March Madness Report From Lexington, Kentucky
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: And I'm Mike Pesca in Lexington, Kentucky where Marquette, Louisville, Butler and Colorado State all advanced. That was the big story for sure, but there was something else that had all the players talking. Other than the memories of a lifetime and the chance to keep living their dreams and all that, there was - as Jamil Wilson pointed out to this Marquette teammate Vander Blue - this amazing room they just walked by in the hallway.
JAMIL WILSON: It was, like, nuts. And me and Vander were, like, yo, we gotta see the locker room.
PESCA: So here were two players that had just combined for 13 points in their game's final minute, 33, and they were peering through a glass door that offers passersby a glimpse into the $3.1 million Kentucky Wildcat locker room -sorry, suite. Funded with private donations, the facility features the actual floor from last year's championship game. It has its own kitchen and granite-tiled bathrooms, complete with tubs inlayed with the UK logo.
It has a separate mini-locker room for assistant coaches. It has all the players in the Lexington regionals mouths agape, some of the coaches, too, like Butler's Brad Stevens.
BRAD STEVENS: I've been in the best NBA arenas in the world, and I've never seen a room like that.
KYLE MARSHALL: I heard it's ridiculous, with 8,000 square feet and two hot tubs and a kitchen and stuff. That's unbelievable. That's like an apartment.
PESCA: Butler forward Kyle Marshall is wrong. There is one hot tub and one cold tub. And as Kentucky's Coach John Calipari explained in a video tour, no detail was sparred.
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JOHN CALIPARI: Players have changed. They don't like showering together. Don't know why. So we have individual showers.
PESCA: With showerheads seven feet high. That is a contrast to Colorado State's home locker room, says Rams guard Wes Eikmeier.
WES EIKMEIER: We've got stains on our carpet. We've got sliding name tags, kinda. And it's not very spacious, but it's helped us get this far.
PESCA: Yes, it helped us, as in made us tough, put a chip on our shoulders. And then Eikmeier hit the lower-to-the-ground group shower, because unlike the Kentucky Wildcats, his team is still working up a sweat these days. Mike Pesca, NPR News, Lexington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.