April 23, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President
Bush saluted NCAA basketball champs from Duke and Notre Dame at the White House
Monday. But he wasn't about to shoot hoops with any of them.
weather's been such that I haven't been practicing my sky hook lately," Bush told
the Duke men and Notre Dame women at a ceremony not far from the small South Lawn
basketball court that his father, the former president, had installed years earlier."Looking
at the size of some of these guys I'm not sure I want to try to do it now anyway."The
president saluted the teams not only for their skill:"Reviewing
the rosters and the success of this club, both Duke and Notre Dame recruited for
athletic talent but they also recruited character as well. These championships
go to prove that good people do finish first."Bush
said he empathized with the player who called the lady Fighting Irish's win "scary"
after they rallied from deficits to beat Purdue by just two points in the final
seconds of their April 1 championship game."I know
what you're talking about. It reminds me of election night," Bush quipped.He
accepted jerseys from each team, shorthanding Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's name."The
reason I call him Coach K is because sometimes I have trouble pronouncing long
words," Bush chuckled.Krzyzewski had a bit of trouble
himself. Handing Bush a No. 1 Duke jersey, the coach suggested they should have
thought to give him "41" instead."Forty-three," Bush
corrected him, referring to a Bush family nickname for the son of the 41st president.
"Forty-one's the other guy."