Jimmy Hall came to Kent State University with plenty to prove, on and off the court, after on-campus issues forced his ouster from Hofstra University in New Jersey.
But prove it Hall did in emerging as a dominant force in the middle, both on offense and defensively, for the Golden Flashes, earning multiple postseason honors over his three years with the program and fulfilling a promise to deliver a Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“It was a fantastic journey,” Hall said after Kent State was eliminated by the UCLA Bruins in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night. “It didn't work out the way we wanted it to, but it was a great ride. Appreciate the coaches, my teammates and just everybody. It's been a fantastic ride.”
In 98 career games with the Golden Flashes, Hall totaled 1,683 points, grabbed 867 rebounds, assisted on 210 baskets, stole 67 passes and blocked 96 shots. In nearly 3,000 minutes on the court, Hall converted 672 of his 1,310 field goal tries (51.3 percent) and went 328 of 451 at the free-throw line (72.7 percent).
“Kent State is a family,” Hall said. “Just us getting here and being one of the six teams is just a blessing. I just hope everybody sees our hard work, and (I'm) just happy to be playing on this stage.”
The Golden Flashes were dismissed by many critics heading into the MAC Tournament after dropping the regular-season finale against the Akron Zips and falling to the No. 6 seed, where it required an additional game over a six-day span.
But the Golden Flashes did not pay any attention to the critics, and instead focused on the task at hand, which pushed them through an overtime game against Central Michigan, and then, to wins over the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds, capped off by a 70-65 victory over Akron in the MAC Championship Game.
Although Hall’s time at Kent State is done, the Brooklyn, New York, native is hopeful the accomplishments he was a part of serve as motivating factors for the Kent State teams that come after him.
“How much energy and how much love I have for the game, and, you know, that's really it,” Hall said of his legacy. “Just the love that I have for the game. The points and stuff doesn't matter, just continuing to remember, you know, what started you playing basketball. That's what I hope to leave.
“Just to try keep being better. I definitely want to continue to play basketball after this. Just get in the gym and whatever happens, happens. Just try to do my part as much as I can by working in the offseason.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV