With the NCAA canceling March Madness, college basketball teams are left with only "March Sadness." Athletes at the University of North Texas are among those who felt the impact of the coronavirus on the sports world.
"When we boarded the bus to go to Frisco, our whole mindset was win three games in three days and get that tournament conference championship to get the automatic bid to March Madness," senior guard DJ Draper said.
While Draper and his teammates had beaten most of the teams standing in their way this season, they knew the coronavirus was unlike any other opponent they had faced.
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"We were like, 'OK we'll probably have limited audience at our tournament, but there's no way this whole thing gets canceled.' And I think that's when Rudy Gobert got the virus and the NBA suspended their season and things like that happened, so we knew shortly after that the dominoes would fall," he said.
Those dominoes took with them nearly every conference tournament in the nation.
"So we were like, 'OK, that's a bummer, but we will get the automatic bid and we'll get to play in March Madness," Draper said.
Sadly the Mean Green were wrong and the only shots left to take are in an empty arena back on campus. Draper did so while he thought about what could have been.
"There's a part of everyone that probably feels like something has been taken away from them that they can't control. The emotions, it's tough to control your emotions, you know it's tough to control your emotions so you're upset, you're sad that you don't get to see it play out, but in the back of everyone's mind you understand that safety is first and you got to take the appropriate precautions," Draper said.
Which leads to maybe the only positive in such a negative turn of events.
"Positivity-wise? I mean just maybe cleanliness honestly," said Draper while smiling. "I mean people are washing their hands like crazy. Hopefully that carries on throughout the upcoming years."