In the first three years of his college career, Jose Alvarado had to tolerate plenty of nights where he put up big numbers in a losing effort. In the ACC tournament final on Saturday night against No. 15 Florida State, he finally got to experience a night where his individual contributions were matched by his team's end result.
Alvarado capped his senior season with an ACC championship, scoring 13 points with five rebounds, three assists and five steals in Georgia Tech's 80-75 win over the Seminoles. Afterward, the senior gave an emotional post-game interview with ESPN in that perfectly encapsulated what's so special about college basketball in March.
“This is why I work my butt off. A lot of people doubted me. I wasn’t supposed to be in the ACC, and (head coach Josh Pastner) took a chance on me," Alvarado said. "My teammates, how good are they, man? This is like a dream come true, and I’m proud of my guys. I love this win. This is gonna last me a lifetime.”
Alvarado, who took home ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors by averaging nearly three steals per game, sealed the win with his fifth swipe of the night in the game's final seconds. He played 40 minutes for the 25th time in his career, never leaving the court in the Yellow Jackets' biggest game of the season.
Georgia Tech was a projected No. 10 seed in Kevin Sweeney's latest Bracket Watch, though that could change after Saturday's big win. After clinching the program's first ACC tournament title since 1993, Alvarado was able to bask in bringing the hardware back to Atlanta with his family on hand.
“I got my daughter in the stands, I got my dad…I’m just so happy I get the chance to tell them I’m a champion, and I’ll bring a trophy home to Georgia Tech.”