I'm never entirely sure how to approach Senior Night. It's always an event bursting with such an eclectic mix of emotions that you're never certain how you should feel 20 minutes before the tip or 20 minutes after the final horn.
There's a game to be won (usually a big one), and of course that's the top priority, but properly honoring a group of players who have done absolutely all they can for four years to add to the rich history of the basketball program you love runs a pretty close second.
We spend a lot of time questioning the decisions these 18-23-year-olds make over the course of a 40-minute basketball game, but something that should never be questioned is the level of effort and determination it takes to bust your ass day after day, month after month, year after year for four collegiate seasons, partly so that we as fans can have something to look forward to twice a week during the winter. That type of commitment demands respect, and to me that's what Senior Day is all about, regardless of who it is playing their last home game.
Tonight, Kyle Kuric, Chris Smith and Jared Swopshire will play their final home games as Louisville Cardinals. The two who have been here for each of the past four seasons have seen the Cards pile up a record of 98-36 (73.1%), two trips to the Big East championship game in three years (1 title), and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
Here's each member of the senior class reflecting on the day and their time at U of L:
Also, I'm not sure Jared could be any classier. Regardless of how you feel about his on-the-court performance over the past four years, that guy deserves a giant ovation tonight.