I’m sitting in the media workroom several hours before Virginia and Texas Tech tip off for a men’s national championship. I need to be putting notes together to prepare for the game, but the only thing that I can think is, “This is insane! I’m here again!”
I covered the NCAA Final Four for the first time last year in San Antonio. This year has been as well. I remember sitting on a plane flying home last year and wondering “how am I going to get back?” I find myself thinking the same thing again. I want to be one of the old-timers in 30 years talking about how I am at my 32nd Final Four.
Covering the Final Four is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of play. I’d argue it’s more play than work because I genuinely love the experience of working at the Final Four. You spend nearly a week here, but it feels like that it’s over in the blink of an eye.
This year was different, watching Zach Griffith go through a lot of the things I went through last year. Four days later, it still cracks me up when I see his reaction when Bob Ryan walks by. That was me last year.
Another reason this year was different. Aaron Henry. Two years ago, I covered his Ben Davis team that won a Class 4A Indiana state championship. Kyle Guy is from Indiana as well. It was really cool to write a story about two kids from the same basketball conference, the MIC, competing in a Final Four. Plus, I love a good excuse to talk about Mark James, Henry’s high school coach, and his boots.
I’ve hung out with people in the United States Basketball Writers Association several times this week. I did last year, too. I became the first IUPUI student to serve as an intern for the USBWA. It’s always an opportunity to learn more about the game. Things you don’t see on TV or can’t read in a book. It’s an incredible experience and I want to do it again. All of it.
I don’t know where I am going in this career, but I do know where I want to go. Atlanta for the 2020 Final Four. However, for now, I have to get back to work. If I can really call it that.
By Mike Williams | @MikeWritesSport