Just before the NCAA championship game against Kentucky, Drew Hansen said at a press conference that he hoped Utah would win because people only remember winners, not losers. It's too bad the hectic Final Four schedule didn't permit Drew a chance to wander over to the Alamo and be reminded that those who go down while doing their very best, against long odds, with their heads held high, are often remembered longer, and thought of more fondly, than those who defeat them.
Serious basketball fans will not soon forget the 1998 Runnin' Utes. The first triple double in the Final Four since Magic Johnson's. The first team in the history of the tournament to start two academic All-Americans. The team which wasn't predicted to take its own division in its own conference that rolled over two No. 1 seeds - the defending national champion and the team that had been ranked No. 1 most of the regular season. The comical coach who got deadly serious when false accusations arose - and had such unqualified confidence in the integrity of his mission-bound freshman that he said he would resign if the player had uttered an unforgivable racial slur.It was a tough loss, to be sure. But long after people have forgotten yet another Kentucky championship, they will remember those well-spoken scholar-athletes from Utah, their affable coach and their inspiring run through the NCAA tournament, right into the national title game.
Gregory K. Orme
Salt Lake City