The road keeps going, the days keep passing, and that’s good enough for this woman, this player, this family.
“In a way,” she said, “I think it has been a blessing.”
About a year ago, Judy called her son from her home near Minneapolis. Arizona State’s basketball season had ended, and she debated with herself on how to tell Trent, then a junior guard for the Sun Devils. A visit to Judy’s doctor had revealed discouraging news, and cancer was again threatening their family.
Judy said she prefers to avoid sharing specifics about her disease, saying it is simply a rare form of lymphoma. And, as she learned in the days before finally making that call to Trent, the prognosis is not good.
This call wouldn’t be easy. Such talks never are. Years earlier, Judy explained to her son how death happens — and how the living must go on. Judy’s husband, Ted, had died when Trent was 3, a few months after a leukemia diagnosis. In those short months, Ted filmed videos and took pictures with his family, quickly filling the shelves and albums with memories. Without them, Trent said Friday, he would have no recollection of his father; sometimes the footage is enough to jog his mind.
“Bits and pieces,” the 22-year-old said, sitting at a table at Verizon Center.
Late last March, Judy told her son. After she delivered the news, there was silence on the other end.
The following days passed slowly, and Trent considered his options. Really, there was only one: He told Sun Devils Coach Herb Sendek, who had recruited Trent and coached him for three seasons, that he was leaving Tempe. Arizona State would be losing its most consistent scorer, but the need was greater at his mother’s side.
He considered Iowa State but chose Marquette, whose Milwaukee campus is five hours east of Golden Valley, Minn. Because Trent had graduated from Arizona State, he was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately for the Golden Eagles as a graduate student (transfers normally are required to sit out a year).
Marquette Coach Buzz Williams, a fiery and demanding man, showed compassion toward Trent, welcoming him to the team. But there also was work to be done and a culture to fit into, particularly for someone who expected to start right away.
“I don’t holler and scream at him any different — because of the nature of [how] he transferred to Marquette — than I holler and scream at Steve Taylor, who is a freshman,” Williams said Friday. “I holler and scream at them all the time; it’s an equal-opportunity deal.”