The various Colorado men's basketball alums on Team Colorado dealt with last year's disappointment and heartbreak in their own personal ways.
Being, for the large part, a group of seasoned professionals, most of them did their best to quickly forget the series of miscues that led to defeat in the finale of The Basketball Tournament last summer. Even so, forgetting the loss of the tournament's $2 million jackpot was a little more difficult.
Marcus Hall, one of the catalysts of last year's stirring summer run, took a far different approach. As he prepares to again compete alongside his former CU teammates, Hall has committed every turnover, missed shot, and general mistake to memory, eager to use this year's TBT as an opportunity to change history.
"To be honest, I can't really say that I'm over it. I'm still holding on to that as far as fire and motivation," Hall said. "I know a lot of people on the team have said they haven't watched the game, and they can't watch the game. I'm the total opposite. I've probably seen it 20 times.
"I know every possession and at what time everything happened. Every little thing. I just try to see where we went wrong. At the end of the day we gave ourselves a chance to win two million dollars. Sometimes the ball doesn't go in, or a call doesn't go your way. That's what happened. But we gave ourselves a chance, and I'm extremely proud of that."
Hall's play was a big reason why Team Colorado had that chance a year ago, with his ability to get into the lane and create open looks either for himself or his teammates proving to be one of the squad's go-to assets.
"We knew what we were going to do this year as far as practice, and how many days, and how many practices we wanted to get on those days and what the objective is," Hall said. "In the end, we're all a year more experienced. It's unfortunate you can almost eliminate maybe 20 teams (in TBT) because they don't understand the seriousness of it. We were a victim of that the first year (in 2015). We understood the level of competition and what was going to be thrown at us. We take it a little more serious to give ourselves a chance."
Hall, who spent his final season with the Buffs in 2007-08, remains fourth all-time at CU with 423 career assists. His assist total from each of his final three seasons at CU remain among the top 20 single-season performances in program history, and he is just one of six CU players to rank among the Buffs' top 10 all-time leaders in both assists and steals (Hall is 10th with 140).
Hall's professional career has taken him to Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey, and the NBA D-League, and he spent this past year with a club in Venezuela. While injuries hampered Hall's ability to build on last summer's TBT performance, he has no plans to end his professional career any time soon.
"It was a different situation for me last year," said Hall, who turns 32 in August. "I tried to wait and see if I could get a deal that I hadn't necessarily had before, and it just didn't come through. I waited and waited and waited, and I guess the waiting kind of took my body out of in-season mode.
"I think everybody knows if I can play until I'm 50, I'll play until 50. I've always said if I can get 10 out of this I'd be extremely, extremely blessed. I'll say this — I'll play until 37, 38, 39 if I can still play at a high level."
While The Basketball Tournament opens Saturday with first-round games in Philadelphia and Charlotte, Team Colorado, the top seed in the West Region, does not play until a July 15 date in Las Vegas.