Vaught’s note: Going back through my tapes and notes from after the West Virginia game, I came across a conversation with Mark Krebs that I had not had time to share and I thought even now all of you would still enjoy what this amazing young man had to say and his perspective on various things.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Mark Krebs knows all his teammates would have appreciated winning a national championship. However, he doubts if winning a title could have meant more to any player than it would him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think everyone would have appreciated it , but I do want to think I would have appreciated it the most,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Krebs, a former walk-on who was put on scholarship for his senior season. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But it would almost have been too good to be true for me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not going to play in the NBA. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even have a scholarship. Everyone would have appreciated it, but for me and my family it would have been surreal. It would have been something to forever hold us together.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because KrebsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ mother, Terri, is seriously ill. SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s now confined to a wheelchair, but did make it to Rupp Arena for Senior Day.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It meant the world to me to have her there. The whole day was great,Ã¢â‚¬Â Krebs said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Being a part of this team that has not overachieved, but has brought back respectability to UK basketball has been great. We were going through rough patches and not winning as much as Kentucky normally does, and to be on this team has been awesome.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“To look back on it and everything we have accomplished has been awesome. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t describe it. It is pretty cool and then to make a shot in the NCAA Tournament. Just play in the NCAA was one thing, but to make a shot … Everybody was talking about it. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think it was that big a deal, but it was and my mom loved it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Krebs says the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success was a blessing for her.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been really good for keeping her mind off things and being able to cheer for something. That is the same for me. I feel kind of guilty. It has been like an escape,Ã¢â‚¬Â he admitted. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some people say they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe how I deal with everything and basketball, but basketball is the one place I can go where everything is exciting. It has been awesome. This whole year and how we have played has been good for her and her treatments, but it has also helped me more than I can ever explain.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Krebs knows many of his current teammates will be in the NBA next year. But what about him?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hopefully somewhere around here. I am trying to get a job and go into the business world. I am not sure where I will be but I will be around watching the Cats,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Obviously, he got to watch a lot this year, too. He got to see first-hand how talented freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins adjusted to college life and blended with teammates.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been unbelievable watching them grow up. The first time they came in we were not one unit and to grow together like we have and their maturity and experience on and off the court has been unbelievable. Watching them do it and us grow as a team has been special,Ã¢â‚¬Â Krebs said.
He says potential NBA careers did not impact how any of his teammates played or acted this year. He says they all have treated him well, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is the best part. There were some games and you may not recognize that a player is that good and if you are watching us play for the first time you may not know which one is John Wall because we are playing so unselfishly,Ã¢â‚¬Â Krebs said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What is so amazing is how they were not for themselves. DeMarcus had games where he was happy to pass out. Same with Eric (Bledsoe). He was off some games because John had lanes to drive and was playing well. We played well together and everyone on team knew their role and function on the team no matter how good they were because they all understood that the team came first and I will never forget that.Ã¢â‚¬Â