Thu Sep 29 05:16pm EDT
When I asked Michigan State forward Delvon Roe to evaluate his injury-plagued career earlier this month, the eternally upbeat senior refused to acknowledge any disappointment that recurring knee ailments had robbed him of his former athleticism.
"My three years have been great," Roe said. "I've done a great job handling the cards I've been dealt and always keeping a smile on my face no matter the circumstances. You really can't be too frustrated when you go to two Final Fours, play in a national title game and win two Big Ten championships. You can't always be that selfish. You have to recognize that people would give their left arm and left leg to play in the types of games that I was fortunate enough to play in."
That positive outlook will serve Roe well right now because sadly he won't have the opportunity to attempt to make a third Final Four this season. Roe announced Thursday that he's forgoing his final year of eligibility and retiring from basketball after experiencing another setback with his surgically repaired right knee last week, requiring bone chips be removed from it.
It's especially sad that Roe won't be able to play his final season at Michigan State because he seemed so excited about it when we spoke. He relished that the Spartans were entering the season overlooked after last year's disappointing finish and he eagerly anticipated making a run at the school record for all-time blocked shots and the Big Ten's defensive player of the year award.
"We've built our program at Michigan State on toughness, and I've never had a player who played through more pain than Delvon," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a release from the school. "I feel bad for Delvon, because I know how much basketball means to him. It's a shame that most Spartans never got to see the player I recruited. And yet he found a way to contribute and be a valuable part of two Final Fours and Big Ten Championships just by his will and desire. Last year, he unselfishly reinvented himself into a defensive stopper that the team needed."
The only silver lining to Roe's latest medical setback is that it will apparently allow him to focus full time on a potentially lucrative acting career. He received such positive reviews after he began dabbling in acting at Michigan State that he became a theater major before his junior year, performed in several on-campus plays and much to his surprise began fielding offers from movie producers less than a year later.
Roe's big break came when he was invited to audition for a major role in the movie AWOL, a coming of age love story set in the Vietnam War era that filmed this summer in Ann Arbor. The character Roe played was Isaac, a former football player who received his draft letter and had to determine whether to go to war or run away to Canada.
Other directors had offered Roe small parts in upcoming movies, but he turned several down because they conflicted with the upcoming season. Earlier this month, he said he intended to pursue acting only "whenever basketball is over with," which unfortunately appears to be sooner than he expected.
"These injuries have taught me that the basketball will stop bouncing soon and you have to have a backup plan," Roe said. "For me, acting seems to be that plan. Whenever I feel I can't play to the level I want to anymore, I'm going to take acting to that next gear."