BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- The Division 1 college basketball career of Basking Ridge resident Max Mahoney ended with him cutting down the nets and hoisting a championship trophy 2 1/2 weeks ago.
Ending one's career that way would be a dream come true for almost any basketball player in any other season, but there was still a sense of incompleteness about the way it all ended.
Mahoney, the 2016 graduate of Ridge High School, finished a storied career at Boston University when the Terriers upset Colgate on the road, 64-61, in the Patriot League Tournament championship game on March 11.
That would have qualified Boston University for the NCAA Tournament -- but the day after BU's conference championship, the NCAA announced that its national tournament would be canceled for 2020. Boston U. won its tournament the same night that President Trump declared a national State of Emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Within a day, the world changed, and all organized sports around the globe ceased.
"It was definitely satisfying. I feel fortunate to have a chance to play that game," Mahoney said. "I have friends who didn't even get the chance. I think we were last team to actually clinch a bid. Yeah, it stinks that we didn't get to go to the dance, but, still, playing for a conference championship was good for us."
Mahoney finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the victory over Colgate, which left BU with a 21-13 record after the team had begun the season 3-7.
"I had never been in a championship game in my college career," Mahoney said. "We lost at home in double overtime in my freshman year in the conference semifinals, but as a freshman you don't understand the scope of it, and you don't realize how hard it is just to get to a semifinal. I think all around, we were excited. We had worked for that all year, and coach (Joe) Jones did a great job preparing us for that game. In practice, we had the Colgate sound system at full volume to prepare us for game situations."
A first-team All-Patriot League selection, Mahoney led the Terriers in points (15.5 ppg.), rebounds (8.3 rpg.), steals (1.1) and blocks (0.5 bpg.) while also ranking second in assists (2.6 apg.). He is just the fourth player in Boston University history to reach 1,500 points and 700 rebounds in his career. He leaves Boston U. with the school record for the highest career field goal shooting percentage (.607).
"I couldn't ask for a better way to go out as a senior," Mahoney said. "We were second to last in the league last year, and we tied for second this year, which speaks to how the program turned around this year. The way we finished out the season, cutting down the net, that's not something a lot of people get to say they did. It's so fulfilling when all that hard work comes to fruition, seeing all that progress come together."
Mahoney stuck around Boston for an extra week after the conference championship, then came home to Basking Ridge after the NCAA Tournament was canceled and BU announced that the rest of its semester would be conducted in the form of online classes.
"I'm just trying to stay in shape while doing online classes," said Mahoney, a finance major. "I'm struggling to get into a gym anywhere to work out. I am working out in my basement. I was talking to a friend of mine in California who plays, and he said they stripped the rims on the outdoor courts there, so they won't let people on court."
After he graduates, Mahoney said, "I'm definitely open to exploring playing professionally overseas. As I go through the agent signing process, I'll go from there and see what happens. But Boston U. is a good school, and I will always have (my degree) to fall back on."