Navy all-America David Robinson, the college basketball player of the year for 1986-87 and the No. 1 pick in the recent NBA draft, has written his final diary for The Washington Post of his experiences at the Pan American Games. Ensign Robinson was a member of the U.S. basketball team that received the silver medal after losing to Brazil in a shocking upset that stopped a 34-game Pan Am winning streak for the United States.

One of the worst feelings an athlete can have is knowing his teammates need him but not being able to do anything about it. Sitting out much of Sunday's 120-115 loss to Brazil in the gold medal game because of foul trouble, then fouling out when the team needed me most, is one of the most frustrating things I've experienced.

Probably, there was nothing I could have done to stop Oscar Schmidt, who scored 46 points to lead Brazil. The guy was amazing; just sitting there watching, you had a feeling that he'd never miss again. But there was a lot I could have done to help, like grab rebounds and score inside. {Playing only 15 minutes in the final, Robinson had 20 points and 10 rebounds.}

Someone asked me to compare our loss to Brazil to Navy's loss to Duke for a chance to go to the NCAA Final Four two years ago. This is by far worse than losing to Duke. Duke was No. 1 and expected to win. Our Pan Am team was absolutely expected to win and didn't. I knew Brazil was capable of beating us. I had said at a news conference earlier in the week that they're a very good, experienced team. But I never expected to lose.

After I fouled out with six minutes to play, I kept thinking to myself, "We can still pull this out."

But my not being out there really hurt. I'm the captain of the team, the leader. I'm the experience on a team where the rest of the guys are underclassmen.

We crumbled out there down the stretch, and to crumble like that is a direct reflection on me. I should have provided stability. But you can't provide anything sitting on the bench. I made some stupid fouls to get myself into trouble, and I just have to play smarter.

Before the game, I remember saying to some of the guys while we were being taped that if you can't get up for a game like this you must be comatose. And I knew it was important for me to get off to a good start and establish myself around the basket right away.

It was important to jump off to a big lead against Brazil because they play on a lot of emotion during spurts of the game. We had run up a 26-point lead on them last year in the world championships that they knocked down to about five points with eight minutes to play; so I knew they could come back.

The first half Sunday we got inside shots, easy shots. Their defense didn't offer any real resistance. We got the ball where we wanted to and worked it patiently.

But I picked up my third foul before halftime. A couple of the fouls were really dumb, the third one, in particular, really a bad one on my part. I remember how helpless I had felt two games earlier when I fouled out. And here I let it happen again.

Now, the last two fouls were another matter. The fourth foul was for hanging on the rim, according to the official. In college basketball that's a technical foul, not a personal. But in international rules it also counts as a personal foul. And there still were 17 minutes to play in the game.

I had been bumped on my hip while I was in the air and I was tilting. I just held on momentarily to straighten my body, which the officials had allowed throughout the tournament. I'll say this: it took a lot of nerve to make that call at that point.

I had to just sit there watching the lead whittled from 15 points when I went out to a one-point deficit. Even when I got back in, with 7:41 to play, it wasn't for long. Not more than a minute had passed when I went to block a shot and was called for the fifth and final foul. There was no contact at all on the play. None, except I might have gotten a piece of the ball.

There was nothing I could do after the whistle, except sit. Our inexperience really showed at the end. Marcel Souza, the Brazilian forward, was poking at Rex Chapman, playing games with his mind. Rex is a great player, but you saw Rex miss most of his shots down the stretch. They knew how to get to us in certain little ways.

It's difficult to deal with any defeat in a big game, but especially difficult to deal with this defeat, specifically for me. I told the other players they at least have a chance to redeem themselves in their college games this coming season, but it will probably be a year, until the Olympics, before I get that opportunity. I told them I'll be rooting for them, watching them on television this fall.

For me, it's back to Georgia this week to resume work responsibilities {in civil engineering at Kings Bay submarine base}. I'll have to work out primarily on my own, and drive to Jacksonville, Fla. -- about an hour away -- to get in a pickup game when I can.

A couple of days after a loss like the one we suffered, you try to put things in perspective and try to find something positive about it. I believe that, in a way, something good can come of this.

I think next year when Coach John Thompson assembles his Olympic team, teeth will be a little more tightly clenched and stares will be a little more straight-ahead. Maybe this time there was too much of a "we-won't-have-any-problem" attitude. This has opened everyone's eyes and shown anyone who didn't already know any better than we are not invulnerable.

I'm already tooking forward to the Olympics. We'll bounce back.