Shabazz Napier made sure he had everyone’s attention following his team’s NCAA Championship win Monday night against Kentucky.
Napier’s UConn Huskies had just held off the Wildcats 60-54, but Napier had something to say to the crowd, those watching on TV and the world:
“Ladies and Gentleman, you’re looking at the hungry Huskies,” Napier proclaimed to CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz. “This is what happens when you ban us. Last year. Two years – we worked so hard for it.”
Napier was referring to UConn’s postseason ban last season due to low Academic Progress Rate scores. The ban provided more than enough fuel to deliver the school its 4th-ever national title.
According to USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg, the ban was “largely a measurement of past Huskies, not the then-current team.”
CBS quickly cut away to a crowd shot, during the tail end of Napier’s remarks. Nantz hastily declared Napier the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Last week, Napier told FOX Sports it was “kind of great” that Northwestern University football players were making the push to unionize. The senior point guard added that there were some nights he went to bed “starving,” because he didn’t have money to eat.
The comments didn’t really catch on until right before the title game Monday; Napier is set to graduate in May.
The New Yorker’s Ian Crouch called Napier’s comments about ‘hungry nights’ a “one shining moment of truth.” After all, if players can’t afford to eat some nights – yet their jersey is up for sale at the student store on campus – that’s a problem.
It’s just a problem the NCAA has chosen to neither acknowledge nor aim to solve.
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