Repping West Coast basketball.
The lowest point for my UCLA Bruins may have been 2013 when they came from behind and won on a buzzer beater in some Pac-12 conference game. In an otherwise forgettable season, Shabazz Muhammad glared at his teammates as he headed towards the locker room.
Why? Because he didn’t get the last shot. Muhammad, who didn’t give a shit about the team, only cared about his NBA prospects. Never one to play defense, Muhammad spent five years mostly warming NBA benches and then bounced around overseas.
Fast forward to Philadelphia tonight. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels are on a roll and may very well beat my Bruins, but that’s okay, because I get so much joy watching them compete.
They always make the extra pass and never quit. Credit Cronin. The worse things go, the more they lean on each other. And in their pressers, they continually talk about their bonds with Cronin and one another. They are the complete antithesis to the 2013 Bruins.
Yesterday, a college analyst picked the Heels to cover (UCLA is a 2.5 point favorite) and win because they’re playing with so much confidence and they’re a better rebounding team. He cited some other analytics, but he hasn’t watched the Bruins as much as me. You can’t quantify their unity and resolve to keep it going as long as possible.
Win or lose, I will relish the smiles, the affection, the team’s spirit. All of the intangibles.