This has just been so much fun. After we won the MAAC title, I couldn’t wait to see my guys on Selection Sunday. I remember how much fun Selection Sundays were for me, how exciting it was to see your name come up. They were on TV and getting all the love from the campus and the community and their family and friends. All of that stuff matters. I want them to taste this. It’s great motivation for the returning guys.

I wanted them to experience what it’s like when you walk on the tarmac and get on a private plane. That’s a lot of fun for these guys. These guys are used to taking buses and connecting flights. Now, they’re living the life. They land in 80-degree weather and have a host there to greet them. That was something I really wanted these guys to get to do. Watching them experience these moments has been some of the greatest joy I’ve had.

Now that we’re here on a national stage, these guys are getting the credit they deserve for what they’ve accomplished all season. That’s what it’s all about. They’ve sacrificed so much. I’m so glad that they can get a taste of the life that I’ve been fortunate to experience playing at Kentucky and coaching at Louisville and Manhattan. They’re now living it. And now I’ve got 11 or 12 guys who are going to preach what I’ve been preaching about getting to this point. What I’ve basically done is started a book club of guys who have read the book and lived the book. They’re going to be the best people to sell this book. It’s not going to have to be me anymore.

When I was at Louisville, it would get really fun when you got to the Elite Eight or Sweet 16, but for us, that excitement is right now. They’re loving the chocolate chip cookies and the grapes and the Dasani water. We’re not drinking out of the water fountains right now. We’re enjoying every little thing about this. The things sometimes you take for granted, getting here every year at Louisville, we’re soaking it all up. There’s unbelievable gratitude from our players and coaching staff right now.

It’s very hard for me to be going against a man in Coach Pitino who has made me who I am. That takes some fun out of it for me.