University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has been through a lot of Senior Nights as a coach.
But this was admitedly one of the toughest, saying goodbye to Dillon Avare and fifth-year graduate seniors Trey Lewis and Damion Lee. The Cardinals honored the trio prior to the game and then again after the 56-53 win over Georgia Tech.
"L1C4 until the day I die," Lee told the crowd of 22,000 at the KFC Yum Center.
Pitino said he was "very emotional" before and after the game, noting that this was "one very special" night for the program.
"Just played with great heart and great effort," Pitino said of his team this season. "It's amazing that they never got bitter, never complained, never said 'the university let us down,' they never did any of that. They always said the right thing.
"We understand and I told them some people do the wrong things and unfortunately we have to pay the penalties for it. But they never hung their heads, they did the right things."
Pitino gave Lee and Lewis rings because they are "championship people," and announced the two seniors had been invited to play in the NABC All-Star game on Final Four weekend. Lee then led the entire arena in a "I've Got Your Back" chant as the team stood at midcourt.
"That was a very special night," Lee said. "I can't even explain it and I'll never forget it."