UK 67, Kansas 59: Kentucky now has the title that the players expected to win all season
Kentucky head coach John Calipari celebrates with his team after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against Kansas Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans. Kentucky won 67-59. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip / April 3, 2012)
Davis insisted after the game he would not make a decision about his future until sitting down with Calipari and his parents later this month. But he’s gone to the NBA where he will be the No. 1 pick after a season where he led UK in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and steals. He did it all, and never cared about anything but winning.
“It doesn’t matter if I don’t score. If we win, that’s all that counts,” Davis said.
“We tried to take it to 'em. We tried to force help. The second half, shots he blocked, majority went out of bounds, which is okay,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He is an unbelievable factor on both ends, but certainly defensively he's got timing, his first jump is unbelievable, and he's a very smart defender, as well.”
He’s also a great teammate and that was a major reason this team was so unselfish and cared so much about each other. Kidd-Gilchrist was the same way. So was Miller. Actually, they were all that way.
That’s why they were giddy on the podium receiving the national championship trophy, but a lot happier when they got to go up into the stands to see family members. Jones didn’t want to let go off the trophy he came back to Kentucky to win, but he gladly gave it up to go hug his mother, aunt and grandmother. “I couldn’t wait to get up there to see them,” he said. “They mean everything to me.”
Kidd-Gilchrist’s mother, Cynthia Richardson, was on the court after the game taking pictures and smiling as she watched her son on the national championship podium.
“This is what we came to Kentucky for. We really believed this could happen, and it did. I am so proud of him,” she said.
Calipari didn’t show a lot of emotion, but he didn’t hide his feelings for this team that had been ranked No. 1 most of the season yet had heard time after time that a team built on one-and-done players that depended on freshmen couldn’t win a title. Maybe that had been true, but the Wildcats busted that myth for good with his win.
“Listen, this team deserves all the accolades that they've been getting. And what I wanted them to show today is that we were not just a talented team, we were a defensive team, and we were a team that shared the ball,” Calipari said. “I wanted everybody to see it because it became, ‘They're more talented than everybody.’
“We were the best team this season. We were the best team. The most efficient team. We shared the ball. I've wanted that. I told them I wanted this to be one for the ages. Go out there and show everyone what kind of team you are, even though we were young. It doesn't matter how young you are, it's how you play together.”
And this season no one played together better than Kentucky.