SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WCCO) — Down in San Antonio, there are memories for some Gopher fans, because in 1997, CBS Sports was carrying it, Jim Nantz was doing the play-by-play and the Golden Gophers made their run to the Final Four.
They were led by Big Ten MVP Bobby Jackson. He now works for the Sacramento Kings. He happened to be in San Antonio scouting when WCCO’s Mike Max caught up to him at the Alamodome.
The last time the Gophers won more than one game in the NCAA Tournament was 1997, when they came to San Antonio, and led by the Big Ten player of the year, Bobby Jackson, beat Clemson and UCLA to earn a spot in the Final Four.
“Outside of making it to the NBA, I think that’s probably one of the greatest accomplishments that a college basketball player wants to experience,” Jackson said. “Going to the NCAA Tournament, but going deep into the tournament. And we was fortunate enough to have that luxury to play at the high level.”
He was remembered in San Antonio this weekend, in town scouting for the Sacramento Kings. This building, this city, brought back memories.
“Great memories. Sweet Sixteen. The camaraderie that we had as a young team. Big Ten champions,” Jackson said. “That’s something that you’ll never forget. It’s just a great feeling just to be back in here.”
The NCAA may have vacated the wins from the record books, but not the memories of those who witnessed it and played in it. And for Jackson, they will live forever.
“I kind of made a name for myself once I got into the NCAA Tournament,” Jackson said. “I think a lot of these college players will do the same and a lot of college players have done that. It’s a great stepping board to plateau yourself into the next phase of your career. I relished in it, I loved it.”
Of course that ride ended in San Antonio. The next week in Indianapolis they lost to Kentucky in the semifinals. Arizona went on to beat the Wildcats and win the 1997 national championship.