UConn’s Amari Sanogo Earns Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Title Win

by Ryan Lee
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Adama Sanogo was standing on the side, looking anxious as he watched his team UConn play their last game to win the fifth NCAA championship. When the time was up and they had won, Andrew Hurley threw the ball in the air with both hands, starting their victory celebration. But Adama ran right in and grabbed it like catching a football before anyone else.

Sanogo told Big Big News, “I want to save this ball for my kids and grandkids. It’s very important to me.”

He wanted the first souvenir he had collected during the season he played for the Huskies.

Sanogo helped his team win the national title game on Monday night with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He was also recognized as the best player in the tournament for having four double-doubles out of six games. This 6 ft 9, 245 pound guy from Mali was a big part of his team’s success this season and their fifth championship victory.

Sanogo had already planned that if UConn won the tournament, he would make sure to keep track of the ball as soon as the final horn sounded. Coach Hurley noticed this and laughed, saying he knew Sanogo was going to do this. With his incredible play during the tournament, seemed there was no doubt who deserved that ball after all!

Guard Nahiem Alleyne said it was totally fine for Sanogo to keep the ball when told about it. Sanogo is the best player in the tournament and he’s been really good throughout the whole competition. He’s done such a great job that we wouldn’t have even made it this far without him!

The game’s star player came in with team-high averages of 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds, but he was very successful today; making 5 out of 9 shots from the field and going a perfect 7 for 8 from the free throw line – plus, five of his rebounds were on the offensive glass! This was especially impressive considering that he has been fasting until sundown during Ramadan as a Muslim. Alex Karaban said that “he wanted this moment so badly,” and you could tell how hard he worked to make it happen.

After Sanogo’s basketball team had an unlucky defeat in the NCAA Tournament last year, he got the chance to talk with UConn legend Emeka Okafor about how to win a title. Seven months later, Okafor watched as Sanogo and his team celebrated a championship victory by cutting down the nets and taking pictures with their trophy.

Okafor said that this person did a really great job playing an important role, helping the team both on defense and offense. They made big plays when they were needed, and they even did it while fasting this weekend! That shows how determined they were to reach their goals from the start of the year.

At a time when UConn’s lead had started to dwindle, Tristen Newton attempted to shot a floater that missed the rim and bounced off. Taking it upon himself, Sanogo grabbed the rebounding opportunity by grabbing the ball with his right hand and flicking it onto the backboard. What followed was an exciting dunk that widened their lead 58-50, with 7:12 still on the clock!

The Huskies were doing well during the night, having a 16-point advantage in the first half. However, the Aztecs kept pushing hard, trying to reduce that gap. Eventually, they narrowed it down to just 5 points with 5 minutes left. Nevertheless, the Huskies kept responding with important plays at crucial moments and eventually emerged as winners against their opponent.

UConn soon got the lead and coach Dan Hurley once again allowed his team to take a break. This included Sanogo who stopped playing with 30.2 seconds to go and walked right towards Coach Hurley, already embracing Karaban. All three of them joined together in a group hug to celebrate their win.

Aaron looked happy with a big smile on his face when he said: “I’m definitely hanging onto this ball when the game’s over! Yeah, for sure!”

Check out Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap for updates on March Madness coverage like brackets (https://bigbignews.net/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://bigbignews.net/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll) or AP Top 25 polls (https://twitter.com/AP_Top25).

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