One of the most discussed moments of the 2010 NCAA tournament was not even a basketball play. During the Duke/West Virginia Final Four game, Mountaineers senior winger Da’Sean Butler slashed to the hoop on a drive but banged knees with Duke monster center Brian Zoubek. Butler dropped to the floor immediately, writhing and screaming in pain; doctor’s later determined he tore his ACL and sprained his MCL. The significant moment came when coach Bob Huggins consoled Butler in a loving father/son way that emotionally touched most viewers. In a halftime interview on CBS during the championship game, Butler explained what was said during that moment:
Butler shared some of the most touching words I’ve heard come from a collegiate basketball player (transcription below in case you can’t watch). Think about what kind of character and heart Butler has to apologize to his coach during a painful and agonizing moment. I’m struck by Butler’s selfless and inspiring attitude. In an age of one-and-dones, Da’Sean Butler serves as a perfect example of players doing things the right way. Butler stayed in school all four years and emerged as a true leader both on and off the floor. He hit game-winning shots in two of three games in the Big East tournament and helped West Virginia knock off Kentucky in the Elite Eight with a strong three-point shooting night. With the type of team-first attitude and high character Butler displayed, I’m confident his knee injury won’t keep him down.
Here’s some of what Butler said in case you couldn’t watch the video:
“Coach demanded my attention, he talked to me, and I was apologizing to him ‘Coach, I’m sorry I couldn’t get you your first national championship.’ I was really genuine about it and I apologized because I wasn’t playing that well and I wanted to let him know I really wanted to get him his first championship. All he said was ‘Don’t worry about it’ and ‘I love you’ and ‘You’re a special kid’ and ‘Don’t let this stop you from doing what you’re doing.’ He continued to say those things to me and it calmed me down … I’ll remember that moment the rest of my life.”