The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.
Issue link: http://louisville.epubxp.com/i/141236
"I'm just amazed at what they were able to accomplish. And we saw some things out of guys that we hadn't seen before. I'm as proud of the way this team did it as much as what it did. And I think that's something everyone with any connection to this university can take away. Hancock delivered the game's iconic moment, making four straight three-pointers in a two-minute stretch late in the first half, with a monstrous Montrezl Harrell dunk off a fast-break lob pass from Siva giving the Cardinals a onepoint lead after trailing by 12. Hancock finished with 22 points, becoming the first bench player ever to win the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player Award. But it was the display of teamwork, trust and tenacity that truly defined this team of unlikely warriors and heroes. Siva, the teenager who fished —Rick Pitino his dad off the streets of Seattle and talked him out of suicide. Smith, who lost his high school coach on the eve of the BIG EAST Tournament, and who rose from unheralded recruit to third-team All-American. Hancock, who played in the Final Four with his seriously ill father at courtside, turning in an MVP performance after battling back from shoulder surgery. Dieng, an inspirational presence inside, a smiling big man from Senegal who barely understood the language or the game when he arrived at UofL three years ago. Behanan, whose family lost its home to fire while he was in high school, and whose rough upbringing in Cincinnati gave way to a move to Bowling Green and, eventually, a new chance at UofL. Ware on the sidelines, his leg in a cast, hobbling up to team huddles on crutches when he could. And Pitino, the only coach in NCAA history to lead two different programs to national championships, and now, a Hall of Famer. The game itself against Michigan was billed as one of the more entertaining title games in recent history. National television ratings were up 18 percent from the previous year, and the entire tournament was the most-watched since 1994. After the season, the national championship trophy sitting on a table in his office stacked high with T-shirts, hats and other national championship memorabilia, Pitino reflected on the team and its larger impact. "The great thing about all this is how proud you can be of all these players as people, what they did to get to that point," he said. "I'm just amazed at what they were able to accomplish. And we saw some things out of guys that we hadn't seen before. I'm as proud of the way this team did it as much as what it did. And, I think that's something everyone with any connection to this university can take away. You not only can be proud of what they did, but the way they did it." Indeed, coach. We couldn't be more proud. It truly is a great time to be a Louisville Cardinal. 26|LOUISVILLE.EDU