"It's been fairly institutionalized into our program that it's part of doing business at BYU; guys are gonna come and gonna go." McGown said. "We knew [Patch] wanted to go [on his mission] since we started recruiting him that was a selling point, that we could accommodate that but clearly as a coach, you've got some mixed emotions."
Patch's and Sander's emotions were not so mixed, but they were more than evident.
The All-American duo walked off the Pauley Pavilion floor in a zombie-like trance, eyes reddened, surrounded by friends and family but clearly off in their own worlds.
Sander, replaying a match that could've been won, over and over.
Patch, realizing that the Cougars' fantastic run will be his last for two years.
Both understanding that such a season will be difficult to replicate, that their bond may be broken for now, but that it will be forged again.
"Taylor is irreplaceable; I'll never be another Taylor Sander," said Patch, who will return to BYU for the 2015-16 season, when Sander will be long gone. "But I can try my hardest to be a leader and the role model he is. He was so inspiring to play around. I can only hope to do a little of that in my time to come."
Added Sander: "I'm so proud of that kid. He's done so many good things for us. I know this won't be the last time I play with him."