From Sunlen Miller
“Payback is sweet, isn’t it, coach?” President Obama quipped to Coach K of the Duke Blue Devils, as he honored the team for their NCAA championship win in the Rose Garden today.
“I know that all of you remember last year, when I filled out my bracket I picked North Carolina to win it all. It wasn’t anything personal. Just trying to win some money. I was right. Coach K wasn’t too happy. He basically told me to stick it. Or stick to my day job, is what he said. “
The president joked that Coach K led his team to victory this year just so he could come to the White House to “crow” about it.
The president called Duke’s season and NCAA tournament “incredible” from the start to finish.
“The championship game against Butler — the most-watched championship game in more than 10 years — was everything fans hoped it would be. It came down to the final possession. And these guys hung in there and won it all.”
The president’s personal assistant and former Duke basketball player Reggie Love – who almost got as much applause as the president when he walked in the Rose Garden to arrange his boss’ papers on the podium — got a fair portion of the president’s speech today.
“Reggie was so excited to see his old coach today that I had to make him come out and run some sprint drills — just to calm him down,” Obama laughed, “I play with Reggie now, and when Reggie was playing, Coach said, ‘don’t shoot.’ And when he’s on my team, I say to Reggie, ‘don’t shoot.’ So things haven’t changed that much. Go down in the post, rebound.”
The president wished the team good luck next season.
“I suspect that you’re going to try to bust my bracket once again. But I may not make the same mistake twice.”
The team presented Mr. Obama with a framed Duke jersey.
“You know Reggie is going to make me hang this in the Oval Office. Take down Lincoln or something.”