Growing up, I’m sure many of you had that parent (or even worse, friend) who at times when they spoke to you felt as if the Buddha himself was sharing a piece of life’s deepest truths. One that keeps coming to my mind and I just can’t seem to dislodge it from my hippocampus is that “patience is a virtue.”
I like to think that I’m a pretty patient person. I live in South Florida, notoriously renowned for its terrible drivers. I don’t honk longer than five seconds and I only speed up to pass cars driven by the elderly or to make a yellow light, that way the traffic camera doesn’t snap a picture of my license plate. I’m not a terrible person but I know my limitations. One person who I know has me beat in this category and way closer to achieving Nirvana (not the band) is Florida’s Casey Prather.
All the way back as a freshman in 2010, Prather had just two starts and was averaging around six minutes a game. His sophomore year wasn’t any better, averaging nine minutes and just two points. As a junior his minutes increased, mostly filling in for injuries during their Elite Eight run in the tournament. He contributed about six points every 17 minutes, an improvement but nothing too substantial.
So lets recap, in his first three years at the University of Florida, he had four starts to his name while averaging a little over ten minutes and three points every contest. How is it that someone who was a finalist for Tennessee’s Mr. Basketball wasn’t being able to produce? You can argue that he wasn’t being given the time to demonstrate his talents but he had three years to do that and earn a spot in Billy Donovan’s rotation.
Anyone else more than likely would have requested for a transfer after those initial early years. Let’s not apply our sensibilities, rather applaud Prather for what we know he wound up doing. In a country where we value time over pretty much everything, he stuck it out patiently waiting for his opportunity and as the good book says, “you reap what you sow.”
Now as a senior, playing so far in 14 games he has scored in double figures every time he’s stepped onto the hardwood. He’s averaging around 17 points in a 28 minute span, shooting an SEC best 63 percent and ranks fourth in the NCAA. With those types of numbers, it’s garnered the attention of the Los Angles Athletic Club in naming him to the John R. Wooden Award watch list. It took three years for him to score 276 points, so far this season he’s already at 273.
While it’s still a small sample size to make a complete assessment, you can’t help but be impressed with the turn around Prather has shown. More importantly, let’s not take for granted that there are still some people out there working hard, waiting their turn and not mistaking the quicker solution as the better one.