Kevin Ware QUOTES
On the injury: "Its kind of insane because we played Duke in the Bahamas and the exact same play happened with the exact same player, it was just on the opposite side of the court. When I went to contest his shot, it was like I always do. I kind of joked a bit that I should have blocked his shot because I jumped so high. I guess I just landed wrong and I didn't know where I was landing. Stuff like this just doesn't happen for no reason. There's a reason behind everything. I assume that I will find out what the reason is. But it's just a process I am ready for."
On his teammates reaction: "I want to thank Luke. He jumped right on the scene, the captain he is. He said a prayer for me. What was going through my mind was that I was either going to cry and my team is going to be devastated and we are probably not going to win this game or I am just going to try and say something to get us through this. They beat Duke by 22 points, so I guess my words go through to them. . . . Luke is a great guy. From the time he has been here he's been a leader and I can say I have a deep kind of love for Luke. He's not going to tell you anything wrong. When he jumped on the scene and how he did – I was really more expecting Peyton – but seeing Luke there really touched my heart. He said a prayer and it go me through. I saw coach and kept repeating over and over that I will be fine, we just have to win this game. I just kept saying it over and over."
On other teammates: "It was like Russ saw a ghost. Chane is probably one of the toughest guy but he's crying his eyes out. Montrezl is crying. Everybody was in real shock. Just looking around seeing that was devastating. But that pulled it through and most important thing is we are going to Atlanta now."
On the support: "All the support I am getting. You guys, all the fans I have been touched by everyone. A lot of people are looking at me as a role model now. People are really taking note as how I handled the situation. Noting out of the ordinary for me. Getting all of this attention is not me but I sure do appreciate it."
On when he left the arena: "It didn't come to me that we were going to Atlanta until the next morning because of all the medication I was on. I really didn't even remember coach coming to the hospital that night honestly. Just me waking up and seeing that trophy next to me made me feel like, alright we are another step closer to where we need to be."
On going back to Atlanta, his home: "Everybody I was close with in high school has been reaching out and make sure I am fine. They want to come visit like I don't have a basketball tournament. Most of those guys I have told I will still be busy like I am playing. I am going to try and get as much time I can with them. I appreciate all the support I am getting. But we still have a job to get done."
On the conversation he had with his mother: "As soon as I knew what surgery room I was going to be in and before they knocked me out I asked one of the nurses if I could use their phone and they gave me one and I called my mom and I just heard it in her voice. She was just down and out of it. I felt like as we kept talking, I kept telling her I was good. She got more calm with it and everything started to be a lot cooler. She was waiting to hear from me after the surgery. I kind of felt like as she kept hearing my voice and knew that I was OK that she was going to be OK."
WARE'S MOTHER – LISA JUNIOR
"I am just worried about him getting his rest and not overdoing it. The worst part is over. He will let me know when he is tired."
"I'm mom. He was so confident they were going to come to Georgia for the Final Four. He said you guys have been to Lexington, you have been to New York prior, you have been to a lot of games. Relax, go top work for a while and we will be there shortly. This wasn't a game we had planned on going too. We were at a friends house watching the game and I missed it, but saw the replay and lost my mind and 30-45 minutes later he was on the phone telling me to calm down. I was thankful that something in the atmosphere – God – had asked him to get in touch with me and tell me that he was OK because I needed him at that time.
U of L COACH RICK PITINO
On Ware and the reaction: "I think there's a reason for it. You're on stage playing Duke to go to a Final Four. If he was injured, stuck his thumb off as he was carted off the floor, we've seen that before. I think when you see all the pouring out of emotion from his teammates, the severity of the injury, and then him just totally forgetting about the injury while six inches of his bone is out of his skin and saying, 'Listen man, I'll be fine, just win, just win.' And he's a man of very few words, so I think it was an incredible display of emotion from his teammates as well as himself with a great deal at stake. And I'm proud of the team to get through that and get on to Atlanta where Kevin is from. So it's quite exciting to be part of this whole event."
On dealing with the Ware situation: "It was a very difficult experience because at first I went to help him up and I actually didn't know what I was looking at for about five seconds. Then he saw my eyes and he looked and said, 'Oh my God.' And from that point, the only words he uttered were 'just win, I'll be fine.' So for a young person to react that way. . .Three of four years ago we said we have to come up with a new brand, it's going to be 'Louisville First,' the only thing we carry about is the university, not the names. And here, four years later, if anybody could epitomize what that brand is all about it's Kevin Ware, and the other players. So I couldn't be prouder of a group of guys the way they stirred their emotions for Kevin, and couldn't be any prouder of an athlete to be so selfless. It was a terrible sight; I've never seen anything like that in my 100 years of coaching."
On the emotions heading to Atlanta: "I think we're all fine now. Once I saw the doctors and they told me he's going to be fine, we're over the hump. So right now just having Kevin around and joking with the guys we all feel at ease, we can all exhale a little bit. He's gonna have a long road back. So many nice people have reached out to him. The coolest thing for me to hear was Michelle Obama and say, 'You're the coolest guy I know in Louisville.' The President's pretty cool, but Michelle Obama's the real thing."
U OF L ATHLETIC DIRECTOR TOM JURICH
"To me it's an international story. Kevin's a very easy young man to gravitate to. He's such a humble person and he's a kid that is really selfless. He puts everybody else first and that was evident in probably the most crucial moment in his entire life. I thought it was just remarkable how he lifted this team. I couldn't imagine anybody. . . . I know I couldn't have. And you want to talk about leadership, Coach Pitino, that was leadership at its finest to be able to pull everybody together in those short few minutes and regroup that team against an incredible opponent and to play the way they did. To say, did I think he'd have six million hits on ESPN no, I certainly didn't think that. But I didn't think he'd break his leg last week either."