ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Kentucky Wildcats had Drake celebrating with them after a victory, and Dwight Howard was doing the “Gator chomp” in the Florida student section.
As usual, the NCAA Final Four drew plenty of stars and celebrities.
After Kentucky won on a late shot to advance to the championship game, Drake was in the locker room with the Wildcats.
“That’s great. He just told us to stay confident, and it’s on us now,” said Andrew Harrison, who had the pass to his freshman twin brother for the game-winning shot. “Just keep playing and don’t be satisfied, so that was exciting for all of us.”
Gators freshman Dominique Hawkins said he had never before celebrated a victory with someone as famous as the Canadian rapper-singer-actor.
“It’s a blessing to play for Kentucky because we have so many fans, and fans like Drake,” Hawkins said. “He told us to enjoy the moment and get what you want.”
A few famous quarterbacks were also in the building — Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys; Seattle Seahawks championship quarterback Russell Wilson, who played at Wisconsin; and former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who is skipping his final two seasons at Texas A&M to enter next month’s NFL draft.
NASCAR driver Danica Patrick tweeted a picture from the Final Four, along with the note, “Whoa! This is a lot of seats. Don’t always claim my birth state since I grew up in Illinois, but I’m cheering for WI.”
Patrick is in town for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Former Duke teammates Christian Laettner and Grant Hill were in the building. Laettner made perhaps the most memorable shot ever in the NCAA tournament, his game-ending turnaround jumper after a court-length pass to beat Kentucky in 1992.
Howard, who went straight to the NBA from high school, was there with Houston Rockets teammate Chandler Parsons, who played at Florida from 2008-11.
Unfortunately for Parsons and Patrick, their teams lost.
— Stephen Hawkins — https://twitter.com/hawkaptexas
NCAA Finals Watch follows the Final Four games and all the activities surrounding the event as seen by journalists from The Associated Press in North Texas — from the big stadium in Arlington where the games will be played to downtown Dallas. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.