Certainly, Quinn McDowell preferred that some things turn out differently. More wins, a conference title or two, a triumphant senior year.
As the college career winds down for one of the most selflessly productive players in the history of William and Mary basketball, he tries to take a broader view.
McDowell was an integral part of one of the Tribe's best teams of the past 20 years, the squad that won 22 games and went to the NIT in 2010. He helped bridge the gap for a young nucleus of players. Most important, he challenged himself every step of the way, on and off the court.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given this opportunity," McDowell said. "Maybe there are a few things in hindsight I would have changed. But I tried to get the most out of what I was given. I tried to bring the maximum amount of effort to whatever I did every day. In the end, that's all you can ask for and all I was capable of giving. Obviously, I would have liked to have been more successful on the basketball court, but I wouldn't trade the experience for another one."
McDowell and the Tribe (6-24, 4-13 CAA) have at least two more games in a frustrating season — the home finale 2 p.m. Saturday against Georgia State at Kaplan Arena and next week's CAA tournament, with the first-round opponent and game time to be determined.
Whenever it ends, Tribe coach Tony Shaver knows that he isn't likely to coach another player like McDowell.
"I thought we had a special player," Shaver said, "but I will quickly tell you that he's exceeded what I thought he would do as a person and as a player. He's just been incredible. He's a very rare young man."
The 6-foot-6 forward from Mason, Ohio, will leave as the sixth-leading scorer in school history, with 1,605 points and counting. He already holds school records in games played (124) and minutes (4,016). He is among the career leaders in 3-point shooting (.406) and free-throw percentage (.822).
McDowell's numbers are down a bit from last season, in part due to a preseason injury that resulted in a slow start, as well as injuries to teammates that robbed the Tribe of both depth and talent in what the players and coaches believed was a promising season.
"It's been one of those years where, for one reason or another, we haven't had everybody on track and playing to their potential," McDowell said. "That's been frustrating, feeling that you had the pieces, but the pieces aren't quite fitting together."
Still, McDowell has tried to remain upbeat and positive throughout. He is thoughtful and engaging, and speaks in paragraphs. The frustration hasn't affected his commitment in other areas.
McDowell's regular activities would tax three people. In addition to the obvious time commitment necessary for a Division I basketball player, he serves as an aide to the President on the school's President's Council.
He is a basketball delegate to the W&M Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He has been the service chair the past two years and is the council vice president this year.
McDowell is president of the Tribe Fellowship student organization on campus, working closely with Evan Muro, the Director of College Ministry at the nearby Williamsburg Community Chapel.
At the Williamsburg Community Chapel, he leads a small group of approximately a dozen high school students in Bible study every Sunday night.
"Some do it as something they like doing, kind of as a part of their schedule," said Muro, a former William and Mary football player. "Some see it as a chance to make an investment in somebody's life That's what Quinn does. He engages with the kids and really wants to know how they're doing and wants to be part of their lives."
He and roommate JohnMark Ludwick, in the summers of 2011 and '09, led groups of students from the WCC on missions to Nicaragua, working to feed and clothe orphans and impoverished youngsters in and around Managua.
Each of the past two summers, McDowell helped organize W&M basketball players' involvement in local chapters of the Boys and Girls Club.
Through the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, he helped organize fund-raising efforts that netted more than $30,000 for the First Lieutenant Todd W. Weaver Memorial Scholarship — named for the 2008 W&M graduate who enlisted in the Army and was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. The scholarship endowment will go to study abroad opportunities for W&M students.
Time permitting, McDowell also squeezes in random speaking engagements at local schools.
"I'm a firm believer that college is absolutely what you want it to be," McDowell said. "Regardless of where you are, you choose your experience. You choose what things you're going to invest your time in. To be honest, kids in college have a lot more time than you think — athletes not as much, because they're committed to their sport — but if you budget your time, you can find a way to be involved in a lot of different areas."
McDowell last year won the CAA's Dean Ehlers Leadership Award, one of the highest honors for a conference basketball player, for leadership, integrity and sportsmanship. He is up for the award again.
He is also the first CAA player to be a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, a national honor that recognizes players for excellence in the community and classroom and areas of character and competition.
"I've never been around a young man who's as service oriented as Quinn is," Shaver said. "A lot of that, obviously, comes from his family."
Dave and Jenn McDowell have worked for 20 years with Athletes In Action, a sports-related ministry within the 60-year-old Campus Crusade for Christ, which recently changed its name to Cru.
Faith, McDowell said, "is the thing on which my life pivots. My faith is something that I try not to make a separate area of my life, where you check the box off on Sunday mornings or whenever you choose to worship, but something that permeates through my entire life, my entire day."
Shaver has seen McDowell's commitment for four years.
"As a coach, you always hope you have an impact on kids," he said. "But I can promise you he's had more of an impact on me than I could have had on him."
McDowell is majoring in religious studies, with a minor in economics. In the short term, he would like to continue to play basketball professionally. Long term, he aims to attend graduate school or perhaps the seminary. Whatever he does, it will involve giving back.
"I'd like to be remembered as somebody who cared more about other people than he did about himself," McDowell said. "Somebody who led by example. Somebody who never asked people to do what he wasn't willing to do himself. Somebody who's committed to his faith. Somebody who's committed to his friends and somebody who's committed to his school.
"On top of that, if I'm remembered as a good basketball player or if I'm remembered as a good student, that's fine. But those other things are more important to me."Copyright © 2015, CT Now