This week has been really exciting, but as Kentucky’s next game gets closer, I’m reminded more and more how short our time with this team is becoming. In that vein, I asked a few players today what they think makes this group so special, something that they’ll tell their kids or grandkids on day about the run. Willie was up first.
“How fun it was being in the locker room with all these dudes or in the hotel room when everybody’s in one room just joking around,” Willie said. “Or playing “Super Smash Bros.” Or playing video games. But everybody’s always together.”
Then Willie said something that made me pretty sad. “Me and Alex were talking last night in our room, I think we had Coach Payne, Mike Gillie (MKG), me Alex, the Twins, and we were all just joking around, and after everybody left, like ‘dude, I’m gonna miss this.’ It’s so fun when everybody’s around each other making jokes about everybody.”
(“Mike Gillie” is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and he’s in town to play the Pacers tonight. Remember when he flew to the Bahamas for like a day?)
Marcus Lee said the thing he loves the most about this team is how they pull each other up when someone’s down.
“This is a team that never lets you fall and I feel like almost everybody’s been through that moment where you just feel like giving up or you don’t want to do it anymore. Even I’ve been through that and I’ve always had at least six players come and pick me up. Even if you’re sick or something. I was sick a couple of weeks ago and I wouldn’t be able to leave my room and they all check on you without anybody asking because they’re worried about you. That’s how this team is. It’s like a big family that’s always makes sure you’re protected in our bubble.”
Marcus said that while the team was close last year, he feels the bond is much stronger this time around. “It’s like an overprotective brother with your little sister. You don’t want to let anything happen to any of us, no matter if it’s on the court or off the court.”
Dominique Hawkins pointed to this team’s motley crew of characters, who always keep things fresh.
“I think one thing that makes this team special is everyone is a different character. Everyone is sort of goofy in their own way and have their own styles,” Dominique said. “For example, Trey, he’s a goofball. He says anything that comes to his mind. And then Karl, he’s kind of like he’s got mixed feelings, he tells us he loves us and stuff like that. He’s the sweetheart of the team.”
Not to get all “weep not for the memories” on you guys, but I’m going to miss this group so much.