With 6:33 remaining in the first half of UofL’s 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final, we were all changed forever. A gruesome injury suffered by Cards sophomore guard Kevin Ware sent his teammates diving to the floor and tears flowing all over Lucas Oil Stadium. As UofL gets set for a return trip to the Final Four this weekend, I am going to take you inside the locker room after that game. It was a time for celebration, but also a time to reflect on a moment that these kids will never be able to forget.
Kent Taylor: You were the guy who was there with him holding his hand. What was that like?
Luke Hancock: Very tough situation. It was almost like you wanted to help him and there was nothing you could do. It was just a tough situation.
Taylor: How do you refocus and play basketball right away after that?
Hancock: I don’t think it was really right away. I think everybody was still thinking about that and had it on their mind. I remember telling people on the bench that I just couldn’t get focused for awhile. You can’t lose that game after the guy who is injured like that is the one telling us to win the game. We had to win that one for him.
Taylor: He said that when he was lying on the court?
Hancock: “Win the game, win the game.” That’s all he said.
Hancock: He’s a very strong guy. Obviously, if something like that happens to someone, they’re in a lot of pain, and he was looking at me and talking to me. He saw people around him and told them to win the game. That’s all he wanted.
Taylor: How hard was it for you to get back into the game?
Chane Behanan: It wasn’t hard at all. We just continued to play and we knew we had to do it for him.
Taylor: Emotionally, have you ever experienced anything comparable to that?
Behanan: No, I haven’t. I don’t remember the last time I cried.
Taylor: How important was it for you to have him be a part of the post game celebration, carrying his No. 5 jersey around?
Behanan: It was very important, just for the simple fact that he would do anything to have been out there with us. I was just really speechless and just had to ask the question why did it have to happen to him at this point in time?
Taylor: Did you get physically sick?
Behanan: Yes, I dropped to the ground. I can’t see nothing like that. That’s what brought tears to my eyes. I really can’t believe that’s my brother sitting on the sideline with his bone popped out (of) his leg. Like literally out, I saw white literally out. It’s crazy.
Montrezl Harrell: I saw it firsthand, right there in front of me and all I did was cry. I had to walk down to the other end, because I was about to break down. That’s all I did was cry. It was just moving for me to see something like that happen to a person like that. Kevin Ware is a great guy, but while he was on the ground, in pain, he told us that we had to win this game, so I felt like it was something that we had to do.
Taylor: What did you say when you gathered the players together for a prayer before play resumed?
Peyton Siva: I just wanted to say a quick prayer for Kevin. That’s why I huddled the guys up and just asked God to just be with him and heal him. I know Kevin will be alright and at halftime Coach P just told us to get him back home. He’s from Atlanta and that’s what we did. He’ll be in Atlanta, right there on the bench cheering with us.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune