NEW ORLEANS — Former Mercer County athlete Kasey McRay says the Final Four experience “is amazing and just incredible” for him.
McRay, a sophomore, is a manager for the Louisville basketball team under coach Rick Pitino.
Kentucky. “Growing up always being a college basketball fan and then getting to experience this is just great. It’s crazy really.”
It’s somewhat ironice that his first Final Four experience also involved Kentucky.
“I grew up a Kentucky fan, but that is over and done. I have been around these guys, so I love this team and this university. Kentucky is in the past with me. It’s all red now, even with the family. I have converted all the family,” he said. “This is fun. Regardless of the outcome, this is a game to remember for ages. It will be something I will tell my grandkids about.
“It’s not just another game for me, but if I was playing it would be different. It’s a big game for me. Lot of trash talking with my friends. This is the ultimate trash talking game. If we win, they will be hearing from me and if we lose, I will hear from them.”
McRay has heard and learned plenty from Pitino the last two years, which is what he wanted when he took the job since he hopes to eventually be a college coach.
“His knowledge of the game is something I admire greatly. His passion for the game is something that I wish I had. I am just learning everything. Every day it is something new. I¿got this job to learn from him and hopefully better my career when I¿become a coach,” McRay said.
“I will do this two more years and then hopefully after this I can get a graduate assistant job somewhere, and this should help. I¿would like to work in the SEC¿(Southeastern Conference) since I¿grew up more southern. I love the Big East, but I am the SEC at heart.”
McRay got to break down film for Pitino this year, something he didn’t get to do his first season.
“We had another kid that did it last year. This year there has been a lot of breaking down film, learning plays, learning personnel. In high school you might spend an hour in film a week. Here you might spend an hour a day,” McRay said. “You are in trouble if you mess up, and I have been there a few times. When you mess up, you will get in trouble and that’s part of the job and part of working for him. You know you do want not to mess up and if you do, you hear about it. But that’s how you learn and I am learning a ton.”