's an incredible feeling that I'll never forget, but playing in Assembly Hall with my teammates are what I will remember most."
"My time at Indiana has definitely been a learning experience. I've done a lot of growing as a player and a person. My time here has meant a lot. This is a great place, a great campus and a great university that I'm sure I will miss when my time here is over."
The clear leader on this year's team, Strickland, has made his final season at Indiana his most memorable. As a consistent contributor in a starting role for the Hoosiers, Strickland added his name to a short list of Hoosier greats. Against Penn State in Assembly Hall on Feb. 22, he became only the 40th Hoosier to score 1,000 career points.
"Marshall was my first signee," Indiana head coach Mike Davis said. "He is a great student-athlete. He should be a poster player for this program because of his academics and his approach to the game. I'm proud of him for going over the 1,000-point mark. He has meant a lot to me, and I'm happy he came and happy he stayed."
Strickland was selected honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches in 2004 and has played in all but two games in his four-year stint as a Hoosier, a total of 114 games.
Like fellow senior Kline, Strickland also considers winning the Maui Invitational one of the many highlights of his career.
"There have been so many memorable moments playing at IU," Strickland said. "One memory sticks out in my mind was my freshman year playing in Maui at the Maui Invitational. Playing in that tournament was the start of my career here and it is something I will never forget. Those were my first games and they weren't even in Assembly Hall but I was so excited to be apart of that team."
As a Hoosier, the Mt. Airy, Md., product has played in 55 games in Assembly Hall over his four-year career as a Hoosier. Playing in his 56th and final game on Branch McCracken Court, Strickland can't help but reflect on the amazing ride.
"My four years here have gone fast," Strickland said. "It's been fun and a great ride. I feel like I've grown a lot and learned a lot through my experiences here. I know I will take a lot away from what I have done here. I've loved playing in Assembly Hall for four years. It's a great atmosphere and it's so much fun to play in. I've played in a lot of great games here. I can't think of a better place to call your home court."
Killingsworth and Monroe joined the veteran Hoosier seniors Kline and Strickland for their final collegiate season.
Killingsworth, who garnered a spot on the Wooden Award Midseason All-American team, has picked up an impressive three Big Ten Player of the Week honors this season alone. The Montgomery Ala., native leads the Hoosiers in scoring and rebounding this season.
Against the then-No. 1 team in the country, Duke, on Nov. 30, Killingsworth demonstrated he belonged in the cream and crimson. The 6-8 forward recorded a career-high 34 points in 34 minutes of action in the memorable Big Ten-ACC showdown.
"My most memorable moment in Assembly Hall would be when I dunked the ball against Duke," Killingsworth said. "The level of noise in there after that was the loudest thing I've ever heard. I will never forget that."
Killingsworth has embraced all of Indiana's rich basketball tradition and is grateful for the opportunity to be a Hoosier even if it's just for a season.
"This school and Coach Davis gave me the opportunity to further showcase my talents," Killingsworth said. "Coming to Indiana has been a great experience for me. The loyal fans make Indiana a great place to play. I can't think of a better place to finish my career at than IU."
Just as Kline and Strickland have been teammates for the entirety of the collegiate careers, Killingsworth and Monroe have also played together for five impressive years. Monroe, who transferred to IU with Killingsworth from Auburn, has made his presence known both on the court and in the hearts of Hoosier fans. Monroe, who is second on the team in assists, is an unselfish player with exceptional knowledge of the game.
Monroe, who has played in all but one game this season, will cap off five years of collegiate basketball at Indiana.
"My last game here will be a big-time game for me," Monroe said. "I've had a long college career and it's coming to an end. I've enjoyed everything about being here since I arrived on campus. I appreciate all the fans and the coaching staff so much. It's been great to end my career at a place with such a great basketball program. Senior night is going to definitely be a memorable moment for me."
The college careers of Indiana's four seniors comes to a close, Indiana head coach Mike Davis shares his thoughts on what this graduating foursome has meant to him.
"These four guys are very special to me," Davis said. "They are kids that I have enjoyed coaching and being around. I am grateful for all of their contributions to this team and Indiana basketball. They have found a great deal of success while at IU, and I know they will continue to do so in years to come."
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