MU to Sweet 16 makes for an emotional Buzz
- The Marquette
Golden Eagles are headed back to the Sweet 16 after a hard fought 62-53 victory over Murray State
. I could write about Darius Johnson Odom
's 17 points, or Jae Crowder'
s double-double, or Junior Cadougan
's stellar performance, or Todd Mayo
's defense. I could also write about the team coming out of a time out down 5, and going on a 16-2 run. But you can read that anywhere.
What really hit home with me, was the post game press conference. It wasn't something you normally see, if ever. It really was a display of who Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams
really is and what he is all about. An emotionally spent Williams, with no voice, broke down after a response by freshman Todd Mayo, and let it all out from there. Instead of giving you my opinion, I will just lay the transcript out there so you can judge for yourself.....
When asked about the Murray State "Home Game", Mayo responded....
"We knew it was going to be a road game. We pray all the time for God to stand over us. He definitely did today. And we just try to stay together and just tried to come out with the win."
A few questions later, Buzz was asked about his reaction to that response....
"Its got to be about more than winning and losing. When you see kids grow and mature, especially when all of the perspective of who they are is not really who they are. All they know is what you teach them.
That's why I got into this business, and that is why I am still in this business. I think that's special.
Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love, and a lot of these kids have never been loved. And when you've never been loved, and you're 20 years old and somebody tries to love you for the first time, you don't know how to handle it. And when you start talking about God for the first time and when you think about what these kids have been through in the previous 20 years, they're not sure there is a God.
So when you talk start talking about love and you start talking about God and you're with kids every single day and you do it for 150 days, and they get up here and speak, which is a lot harder than you think, to people they don't know and they use the same words that you use, it means you're helping their life. That's what it means, and that's the real deal."
Question: Buzz, you talk about love, after the game you kept the media waiting as you went into the stands and hugged your family.....
"I'm not worried about the TV, not worried about the crowd, not worried about the pageantry or the ambiance, of what the tournament is all about. I'm humbled by it all. Extremely grateful for my wife and the sacrifices she makes and for our children, growing up as sons and daughters of coaches is very volatile and extremely emotional.
A country kid that just hung in there. Hang in there, hang in there, throw a good pitch, throw a good pitch. The butcher, the baker the candlestick maker, show up and go to work and do it every day no matter what's surrounding you. That's really hard man.
You've got to be a lion chaser to be married to me. She's tougher than all of them kids we play with. It's really humbling, really humbling."
Later Buzz was asked about Todd Mayo guarding an All-American, and Buzz responded, referring to an answer Darius Johnson Odom gave earlier, where DJ said, "The nation found out about Junior Cadougan tonight, he's one of the best there is."
"And what about DJ's answer about Junior, after all you guys say we need a point guard? You think those kids don't pay attention to what you people say? You think those kids don't want to fight? That a senior, who is a pro, is talking about a junior who everybody jumped off the boat on when we left New York? Everybody jumped off the boat when Todd couldn't make a shot.
Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. That's an every day deal. That's a loyalty deal. When everything's stacked against you, that's when your character is revealed, on the biggest stage. A kid that all he was when he showed up was OJ Mayo's little brother. Wow, what a story. What a story.
Just hang in there every day. That's really hard to do. Its the hardest thing in life to do."
Buzz' emotions rubbed off, as there were several people in the media room with teary eyes. As I got up to leave, a top MU official looked at me and said, "I was crying, that was incredible, he is a very special human being."