Brackets have been busted, buzzers have been beaten, and some random guy who didn’t really care about basketball probably won your office pool. Yes, March Madness has officially ended. But even though North Carolina earned the men’s NCAA basketball championship, there’s still one more award to hand out: dad of the tournament. That is, what father showed the most enthusiasm, grit, and support, as he sat on the sideline and watched his son compete in college ball’s biggest showcase? While LaVar Ball and all his trash talk took him out of the running, there was a handful of fathers who stood out from the pack. So, mirror, mirror on the wall, who was the daddest of them all?
Honorable Mention: Rick Barry
Florida guard Canyon Barry made a name for himself with his great play and revival of the granny shot. He learned the latter from his dad, former NBA player Rick Barry. Rick’s unconventional shooting style earned him the fourth highest free throw percentage in NBA history, and his son is following in his footsteps with a .883 free throw percentage this season.
Honorable Mention: BJ McKie
South Carolina was one of the surprise teams of the tournament, upsetting powerhouses Duke and Baylor on their road to the Final Four. After their win over Florida, Gamecocks’ Senior Justin McKie provided one of the tournament’s tearjerker moments when Justin shared a long, winning embrace with his old man. Although the moment was a brief showcase, it clearly shows the love of a dad who wholeheartedly supported his son’s triumph.
Honorable Mention: Richard Lucas
Richard Lucas, who played college ball at Oregon, was put in a tough position when his son Landen, a senior at Kansas, was facing off against his former squad. But, like any good dad, he left no doubts as to where his loyalties lie.”I’m an Oregon guy. I’m an Oregon alum and a proud Oregon alum. I’ve rooted for them in women’s basketball to lacrosse to whatever it is I root for it. But for two hours tomorrow it’s all about KU and Kansas,” Richard said in an interview. Respect.
The Winner: Bonifacy Karnowski
To be crowned dad of the tournament, a father must go the distance for their kid. And nobody went the distance more than Bonifacy Karnowski, father of Gonzaga Center Przemek Karnowski. Literally. Bonifacy lives in Poland and traveled more than 6,000 miles to see his son play against South Carolina in the Final Four. And while he made a relatively minor appearance, Bonifacy, who coached his son through high school, made his presence known, exhibiting a ton and support and enthusiasm during the game. Case in point: the outrage he showed over the lack of a foul called on a play that forced his son out of the game for most of the first half. You have to stick up for your kid, even when he’s 7’1″ and 300 lbs. Props, Bonifacy.