Senior finishes career as WSU's all-time career field goal percentage leader.
February 8, 1997
EUGENE, Ore. - Head coach Kevin Eastman and forward Tavares Mack announced after discussions Saturday that the fifth- year senior has ended his basketball career at Washington State University.
Mack (Seattle, Wash.) was suspended 19 days in December for skipping a Dec. 1 practice session. He returned to the squad Dec. 21, but a continued lack of motivation and passion for the game of basketball were the focus behind the decision.
"Although this is not a simple decision at all, the solution itself is," said Eastman. "Tavares needs to truly sort things out in terms of what he wants, truly wants from his life. There's nothing wrong with admitting that you've lost interest in something. The important thing is being honest with yourself and making a decision to move on with your life and other interests."
"The decision this time around was made because we just weren't getting the energy, emotion, concentration or passion from Tavares," Eastman said. "In order to play basketball at this high level you must truly have a passion for the game and all that surrounds it. The consistent motivation simply is not there."
"We waited about as long as we could and it's now time for both parties to move on and try to improve," added Eastman.
In his 16 appearances this season, Mack averaged 5.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18 minutes per outing while shooting 48.6 percent from the field. Mack averaged 3.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 16 minutes and a .333 shooting percentage during ten Pacific-10 games.
Eastman added, "Is this disappointing? Yes, and I'd be lying to you if I said otherwise. Is it and has it been disconcerting to the team? Yes, and that's why a decision had to be made. Why did it last so long? Because we're dealing with a young man's life, pride and reputation. I'd much rather go a little too long than a little too short with those stakes at hand."
Mack, a social work major at Washington State, started his Cougar career as a redshirt during the 1992-93 basketball season. He finished his 104-game career as WSU's all-time leader in career field goal percentage with a .573 mark (264-461). Mack had 640 career points, 422 rebounds and 55 blocked shots which rank ninth on WSU's career list. He also started four games this season and 40 total in his career.
The departure of Mack drops the Cougars' roster to 11 available players, including four post players.
Additional Quotes From Washington State Head Coach Kevin Eastman
"Finally, let me say that it's tough on anyone to self evaluate and admit something that can be perceived as negative. As I said to Tavares it takes a strong person to admit that the motivation isn't there, when everyone on the periphery is telling him he has to play. Just because you're 6-foot-8, 6-9, doesn't mean you have to play basketball or should play basketball. Your heart gives you that true answer not your height!"
"Will this hurt our team? Sure because to have a Tavares that we know from the past could have and would have helped us tremendously. But it's not fair to anyone to have him out there at this point in time when his heart just isn't in it."
"The most important things that Tavares can do for himself right now are to get away from basketball for a good while and to get his degree. Leaving the game for a few months will give him time to assess the games importance to him and his future. Getting his degree, which he is close to completing, will hopefully allow him to do something he wants to do rather than something he has to do."
"He will remain on scholarship and will continue his Academic Time Management program with the athletic department to stay on track for his degree."