Final Four trip leaves Culpo inspired

Kansas player Udoka Azubuike shoots around before playing Michigan. Photo by Jac Culpo. 

Over spring break, I got to experience something that I have never gotten to experience before in my life. I got a media pass for the Final Four in San Antonio. I was able to sit in on the team practices, interviews, and much, much more.

Even though it was only a 20-minute walk to the Alamodome I still left two hours early, at around 8:00AM. I wanted to make sure there was no chance I was late. When I arrived, I got my media pass, walked through security and when I walked through the double doors to get into the pressroom, I was in awe.

I’ll be honest, for the early parts of that day, I kind of felt like a fish out of water. Here I was, a freshman in college who has only been covering sports for seven-ish months, surrounded by professionals. Even the other college students (all of whom were from Texas schools), seemed to be way more experienced than me.

I was intimidated, but god was I excited. After a short seminar with some professionals in the industry I was set loose to do what I wanted. Which was to write the best story possible based on the interviews that day.

In the seven hours following, I got do some pretty crazy things. I was in the room when Sister Jean Delores-Schmit was being interviewed and, just so everyone knows, her interview was about ten times more packed than any other interview that day. At one point, I was just a few feet away from Kansas starting point guard Devonte’ Graham after he finished his interview.

Eventually I managed to make my way courtside to watch the Kansas men’s basketball team practice. And in what was probably the highlight of my day, Earnie Johnson said hello to me. It was one of those nonchalant hellos you give when you pass someone on a sidewalk, but it was still insane to experience for me.

I could talk for hours about the stuff I got do while I was there, so I’ll stop at that. Overall, I would say the experience was extremely motivating, and helpful. I may have been intimidated when I entered the building, but I left knowing that I could not only handle it, but that I could do it professionally in the future.

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