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Max Hazzard ‘grateful’ for year at Arizona despite unexpected ending

NCAA Basketball: San Jose State at Arizona Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

Max Hazzard’s one and only season with the Arizona Wildcats had an odd ending.

Even before the coronavirus canceled the final stages of the 2019-20 campaign, Hazzard missed four of Arizona’s last five games, including the last three, for undisclosed personal reasons.

No moment was stranger than Senior Day when he was honored with the rest of the upperclassmen before the game but then was nowhere to be seen once the action tipped off.

Hazzard’s performance on the court at Arizona wasn’t spectacular either, averaging 5.3 points per game, nearly seven points fewer than he averaged as a redshirt junior at UC Irvine, partly because he had a lesser role with the Wildcats.

Nonetheless, the sharpshooter is grateful for his time at the UA, penning this statement from a social media account called “Untold Athletes.” (Hazzard retweeted the post from his personal account.)

“It was a surreal experience when I entered the transfer portal. After being underrecruited in high school, it was special for me to have top programs finally reach out with offers. When Coach (Sean) Miller at the University of Arizona was the first to call, I thought, ‘Is Sean Miller really calling me?’

“It was a dream come true to follow my brother Jacob and come play at the University of Arizona for my final year. Every kid dreams of going to a big university, playing in front of packed arenas every night, and being on national TV. I’m grateful that Arizona let me be a part of that for my final year.

“I hope this has all taught us one big lesson to enjoy and be grateful for what we have. People say, ‘treat every game like your last’, but no one really knows how to do it. I think now we know how to do it. I’m so grateful for everything basketball has given me. I’m grateful for the life lessons that I’ve gotten through this game. It’s really about the lessons of overcoming and staying consistent and persistent and it’s been a privilege to learn that throughout my career.”

Hazzard revealed that he considered quitting basketball after he twice tore his labrum at UC Irvine. He not only kept playing but, as a redshirt junior, was the Big West Tournament MVP and later dropped a team-high 19 points to lead the Anteaters past No. 4 seed Kansas State for their first-ever NCAA Tournament win.

“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can do this again. I don’t know if I can do 6-9 months of rehab again with no guarantees,’” his statement said. “It was super discouraging, but my teammates and family helped me get through it and I’m really glad I did.”