LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Admit it, you were shocked. The NCAA’s decision to cancel the NCAA Tournament was the right one, but also difficult to process for a city that celebrates the month of March like no other.
Tough for fans, but how about the players? They work for 11 months of the year for this moment. The seniors will never get another shot.
Bellarmine was headed to Indianapolis later this week to compete in the NCAA Division II Midwest Region tournament. It would have been the Knights final postseason as a member of Division II. They will make the move to Division I on June 1.
“We though we were out initially and we get a text and we get in,” Bellarmine senior Alex Cook said. “We watched it in the locker room, get so excited, but just to hear that the season is ending, it’s pretty devastating, but at the same time you understand where they’re coming from because it’s a global pandemic and it’s bigger than basketball at this point.”
Cook will not suit up for the Knights again.
“There’s life after basketball, and that’s what you’re just trying to tell yourself, that you could have played, you couldn’t have played, but I’m just glad I did it with those guys, and the Bellarmine fans,” Cook added.
“Beyond basketball, things in life are going to happen,” sophomore Justin Betz said. “We may not like that, we might not be able to control the outcome, but we can control how we react to it.”
“At the end of the day it’s just about being able to be with your family and your friends and always telling them that you love them or how much you appreciate them and just continue to try to stay healthy and just take things day by day,” junior Pedro Bradshaw said.
Freshman Alec Pfriem will not get a chance to experience the NCAA Tournament. The Knights will not be eligible for the next five seasons as they transition to Division I.
“It’s hard to be mad because you understand the situation,” Pfriem said. “You understand that higher up people wouldn’t be taking these drastic measures if there wasn’t a serious public health issue.”
Pfriem, Bradshaw and Betz will get to suit up again and in Division I as the Knights put together what will be an attractive preseason schedule before tipping off in the ASUN Conference.