The University of Virginia men’s basketball season ended with a catastrophic loss to UMBC, making the Hoos the first ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. None of that is news, of course, but Tuesday night Virginia fans got some insight into the mindset of the team.
Kyle Guy took to Facebook to share a two part post about the fateful game. The first post was in the form of a letter he wrote to himself before the UMBC matchup, the second detailing his emotions and experience during and after the game, along with how he moved on.
Guy explained in the letter that he achieved most of the personal goals and all of the team goals set before the season:
You knew these team and individual goals were another Goliath, and they could be conquered. You wanted to be First-Team All ACC; you were First-Team. You wanted to win the ACC regular season and tournament championships; you did both. You wanted to be a First-Team All American; You were Third-Team. You wanted to be the best team in the country; you earned the number one overall seed. You not only proved everyone wrong, but you proved yourself and your teammates right.
He continued, describing how the team was aware of the existing pressure around the potential of being the first No. 1 to fall to a No. 16, but not to give into the pressure.
If you begin to think too much about the past or the future, or what people think, it can become very real. Don’t buy in now. We all know the joke this year will be the year the 16 seed beats a number 1 seed. Don’t feed into it now, Coach Bennett is always reminding you to stay humble and respectful. You chose to play under the best coach and leader I’ve ever known and probably ever will know. You and the team never fed into the media or the haters all year. You put the blinders on and focused on the end goal. I beg of you not to buy in now.
The entire post is worth a read, but the follow up piece is even better. In a raw, emotion-filled, and captivating post, Guy detailed his experience around the UMBC game, from the moment they realized history would be made to the recovery long after.
When the final horn sounded, cementing the Hoos in history, Guy let his emotion overtake him.
It was too much. I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of sadness, anxiety, and failure. All the sensations of that exact moment consumed me and I was no longer in control of my emotions. I was crying uncontrollably. It was like a sugar rush of desolation. While I was at half court and UMBC crowded the court I felt isolated. I was detached from reality. My brother, De ‘Andre Hunter, literally had to drag me and escort me off the court. As soon as I got in the locker room I hugged our seniors and I said “I’m so sorry.”
The description of the experience on the podium was perfection, saying, “Some of the questions were so tough and some were so dumb (ask Ty) that it was the hardest interview I’ve ever been a part of.”
Guy shared some new details - like the team got a police escort back to the hotel after the game:
You know why? Because we got death threats. There was suspicion of someone hurting a bunch of 18-23 year olds for losing a damn basketball game. Not only is that sad for the sport but it’s so transparent that everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own. No matter how real the threat was it’s not a good feeling when the world seems to have turned on you and exiled you.
After the team returned to Charlottesville, Guy described feeling embarrassed, isolated, and walking around Grounds in headphones and a hoodie to avoid the looks and stares from disappointed classmates. Now, Virginia’s sharp-shooter is ready to roll.
But here is why I am thankful for this happening to my team and I. We got a head start. In life and on the court. I worked on myself for 3 weeks and kept in the shadows to completely heal and move on. I realized the more time I spent sulking the more opportunities I was missing to grow. I realized every second is an opportunity not an obligation. I am now striving to be a person that wakes up and gets out of bed and makes the devil go “oh shit he’s up.”
Like the letter to himself, the whole post is worth a read. It’s extremely well written and gives fans a glimpse into the mindset of the team, something fans rarely get to see. If Guy is going to come out hotter in his third year, watch out, ACC.