Buzz Williams surprised a lot of people during Marquette Madness last season proclaiming that the Sweet 16 wasn’t good enough anymore, as seen in the video above. Without further comment, here’s what Buzz had to say about that earlier this summer at the Marquette BBQ.
“I thought that our returning players were beginning to think that if you went to the NCAA Tournament, you just automatically advanced to the Sweet 16. A lot of that has to do with our recruiting skill in recruiting guys that have that sort of malfunction in their brain. That’s the first thing I learned.
“The second thing is, I think when you have success, there’s an inherent softness to it. When you have success, you’ve worked so hard to get to that point in your life, in your career, that you take a deep breath and you relax. You think since you’ve already done it, I know the path to doing it. So I wake up again and get on the same road and have the same result. I said something out of character for me, and I understood that at the time. I had never said anything to that extent until the coach asked me last night, and I was thinking this morning–I don’t ever know what to say in this forum because it’s unique to me–I should say something about that because there may be someone that was wondering why I said something out of character, because in some ways it’s probably not the right thing to say in regards to representing our institution.
“When I said it, I didn’t even think we were good enough to get to the NCAA Tournament. That’s pessimistic but that’s also reality. I said to charge our guys, that it’s not just going to continue to happen. Not that I thought that we would go 14-4. Not that I thought that we would win the league. I was literally hoping we could play in the NIT at that moment in time. I knew if I said something about that, our kids would pay attention to me because they know that’s not my nature to speak something publicly like that.
“So when I said it in October, I never thought that we would be playing in March in the NCAA Tournament. The one thing that I will say in a positive way about our team was they believed what I said. But they didn’t believe it because I said it, it was the belief they had in one another. You can never quantify that. You cannot quantify how you can be down nine points in the first game against Davidson and win. You can’t quantify how many times our kids saw Rotnei Clark on the commercial of ESPN hitting that shot against Butler. You can’t quantify that.
“So when we win by two against Butler, it’s not the payback that everybody thinks. It’s the belief of what those kids thought when we were down nine with a little over a minute to play and come back and win. It wasn’t that we were playing Davidson, who was really good. It really wasn’t that we were playing the second time against Butler. Our guys don’t even know at that time that Butler’s going to be in our league next year. They don’t live in that world that some of us live in. They don’t understand that Miami won the ACC, that they won the league championship, that has no bearing on their belief.
“And so the thing that I wanted to say that I’m most proud of of our team is that I don’t think that we were very good, but I think the belief that they had in one another was as good as I have ever seen. I think what has happened in our program, and that’s why I wanted these coaches to be mentioned, is our guys have begun to figure out ‘well maybe this is not about me. Maybe this is not about us. And maybe if we really have any sort of sense, maybe we’re just a part of everything else.’ And so I want to give our guys their ring, but the reason I told all of you that in a round about way, is after having been here and building up enough equity to say this, I wanted to say thank you in believing in those kids. That somewhat sets an unspoken foundation in them believing in one another. And so if they had the mic, I know they would echo those same sentiments.
“Instead of just saying some silly story, I wanted to be sincere and tell you thank you. Our kids appreciate it, our staff appreciates it and I personally and professionally appreciate it. “