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Posted: 3:03 PM- Between the two of them, Jazz teammates Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams have it covered.
They understand the emotions involved with winning or losing the NCAA championship game. Just in case the Kansas or Memphis players wonder how long Monday night's feelings will stick with him, they can supply the answers.
"A lifetime," Boozer said.
"For the rest of your life," Williams said.
That sounds pretty much like a tie, suggesting there's hardly any difference in the impact of the outcome. The strength of the memories, the way they keep resurfacing at this time of year, are basically the same either way.
Boozer was a Duke sophomore in 2001, when the Blue Devils used his 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench in an 82-72 victory over Arizona.
"It's one of those things that if you're lucky enough to go, you're going to savor that moment for a long time," Boozer said, "and then you're going to remember it even longer."
Looking back, Boozer is struck by this thought: It happened so quickly. Not the NCAA Tournament, necessarily, just the package that was produced and ready for Duke's postgame celebration in Minneapolis.
"They have that song," Boozer said. "They show the highlights of your six games in the NCAAs and you're like, 'How'd they do it that fast?' "
Four years later, while Boozer was sitting out the end of his injury-wrecked first season with the Jazz, Williams was on the other side of "One Shining Moment." The tribute belonged to North Carolina, which beat his Illinois team 75-70 in St. Louis.
"It's something you can never get back," said Williams, who posted 17 points and seven assists as a junior playing his last college game. "You always look back and think 'what if?' and wish you could have another shot at it, but that's how it goes. . . . We had so many chances to win the game."
It was a bitter ending for the Illini, who took a 37-1 record into the final game. "I'm still proud of what we did; we accomplished something great," Williams said. "A lot of people don't even get to go to the championship game."
Thirteen eventual Jazzmen have appeared in NCAA title games. It is an intriguing list that includes two of Williams' Illinois teammates, Dee Brown and Roger Powell Jr., who would join him in Utah a year later.
Darrell Griffith went from being named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player for Louisville in 1980 to being drafted No. 2 overall by the Jazz, playing his whole NBA career in Utah and having his No. 35 retired. Two other MOPs played for the Jazz - Kent Benson (Indiana '76) and Danny Manning (Kansas '88) - although their pro careers were winding down by the time they arrived.
Other participants include Carl Nicks, who played in the legendary Larry Bird-Magic Johnson game at the Huntsman Center; Thurl Bailey, part of North Carolina State's dramatic upset of Houston 25 years ago; and Scott Padgett, instrumental in Kentucky's win over Utah 10 years ago.
They all have connections to Monday's winners or losers, along with Boozer and Williams, who played for Kansas coach Bill Self as an Illinois freshman.
In the NBA, it is common to describe the closing stretch of the regular season as being "like playoff games." Actually, they are more like NCAA Tournament games. With five games left, the Jazz will find themselves playing a different team each time, in New Orleans, Dallas, Salt Lake City (twice) and San Antonio - all cities with considerable NCAA history.
These five games will determine whether the Jazz enjoy home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. This is their chance to make up for some road games they'd like to replay, including a couple in Minneapolis. That's where Boozer won a national championship in '01, but could not beat the Timberwolves in '08.