BLOOMFIELD'S DAYE SURPASSES 2,000 CAREER POINTS
Courtesy of Mike Gesario, Bloomfield Dispatch
Gage Daye says he doesn't remember his first basket for Bloomfield College. He thinks maybe it was a free throw.
He's fairly certain he remembers the bucket that gave him 1,000 points in his collegiate career. That came in a game in Alaska last season.
This basket he's going to remember for a long time.
A layup in the first half of Saturday's contest at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia gave Daye 2,001 points in his Bloomfield career. The senior guard is only the second player in Deacons history to reach that plateau.
"I put in a lot of work to get here," said Daye. "I just feel grateful to have everybody support me and back me. I'm overwhelmed by everything. I feel like I'm living a dream."
Daye's 2,000th and 2,001st points came on a drive to the hoop with about seven minutes left in the first half. He was fouled on the play and before he could shoot his free throw, an announcement over the public address system alerted the crowd of his achievement.
The numerous friends and family members in attendance, some of whom have been counting down to the milestone for several games, were well aware of what had happened.
"I didn't think they would [stop the game]," said Daye. "I figured we'd just play the game out. I definitely appreciated it. It was a great feeling, a really good feeling.
"After it happened, a lot of people showed me a lot of love. It was very overwhelming. I'm very grateful for it all."
Several family members had told Daye they weren't going to be able to make the trip to Philadelphia. Instead, they wished him luck and congratulated him in advance. The joke was on Daye though, as these family members – and many others – filed into their seats during pregame warm-ups. The same contingent was there to greet Daye with hugs and congratulations when he came out of the locker room after the game.
Being able to share the moment with his closest fans is what Daye enjoyed the most about the afternoon.
"It was just amazing to see everyone come out," he said. "My family, they are really into it. They really support me. They really back me."
Though he recognizes its significance – it's a milestone he'll carry with him forever, he admits – Daye had been trying to downplay his run for 2,000 points. After he scored 25 points in Thursday's game against Dominican College, Daye confessed he wasn't sure how many points he needed to reach the mark. But, he soon was told it was only five more.
That made it hard for him to ignore the approaching milestone Saturday. After hitting a pair of buckets, he knew his next point would do it.
"I was just playing," he said. "But after I scored it, it was just a relief – just to get it off my chest. The 2,000 is really just one of many goals I have. I really have a lot more I want to do individually and as a team."
Daye did sink his free throw to complete the three-point play and his shots continued to fall throughout the rest of the game. He netted a game-high 32 points in the Deacons' 84-72 win.
"Two thousand career points is an incredible accomplishment, and we are very proud of Gage for surpassing this milestone," said Bloomfield Head Coach Gerald Holmes. "Over his four years here, we've had the opportunity to watch him grow as a player and as a person, and he's responded to every challenge we've issued him. He is a special player, and this even just makes that even more clear."
Looking back at the start of his Bloomfield career, Gage said he never imagined having this type of success. He said he scored about 700 or 800 points during his high school career at St. Mary in Elizabeth. He chose Bloomfield largely because it was close to home, which made it easy for his family to see him play.
"I really couldn't see this. Playing basketball on scholarship – not having to pay for my education and playing basketball at the same time – that was a big deal for me," said Daye. "Everything that's happened over the last four years, I couldn't have imagined."
He's now in a position to chase down Bloomfield's all-time points record. Andre Dabney holds the record with 2,350 career points.
"It's definitely a goal," Daye said.
But if he had to make a choice between that record and winning a team championship, Daye wouldn't hesitate in making a choice.
"Championship. Definitely," he said. "This is my last year. I don't have any championships since I've been here. That's my No. 1 focus – to leave with a championship."