McDonald, teammates frustrated after Shamrock Shootout loss

Hasani Grayson

Former WKU guard Kahlil McDonald was in no mood on Sunday to discuss how the Shamrock Shootout went after his team was eliminated from the tournament.

McDonald, who had been upset with the officiating after an earlier game, grew more frustrated in the game that eventually eliminated his team, Trill ENT.

After the team lost in overtime to last year’s Shootout winners, International Papers, McDonald’s teammates were also critical of the referees at the Preston Center.

“They need some better refs next year,” Trill ENT member Nate Williams said. “That’s what really cost us the game. Some of these guys don’t even know basketball.

“…They were cussing the whole game, and he did didn’t get a (techical foul), but we got tech for delay of game. I didn’t really understand that.”  

International Papers member Bryan Loder almost got into an altercation with McDonald after the two jostled for position on an inbound pass. He also said the officiating was subpar.     

“It’s a charity tournament — you’re not going to have top-of-the-line officials,” Loder said. “You get what you pay for.”  

As the game ended, McDonald tore off his jersey, walked off the court with 10 seconds remaining and left Preston.

But he had a more relaxed attitude toward the tournament on Saturday before the start of his first game.    

“I’m just chilling and having fun right now,” he said.

He also added that he was still working hard to play professionally after he graduates.

McDonald was the only varsity basketball player eligible to play since he’s graduating in May.

He led a seven-man team that was comprised mostly of guys he had played with before.

“There’s a couple of dudes I know from campus that play in Preston a lot,” he said before the first game of the Shootout. “They’re pretty good.”     

For the first three games of the Shootout, Trill ENT found a way to come back from a second half deficit and hit the game winning shot at the buzzer.

Trill ENT member Paul Perkins, who slashed to the basket to get that last second lay up, said he enjoyed being on the floor with a player like McDonald.

“He’s smart — he knows what he was supposed to do,” Perkins said. “When he gets in the game, he gets involved with the team and make sure everybody scores and plays defense.”

McDonald averaged 8.3 points per game for the Toppers in 2011-2012, hitting a team-high 55 three-pointers and helping the Toppers advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Williams also praised McDonald’s performance saying, “He really helped us out a lot. He passed the ball, he shot the ball, he played like one of us.”     

Trill ENT also needed another last second shot to win by one in their third game of the tournament.

But they found themselves unable to hit the late shot against International Paper.

Despite the disappointing finish and the arguments with the referees, Williams said he enjoyed participating.

“It was a fun tournament,” he said. “We plan on coming back next year and hopefully we’ll win it.”