WASHINGTON — Drew Gooden has an NBA game to play, so he won't be able to watch his alma mater Kansas vs. Kentucky in the 2012 NCAA championship game.
"Kansas is playing tonight?" teammate Jon Brockman deadpanned as Gooden talked about the Jayhawks in the locker room before Bucks vs. Wizards. You get the feeling he might have mentioned them once or twice over the past few weeks.
It's tough sometimes, the NBA life. If your school was in the NCAA title game, you'd plan your whole night around it. Gooden is just going to hop off of a team flight and find out whether or not his school is NCAA champs.
So how's he coping?
"With this iPad and all this high-tech stuff nowadays, I might be able to catch the game soon as I land on YouTube or something," he said.
That'll be a nice treat if they win. And Gooden knows exactly what he's doing first: calling his mom.
"She's been following it a lot harder than I have," he said. "She texts me every time they win, or if they lost, so I think she's been following more than anything so I'll definitely talk to her."
That's nice of Gooden to do for his mom, who he said converted from being an Arkansas Razorbacks fan when he committed. At least she didn't miss the Corliss Williamson era.
Talking about college, Gooden got nostalgic about goofing around with teammates on the court and in the dorms. He said NBA life is a little different.
"My teammates are my friends," he said, "and at the same time they're my co-workers."
Of course, there's some bonding in the NBA, too. As Gooden continued to talk about college, he began taping up an ice pack around Brockman's back.
"See, we're family around here."
Maybe things aren't so different.
For more on the Jayhawks, head over to the SB Nation blog Rock Chalk Talk. For more on the Wildcats, check out A Sea of Blue. For more updates on tonight's championship game throughout the day, keep it tuned to our NCAA tournament StoryStream.