Virginia coach Tony Bennett had hoped to be right here this weekend with a No. 1 seed getting ready to play his group’s first Closing 4 in 34 years.
As an alternative, he discovered himself making an attempt to reconcile a terrific four-plus months – ok to convey him right here to gather the trophy as The Related Press males’s school basketball coach of the 12 months – with the actual fact the Cavaliers fell to UMBC to develop into the primary No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Event historical past.
Coping with the load of that historical past, he figures, is a part of teaching a group with no video games left to play.
“They skilled issues plenty of guys do not,” Bennett mentioned in an interview with the AP. “That form of success? Oh my gosh. After which that form of loss? … However once more, their physique of labor deserves to be celebrated.
“After which a lot of what society appears to be like at – it begs the query – is it nearly the way you do in March? Or is it about the entire thing? It is a truthful debate (on) what issues. However I instructed them: I would not commerce this group for something. Even the experiences, as arduous as they’re, that is a part of the method.”
Bennett had largely saved a low profile within the roughly two weeks since being praised by many for his class and composure following the season-ending loss. He spoke with the AP forward of receiving the teaching honor for a season through which his Cavaliers set a program report for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Convention and reached No. 1 within the AP High 25 for the primary time because the Ralph Sampson period.
And but, the 48-year-old coach is aware of the main target will stay on a loss certain to dwell on in March Insanity lore.
Whereas Bennett is reviewing what changes to make, it is clear he will not waver from his basis. That features the “5 pillars” philosophy (humility, thankfulness, ardour, unity and servanthood) that constructed the Cavaliers right into a contender and the big-picture perspective he leans on to maneuver ahead.
“Everyone knows, you reside lengthy sufficient, there will likely be worse issues that occur to all of us, and there will likely be higher issues than championships,” Bennett mentioned. “And that is, I feel, the best fact they’ll know. As a instructor and as a coach, I consider these issues and I share these issues with them.”
In Bennett’s ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-Three) went from being picked to complete sixth within the ACC to successful the regular-season race by 4 video games – the primary to win the ACC by that broad a margin since 2000. It then gained the ACC Event to finish a 20-1 run in opposition to league opponents and earned the No. 1 total NCAA seed.
But it ended with a 74-54 loss to UMBC with out injured ACC sixth man of the 12 months De’Andre Hunter.
Bennett mentioned he has instructed his gamers they’ve “an unbelievable captive viewers” ready to see how they deal with it.
“I mentioned the way you reply to it will matter to your mother and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your mates,” Bennett mentioned. “In the event that they see that you just’re not pretend about it, that yeah, after all you are going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, however that you just’re OK. You may dwell with it.
“I mentioned: you do not know the facility that that is going to have of their life and in your life.”
Bennett mentioned he appreciated different coaches providing help, which included Syracuse Corridor of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: “If I might rent a coach on this nation and I might get Tony Bennett, there can be no one in second place.”
Predictably, the UMBC loss hovered over Thursday’s AP trophy presentation. And with the roughly Three-foot trophy sitting on the desk subsequent to him, Bennett – who earned 50 of 65 votes from AP High 25 writers with ballots submitted earlier than the beginning of the NCAA Event – answered every thing in the identical matter-of-fact style.
“The solar did come up the following day,” Bennett mentioned at one level.
And he is ready to stumble just a few extra occasions on the way in which to reaching his targets.
“You higher have one thing past the opinion of man or simply how you are feeling, as a result of these items is fleeting,” Bennett instructed the AP.
“In order that’s the place clearly my religion is every thing to me. You hear individuals speak about their religion within the lord and the connection with the those that they care about, their household and their trusted pals. These issues stand the take a look at of time. And that is what you must draw from. And you then transfer on.”