The greatest play in Northwestern Wildcats men’s basketball history is looking to add one more accolade to the previously bare Northwestern basketball trophy case.
Nathan Taphorn’s incredible pass to Dererk Pardon with 1.7 seconds left set up the game-winning layup from the sophomore center and sent Welsh-Ryan Arena into euphoria. The victory is largely considered as the clinching victory and clinching play for Northwestern’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth.
It is definitely a bit of Northwestern history. A moment just about every Northwestern fan remembers where they were when it happened. It was a historic moment.
ESPN seeded it fourth in its voting for the Play of the Year for the ESPYS. And the Wildcats had to overcome some serious heavy hitters. In the previous round, the Wildcats defeated Russell Westbrook’s game-winning 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets to reach the final.
The competition remains very stiff. The other finalists for the Play of the Year are also pretty good. They include Morgan William’s buzzer beater for South Carolina to upset UConn in the Women’s Final Four and Julian Edelman’s catch in the Super Bowl that led to the New England Patriots’ victory.
The Pass certainly deserves a place among them. And it has the historical weight of the others — although, maybe not the championship heft of those other plays.
Still, the Wildcats are still basking in the glory of a strong basketball season. The greatest basketball season since Northwestern’s 1931 National Championship (we count it!).
Eventually, that shine will wear off and Northwestern will get to focus on an expectations-filled 2018 season. Welsh-Ryan Arena, site of “The Pass” is currently under renovation and will get a facelift in time for the 2019 season.
But Northwestern gets one more day in the spotlight to reminisce about this play and the things they accomplished this season.
The ESPYS air July 12 where the Play of the Year will be revealed.