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Stephen F. Austin coach gets emotional in tribute to his star, Thomas Walkup

"What are you going to miss most about Thomas?"

After Stephen F. Austin's Cinderella run in the NCAA Tournament ended in a loss to Notre Dame, coach Brad Underwood had nothing but nice things to say about his players, who took down No. 3 seed West Virginia in the first round.

The final question of SFA's postgame press conference was the toughest: "Off the court, what are you going to miss most about Thomas [Walkup]?"

"He's a better kid than he is a player, and that's what I'll miss," Underwood replied. "He's funny. He's smart."

The Lumberjacks coach fought back the emotion as he talked about his star player, who's been with Underwood since the beginning of his coaching career at SFA.

"That's what this is about," Underwood said. "He's everything that this is about. It's relationships. It's people. It's the student-athlete with two degrees, it's a student-athlete who made himself great -- I mean, how can you not love a kid like that?"

It's one thing to lose a player to graduation, but it's another to say goodbye to someone who seems to embody the spirit of SFA.

"There's not enough adjectives to say what I feel about that young man," Underwood said, "and he's going to go make it in whatever endeavor he chooses -- beyond basketball, with basketball, whatever. I love that kid to death."

Stephen F. Austin fans feel the same way as you, coach.

You can watch the rest of the team's press conference here.