See, they have a history, Jackson Trapp and these Panthers. The trouble, of course, is that it’s the kind of history you’d sooner just forget.
“It’s funny,” the Florida Atlantic guard cracked. “The two times I’ve hurt my ankle really badly were against Florida International the last couple years.”
Call it a cruel twist of fate. Or tendons. Or both. The first setback was three years ago at FIU, on Feb. 7, 2013, an injury that knocked the 6-foot-4 sharpshooter out the next week. In fact, over his first two appearances against the Owls’ crosstown rivals, both in early 2013, Trapp was a combined 0-for-8 from the floor, 0-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Did we say “forget”? We meant bury it at sea. Like the Caspian Sea. Out of sight, out of mind.
“Nothing too serious,” said the Orlando native, whose Owls host FIU in a Conference USA test Saturday on ASN in the first of three home games to finish off FAU’s regular season. “It was just one of those things.”
At any rate, like John Cleese’s mad villager in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” he got better. Over his last two meetings with the Panthers, the senior’s averaged eight points and four boards while connecting on 7 of 12 field-goal attempts. Of course, FAU has dropped six of its last seven in the intracity showdown, a trend Trapp would very much like to remedy, given what few sands remain in the top half of the collegiate eligibility hourglass.
“It seems like every year goes faster and faster,” said Trapp, who heads into the weekend averaging 7.9 points and leading the Owls in 3-point makes (45) and attempts (120). “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs (as a team). We’ve managed to fight through all of those.”
At times, the path inside “The Burrow” featured more twists than a bag of pretzels — Trapp turned up on campus four years ago as a rotational wing player, became the starting point guard within the first few months of his freshman season, and is finishing his FAU tenure as a wing again.
A marketing major, Trapp was a member of the Commissioner’s List as a freshman and a C-USA All-Academic team selection in 2013-’14. The campus side of the equation has settled into a steady groove: The senior tops the Owls in 3-point accuracy (.375) and is 21 treys away (167) from passing Jeff Cowans for third on FAU’s all-time list (187). The community side isn’t too shabby, either; Trapp is an advocate for special-needs and underprivileged youth in the area and a frequent visitor to local elementary and high schools.
“Just hanging out with them, playing ball with them, playing football with them, really just helping to make their day,” Trapp said. “That’s really what I kind of want to do. I guess you could say it’s one of my goals in life, is to help others. No matter what I choose to do with my career, (whether) it’s in basketball or not, I just really want to go out and make a difference in someone else’s life.”
To that end, Trapp recently suggested the Owls hook up with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, in which children battling pediatric brain tumors and childhood cancers are paired with local college and high school teams.
“Individually, I’ve gone to a bunch of elementary schools and read to the kids many times,” Trapp said. “Stuff like that here and there.”
He credits the nobler goals, the charitable goals, to his folks. Father Richard was a two-sport standout at the University of Florida, an All-SEC receiver and shortstop. The elder Trapp was drafted in 1968 by the American Football League’s Buffalo Bills (third round) and by the New York Yankees (third round) and elected to go the football route first, eventually graduating from law school and a forging a career as an attorney.
But to hear Jackson tell it, his mom, Sharyn, might’ve been the toughest bird in the nest, having raised four boys — athletic boys, high-energy boys — now aged 27 through 20. Say a small prayer for the table lamps and the coffee tables.
“They always beat me up now and again,” said Jackson, the second-youngest of the four, “whenever I deserved it. We did a lot of stuff. (You know) how older brothers always are. A lot of good times.”
Like the man said, they go faster and faster with each passing year.
“(I feel) a lot better than I have felt the last couple years,” Trapp said. “Can’t complain. There are always going to be little bumps and bruises at this point in the year.”
And Panthers. And karma. And ankles.
“I know, right?” Trapp chuckled. “Knock on wood.”