Chris Webber knows the sting of defeat.
The former Michigan forward basketball hall of famer infamously called timeout with 11 seconds left in the 1993 national championship game, when his team trailed North Carolina 73-71.
But Michigan didn’t have any timeouts left to use.That meant a technical foul against the Wolverines, two fouls shots for North Carolina and possession after the trip to the line.
When Webber crossed paths with Tennessee players Saturday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, he pulled aside freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler to provide some words of wisdom after the Vols saw their season end abruptly in a 76-68 loss to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tennessee sports information director Tom Satkowiak described the interaction between Webber and Chandler on Twitter, writing that Webber told him he hopes the loss “hurts … because it’s going to make you cold-blooded out there.”
*thread* — Tom Satkowiak (@TomSatkowiak)
The [#MarchMadness] moments few see…
Coach Barnes, Josiah, Uroš and Kennedy walked passed Naismith Hall of Famer Chris Webber last night on their way to the postgame press conference… [pic.twitter.com/6nBJyaP6J0] [March 20, 2022]
Chandler led the Vols (27-8) with 19 points and nine assists and four rebounds in the loss.Tennessee led 60-54 with 8:27 left, but Michigan closed the game on a 21-8 run to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
After the horn, Michigan coach Juwan Howard consoled an emotional Chandler.
“I got a chance to know Kennedy back when my youngest son, Jett, and Kennedy played in AAU,” Howard said Saturday night, “and they won the LeBron James tournament in Ohio.So we had a relationship back then.”
Chandler pulled his jersey up to cover the tears in his eyes as Howard talked into his ear.Chandler bent over, overcome by emotion, then stood up as Howard pulled him back in for another hug.
“Just watching his growth, I’ve always been impressed,” Howard said.“We recruited him, unfortunately, we wasn’t that lucky, but to see the output, the effort, the growth and being able to produce like that on the floor and how he led his team in a special way.
“I gave him words of encouragement.It shows his emotion, that he cares.
As coaches, you appreciate that.”
Chandler after the game declined to answer what’s next in his basketball career.He’s projected as a late first-round pick in most NBA mock drafts after coming to Tennessee as a five-star prospect and the No.1 overall point guard in the country in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
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He led the Vols in both scoring, at 13.9 points per game, and assists, at 4.7.
He was second in minutes, at 30.7 per game, starting in all 34 games he played this season.
“Kennedy is an elite player,” Howard said, “and he’s one of the best guards in the country.”
Chandler said after the game that Howard told him to keep his head up.
“It’s tough for me,” Chandler said, “and he knew I wanted to get the win.I know him.
I’ve played with his son since, like, 4th grade.So I know him for a long time.
“He’s a great coach,” he added.
“I love him.
He told me to keep my head up and you played your heart out, that’s what he told me.”.