College Basketball’s Elite Talk Faith at The Final Four
Villanova, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and North Carolina all came here with one goal in mind: to win the NCAA National Championship and title. Of course Villanova and North Carolina are moving on to play in the championship game but let’s face it, for 18, 19, and 20-year-olds there’s a lot of pressure at the event whether you make it to the championship game or not. Well I got a chance to talk with players from all four teams and some say they’ve found a way to deal with that pressure and they’re not here just to win a championship but to lift up the name of the Lord.
Villanova’s Patrick Farrell tells us, “I think my faith has helped me keep my feet on the ground because we know that everything’s in God’s hands. We prepare really hard. And we always talk about this as a team is, we can only prepare but so much and the rest is in Jesus Christ and God’s hands and so we’re just going to go out there and perform as well as we can and Christ is going to take over at some point and lead us to the right destination.”
Villanova’s Josh Hart put up 23 points against the Sooners in the semi-final. Like Patrick, he says it’s because of his faith in the Lord. Without it, he says he’d be nothing on the basketball court, saying, “It goes hand and hand with you skillset and with everything. You know so it’s something that you have to have obviously in basketball but in every walk of life.”
The Oklahoma Sooners had a great run to get to this year’s final four beating out #1 seeded Oregon. Junior guard Daniel Harper says he feels so blessed because it provides a platform for them to shine bright for Christ.
“Being a Christian is everything. Being a role model to the kids and being able to show our faith and express our faith and show how strong that is on the biggest stage in college basketball, it’s huge,” said Daniel. “I believe in Christ. He’s my Lord and Savior, said Freshman forward Christian James. I always praying. I’m a praying man. That’s why I look up to Buddy so much. He’s a praying man. I just love the Lord. I try to live my life right. Nobody’s perfect, but I always try to take the right path.”
Senior guard Buddy Hield grew up in Eight Mile Rock, a settlement on the island of Grand Bahama. Through hard work and prayer, he is one of the few to make it out successfully with basketball and he gives all the glory to the God.
“I always have faith in the Lord. I always give thanks to God and I keep give Him credit for everything He’s done for me. And I’ll never forget that,” said Buddy.
Many couldn’t imagine 10th seeded Syracuse making it to the Final Four. Though they fell short against North Carolina in the semi-final Chinonso Obokoh and Kaleb Joseph understand what’s most important and give all the credit to the lord for helping them go as far as they did.
Obokoh said, “Everything that’s happened right now, I think it’s God. It doesn’t matter what anybody say because it’s not by our power it’s by the Lord’s power.”
“My faith in Jesus Christ means everything to me,” said Kaleb. “God, Jesus is the reason why I wake up everyday. I think if you don’t have that relationship, then you can kind of get lost in some of the external things. But when you have a real relationship with Jesus Christ I think it gives you life purpose and um everything starts to make sense…everything starts to click.”
The North Carolina tar heels are the only #1 seed left. For some of the players their faith has a lot to do with their success. In their locker room that starts with former NBA player, Tar Heel, and current Asst. Coach Hubert Davis.
“The most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. And I’m so thankful for giving me the opportunity to be back here at North Carolina. Twenty-five years ago I was in a Final Four against Coach Williams in Indianapolis and we ended up losing. But to be back 25 years later and working with coach Williams here and having a chance to win a national championship is pretty awesome, Davis.”
Junior Guard Nate Britt told us, “It’s meant everything. We wouldn’t be here without Christ. You have to give all the praise and glory to Him. Every time I step on the court I say a prayer and it’s His will not mine, said Sophomore forward Justin Jackson. I could want to go of for 40 points but if that’s not what He wants me to do. If that’s not what He has planned, then that’s not what He has planned. And He’s blessed me to have this type of plan to make it to the Final Four and obviously you hope that His plan is to have us keep going. But what ever His plan is…that’s what it is for my life.”
Senior guard Justin Coleman is simply thankful to be here after injuring his spine in high school, he was told he would never play basketball again. Now his team is playing for a championship. He says he has a bright future it’s all because of his trust in the Lord.
“Jesus Christ has meant everything. I know that God has been in my life everywhere and everyday, at every moment. He’s been my saving grace al the time. You know I’m supposed to be paralyzed. I know that He’s been there and it’s not just that… it’s through life. A lot of things have fallen into to place and I know who it is… so it’s amazing.”