Is my mind is tougher than your mind
That’s the question I always asked myself when I stepped on to the court for a game. Have you pushed yourself harder or tougher than I pushed myself in the off-season? Did you put in that extra 200 jump shots or run that extra Sprint because my teammates and I did and we knew that we had that extra work in the bank and could draw on that experience when we really needed it.
I remember we were playing Kentucky in the Elite 8 down in Austin, the entire stadium seemed to be wearing Kentucky blue and cheering against us. We battled them for forty minutes and it came down to one shot and one inch. Patrick Sparks hit a three pointer at the buzzer that sent the game to overtime, I still think that he was on the line but that doesn’t matter at this point. But because he was so close to the line it took the officials an eternity to make a decision and we were sitting in the huddle somewhat dejected because he made that shot.
After about 2 minutes of sitting there we starting to talk about the work we had put in during the pre-season and all the adversity we had faced with members of the media (The media had called us soft and that we lacked enough senior leadership to actually win this game). We knew that we had all that extra work in the bank and we could play all day against them if they wanted too. We came out for the overtimes with an excitement about the situation we were in and knew that we were going to win this game. We were able to hold off the Wildcats that night to complete one of the greatest weekends in NCAA tournament history; defeating Duke and Kentucky in the same weekend to advance to the Final Four.
Coach Izzo always told us that you can push yourself a lot farther than you think. When you think your body is done and you are physically drained; your mind can take you to that next level. So take time to strengthen your mind and don’t be afraid to push yourself to places you have never been before.
Here is the shot Patrick Sparks hit……We Still Won!!!