This is Martavious Irving’s third trip to the NCAA Tournament. The junior Kansas State guard is one of the few fortunate people in college basketball who has been a part of the game’s biggest event every year he has been in school.
As a freshman, he helped K-State go on a run to the Elite Eight. As a sophomore, the Wildcats beat Utah State and came within a few points of reaching the Sweet 16. As a junior, he’s hoping for more. But most of all, he’s just happy to be here.
“We are out here practicing hard, preparing for what we came here to do,” Irving said. “We're here to take care of business. I don't want to get too comfortable. I'm really just fortunate. Not everyone gets this opportunity.
“I've been talking to a lot of my friends back home who play Division I basketball, and they've never been here. They always ask me how it feels, because I've been here three times in three years. I just really feel fortunate for this opportunity.”
What kind of stories does he tell his friends, who have never been a part of the Big Dance?
“They always ask, ‘What do you do? I hear you get escorted by the police,’” Irving said. “I tell them about that. I tell them it's a big stage. You build lifelong memories. I hope they get to experience it one day.
“I know I’ve enjoyed it.”