As many of you already know, Indiana’s Christian Watford won the ESPY for Best Play last night. His game-winning trey at the buzzer gave the Hoosiers an upset win, knocking off the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats and moving to 12-1 on the season. The shot will go down as one of the greatest moments in Indiana basketball history, which is definitely saying a lot.
Tom Crean was beaming when his swingman’s name was announced by Aaron Rodgers and Zooey Deschanel. On the other hand, John Calipari couldn’t hide his discontent for the fan’s vote. To Coach Cal’s credit, he did glance over at Crean and give him a little “tip of the cap” after the winning play was announced. Calipari and his Wildcats did get their revenge on the Hoosiers in the Sweet 16 and went on to win the national title, so I’m not quite sure Watford’s ESPY win is keeping him up at night. This is not a rivalry I expect to dull down any time soon. Each of these coaches have been hot on the recruiting trail garnering some of the top young talent in the country. In fact, Tom Crean hopped on a red-eye flight after the conclusion of the awards ceremony to tend to some recruiting obligations.
The night belonged to Watford. The humble award winner thanked God, his coach, and his teammates, among others in his short acceptance speech. He later hopped in the photo booth backstage and started cheesin’ with his new best bud, Green Bay Packers’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. It was a great opportunity and experience for Watford, who is among a group of players that came to Indiana at perhaps the lowest point in the program’s history. He has persevered and held his head high through the team’s struggles. Last year was a remarkable breakthrough season for the Hoosiers and for Watford himself, but next years should prove to be even more substantial. C.Wat finds himself on many NBA draft boards entering the season, and the Hoosiers find themselves atop many of the preseason rankings.
It’s an exciting time in Btown and Hoosier Nation has never been stronger. They flexed their muscles last night and all week long, as they stuffed the ballots in support of their beloved Hoosiers. Despite feeble efforts from the BoilerHaters and others, Hoosier Nation prevailed. Right before he walked off the stage, Watford addressed them: “I’m thankful to the Hoosier Nation and everybody who voted for me.”