On Monday, I wrote about what I would tell North Carolina and Gonzaga in advance of their NCAA men’s basketball championship game.
On Tuesday, I wrote about what I would tell Gonzaga after falling to UNC in that game.
But now that I think about it, who cares what I would tell Gonzaga. It is easy for me to say how they should respond, but I don’t know what they are going through. You know who does?
Just one year ago, UNC felt the exact same way as Gonzaga does this week. Stunned. Dejected. Crushed. The Tar Heels lost in the championship game on a last second shot by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins. Head coach Roy Williams called it one of the worst nights of his life. Forward Theo Pinson said he never wanted to feel like that again.
So what did Pinson do to make sure he didn’t feel that way again? Did he hide from the loss? Nope.
He made it his cell phone background.
Since last the loss to Villanova, Pinson’s cell phone background has featured a picture of him sitting in the locker room with a towel over his drooped head.
“You could try to act like you don’t remember last year, but you’ll be lying to yourself. … It definitely gives you extra drive of ‘We gotta finish it,’ ” Pinson told The New York Post.
I know I look at my screen saver every day since the tournament started, and it shows me the moment I felt after that game. I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. I don’t want that feeling ever again.”
Pinson didn’t run from the crushing pain he felt last year. He didn’t blame his coaches or the referees for his team coming up short.
He chose to use it as motivation.
So, if I had to guess what advice UNC would give to Gonzaga, I would suspect that they would tell the Bulldogs to find meaning in this obstacle.