Sometimes when you focus on the billion-dollar TV contract and the Vegas line, you lose sight of the essence of the NCAA tournament.
Sure, the kids don’t get paid. Yes, others (including their schools, coaches and the networks) are making truckloads of cash off their labor.
But, bottom line, it’s still a priceless gift to be a player in March Madness. And one of those 22-year-old kids can remind you of how special it all is.
Saint Louis forward Brian Conklin was asked what it was like to participate in his first NCAA tournament.
“I thought the police escort was kinda cool,” he said. “It's funny, you need a police escort for two blocks?”
He went on to say that, in most regards, the games aren’t much different than the road trips to UTEP or Xavier or UMass. Practice, eat dinner, watch film, get some sleep, get up, have breakfast, play a game, go home.
“A lot of it is the same, it really is,” Conklin said. Then, he hesitated and smiled. “Besides the police escort, nothing's changed,” he said.
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter @rustymillerap