1990-2018. Photo courtesy of cbssports.com
A TRUE TRAGEDY IN THE UCLA COMMUNITY
When I found out that Tyler Honeycutt, a standout Bruin on the hard court from 2009-11, had apparently and allegedly committed suicide this past Friday after his encounter with the police at his Sherman Oaks home when his mother had called 911 to report him “behaving erratically”,
Like everyone else in Bruin Nation, of course I was shocked and saddened.
While it’s not my intention to make any assumptions regarding whatever troubles that Tyler was going through, to speculate what was going on in his head that compelled him to end a life that fell just nine days short of his 28th birthday,
I imagine that it was a bit more than, (or so I have read) having trouble adjusting to playing basketball in Russia, where he spent last season as he played only parts of two years – 24 games to be exact – in the NBA after declaring for the draft out of Westwood in 2011.
That Tyler was taken in the second round, which is not guaranteed as only the first round picks are the ones given the big money and job security in the League,
Meant a precarious life in hoops, as to have a career in the NBA as a second rounder you have to more or less play like a combination of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in the summer leagues and what was then called the D-League – the minor leagues of basketball, now called the G-League.
Playing in three countries, Israel and Turkey in addition to Russia, over the past five seasons sounds like a precarious, unstable existence in basketball to me.
Which I’m sure is the case for, at bare minimum, 98% of all those guys playing their hoops overseas with aspirations of plying their wares at Staples Center rather than whatever arena or gym in Europe or Asia that is allowing them to do their balling.
I’m strictly guessing – knowing full well that I may be wrong – that though he was supposed to resign with either a Russian or an Israeli team for next season, Tyler was seeing the end of the road for his career without seeing any of the riches and glory, and was having trouble coming to grips with that.
Tyler’s former high school coach had mentioned that he was concerned about his well-being, that he, according to a story on Yahoo.com, was “…going through some things,” and was planning on visiting him when his mother called announcing that he had a gun.
Regardless of what it was that led to Tyler’s demise,
It should obviously go without saying that Bruin Nation suffered a true tragedy on the evening of July 6th.
It should also obviously go without saying that – at the risk of sounding like a public service announcement – suicide (my guess as to what it was) is never the answer, that taking one’s own life is, in the words of an old high school friend of mine,
“A permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
In a revelation, I’ve had thoughts of hurting myself, voicing such more than once due to various issues that would take too long to describe here, but I very much thank God that I didn’t go through with those thoughts and am still here.
Wherever he is right now, speaking as a fellow member of UCLA’s Bruin Nation (for thirty years now!),
I certainly hope that Tyler rests in a peace that he was apparently frantically looking for.
Peace be with you, fellow Bruin; I’m praying for you. Photo courtesy of losangelesinspiration.com