March 28, 2010
Some may consider John Calipari an infraction-drawing opportunist. John Wall has about 11 million reasons not to care about losing an NCAA tournament game. And DeMarcus Cousins is a bit of a headcase. Yet those things are what made their post-game press conference Saturday night after Kentucky's regional final loss to West Virginia so refreshing and compelling.
Wall, who could theoretically leave Lexington tomorrow, looked devastated. Cousins, who snaps at coaches and often makes it seem as if he cares about little other than himself, looked like he felt he had let the team down. And Calipari was gracious and introspective in defeat. All of Kentucky's panel (which also included Patrick Patterson) were the definition of class, even after a great disappointment.
And this is part of the reason I love college basketball. Say what you will about the one-and-done guys and how they don't care and how they treat college as a momentary stepping stone en route to NBA riches. I won't disagree with the latter, but look at Wall, Cousins and Patrick Patterson at this press conference and tell me they don't care. Big-time college athletics, for all its faults, is still played by people who want to win. There are plenty of professional athletes who do too, but just as many who are more interested in cashing that paycheck.