LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One by one, students walked slowly past the food court in the Student Activities Center on the Louisville campus and waited to sign the makeshift 3-by-5 foot poster of injured basketball player Kevin Ware.
‘We stand behind you, Kevin! Get Well soon #5!’ the poster read.
Ware broke his right leg in two places Sunday, a horrifying injury that inspired the Cardinals to beat Duke and earn their second consecutive trip to the Final Four. Hours later, the Louisville women’s team upset defending champion Baylor.
Amid the celebration, students, faculty and fans couldn’t get Ware out of their minds.
“It was hard to look at,” freshman Ishmail Wheeler said of the injury after signing the poster. “I felt for him.”
University President James Ramsey said Monday that “it was a great day to be a Cardinal,” but added that it was “heartbreaking” to see Ware injured.
“It was just an empty feeling,” Ramsey said. “All of the sudden, the game wasn’t important.”
The Lady Cardinals were basking in a sea of praise and congratulations Monday – including a postgame locker room visit from Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant, who posed for pictures with the Cardinals.
Men’s point guard “Peyton Siva texted me last night, and he’s like, Coach (Pitino) is going to text you,” said Cardinals forward Monique Reid. “That was pretty cool getting
a great game from them.”
On campus, students were especially proud to wear Cardinals red and black.
“It’s just unbelievable with the men and women winning,” said senior Asaad Ali, who attended the game in Indianapolis. “The men winning was special, but what the women did sealed the day for us. It was bittersweet because of Ware and the moment, but it was a great day.”