Since the NCAA tournament teams receive a 10-minute cooling off period before reporters are allowed into their locker rooms, the way in which coaches address their teams after season-ending losses typically stays private.
Third-seeded Creighton bucked that trend after Sunday's 85-55 loss to sixth-seeded Baylor by releasing video of coach Greg McDermott's emotional address to his teary-eyed players.
The result is a nine-minute clip that serves as a shining example of what college athletics should be about. At the lowest juncture in Creighton's season, with their hopes of a deep March run dashed, McDermott thanks his seniors for their contribution to the program and the community, reminds the team that its season should be remembered as a success and urges the Bluejays not to let one sub-par performance define their memories of the past five months.
"You seniors, in our four years together, we've had very few stinkers," McDermott said. "Every team has had them all season long. Ours just happened to come tonight. Baylor played great. We weren't our best. But somehow, Grant, Jahenns, Ethan, Doug, you've got to look big picture here."
Creighton's debut season in the Big East indeed was highly successful despite the sour aftertaste Sunday's loss will leave. The Bluejays won 27 games, dismantled Villanova twice and won an NCAA tournament game for the third straight season.
He lauds Manigat for his energy. He calls Wragge "as good a teammate as I've ever coached." He jokes that he almost expects the sixth-year senior Gibbs to be on next season's roster somehow. Then he gets to his son, Doug, and pauses 10 seconds while collecting his thoughts.
"What we all got to witness was incredible," McDermott said of the national player of the year favorite. "I don't think any of us understand the magnitude of what you've done. The reason we don't understand it is because how you handled it. We had a front-row seat to one of the best collegiate performances for four years in the history of college basketball, but I'm still prouder of who you are."
Everything Greg McDermott said in that locker room was honest and moving. Thanks to Creighton for giving us outsiders the chance to witness it after the fact.
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