This was one of the absolute worst moments I’ve ever had as a basketball fan. The tragedy wasn’t just that we saw the agonizing end of a great college career, but that it was so utterly preventable. If Brian Zoubek didn’t try to take the charge, and if De’Sean Butler didn’t feel compelled to jump sideways at the last minute to avoid it, Butler wouldn’t have torn his ACL.* But because he did, a career would be irrevocably changed.**
*I’m not saying Zoubek is a bad guy here. His decision to take the charge was utterly rational, and utterly consistent with everything he’d no doubt been taught his entire career.
**Butler was in the midst of an amazing tournament run when he tore his ACL and might well have been a first round pick. I haven’t seen him play since to know whether he’s made it all the way back physically, but one would imagine he has not since he put up only middling numbers in the D League this year.