MILWAUKEE -- Travis Diener is thinking about the NBA sooner
than he expected.
Marquette's star point guard will miss the rest of his senior
season after breaking two bones in his left hand at practice
Tuesday and undergoing surgery that will sideline him up to six
Diener was hurt in a non-contact drill at the beginning of
practice, leaving him 83 points shy of surpassing George Thompson
as Marquette's all-time leading scorer, and 15 assists shy of
becoming Conference USA's all-time leader.
Diener, a Cousy Award finalist as the nation's top point guard,
will continue to attend practices and games during his recovery as
he focuses on the NBA draft in June. He leads Conference USA with
averages of 19.7 points and seven assists, and is the only player
in the country to lead a major conference in both categories.
"We are going to close a chapter on what has been an
outstanding career, but we're nowhere near closing the book on what
will continue to be an outstanding career," Marquette coach Tom
Crean said Wednesday.
Diener said he was disappointed he can't be on the floor to help
the Golden Eagles (18-8) make a last-gasp push to make the NCAA
tournament. Crean said he would involve Diener in the team's
game-planning and preparation.
"It's obviously ending too soon, sooner than I wanted," Diener
said. "My goal now is set to help this team win some more games
and get into the (NCAA) tournament. Our goals are still the same,
with or without me. They're going to play their hearts out."
Diener said he didn't think he was seriously injured at first
because the pain didn't hit him until 20 minutes later. He said he
is still coming to terms with his college career being cut short.
"Tomorrow night (at Cincinnati) when I see the guys come out
and play and I'm sitting there watching, knowing that I can't ever
play for Marquette again, it might hit me then. I'm sure it's going
to hit me on Senior Day when I walk out in street clothes," he
Diener missed three games last month with a foot injury. Since
his return, he averaged 18 points and eight assists in leading the
Golden Eagles to three wins and a near-upset of then-No. 12
Diener, who helped Marquette reach the Final Four during Dwyane
Wade's last season two years ago, finishes his college career with
1,691 points, just shy of the 1,773 Thompson scored from 1967-69.
Diener is one of seven players in school history to score 1,000
points and accumulate 400 assists. Marquette went 90-33 during his
Diener is part of a family with deep basketball roots. He played
for his uncle, Dick, at Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac. He has
two sisters who play college ball, one at Lewis (Ill.) University
and one at Saint Louis.
And he had a spirited competition with his cousin Drake, a
senior at DePaul, against whom he went 6-2 during his time at
Marquette. He was 4-0 against Drake's brother, Drew, who attended
Diener is a candidate for several postseason honors, and Crean
said Diener deserved to be named an All-American. Athletic director
Bill Cords said Diener was already an All-American in his eyes.
"Travis Diener is what college basketball is all about," Cords
said, "He's what Marquette University is all about, and as a
competitor and a team player, a student-athlete and a person, he's
an All-American in every sense of the word.
"And what he's brought to this program and what he will leave
with this program is incredible."