Previously in Whatever Happened To... I've taken the time to track down Johnny Wolf and Churchill Odia. While neither of those young men had their career end at Xavier, they both did get the peculiar mixture of joy and sadness that comes with walking down the tunnel for the last time. For some players though, the dream ends before that moment.
And for some, it ends in tragedy.
Dedrick Finn was instantly likable when he first took the court in 2002. He combined a self-assured swagger with an infectious smile that seemed to reflect a joy born from playing the game. More than just a fun personality, Finn could play some ball. Not a great shooter, Finn scored mostly from long range and volume. This tended to make his game entertaining and somewhat frenetic. When he wasn't scoring (7.6 ppg) Finn distributed the ball tremendously well, setting the Xavier freshman record with 139 assists. Finn played well in a first round tournament loss to Maryland, racking up five assists against only two turnovers. The future seemed bright.
Finn lost his starting spot his sophomore year, but that had much more to do with Lionel Chalmers than it did Dedrick's play. Finn still managed to lead the team in assists and improve his scoring output to over eight points per game. Most memorable that season was his half-time buzzer beating heave against Mississippi State that gave Xavier a 34-33 lead and cracked the resistance of a tough Bulldog squad. In that moment, Finn was encapsulated, first strutting away before breaking into a smile and racing for the tunnel just ahead of his celebrating teammates.
Finn's junior year was a miasma of inconsistent performance and visibly building frustration. When Xavier failed to make the tournament, it was partly because of Finn's drop in production coupled with his appalling 33% from the field. While his junior was bad though, it paled compared the train wreck to come.
Before the 2005-06 season even began, a bizarre story surfaced. Dedrick Finn was accused of, and eventually charged with, the kidnapping of his girlfriend's dog. Finn was suspended for the first exhibition game and publicly apologized, but the entire freakish saga cast an early pall over the team. With BJ Raymond and Stanley Burrell coming on, Finn began to lose playing time. His attitude and demeanor were visibly negative and his production crashed to its lowest point. In late February of 2006, after a loss to UD in which he played 32 minutes and put up a 5-6-2 line, Dedrick Finn was dismissed from the team for persistent rules violations. The career that began so well was over after 122 games.
Tragedy, though, isn't being kicked off of a basketball team. Unfortunately, Dedrick Finn still had farther to fall. On the 29th of September, 2007, Finn was arrested on multiple felony counts of dealing cocaine in his hometown of Evansville, In. At the age of 23, Dedrick Finn had thrown it all away.
Note: Mario shot us a line on Twitter in regards to Dedrick. "I've kept in contact with Dedrick over the years. He has grown up considerably and has very fond memories of his time at X. He will shoot over congratulatory texts after big wins & still follows X closely. I know he wishes things ended differently." For my (Joel here) part, I wish Dedrick all the best and I'm glad to hear this talented young man has gotten his head on straight. It's obviously too late for his Xavier career, but I felt a lot better hearing that than I did hearing he had been arrested for cocaine distribution.