|Veteran Klayton Korver key in shaping Drake's mental toughness|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 19 March 2008 22:52|
And a lot of them are doing that because of Klayton Korver, whose happy-go-lucky persona in the face of repeated knee surgery has rubbed off on his teammates.
``I learned a lot of patience. I've learned you've got to enjoy it,'' Korver said. ``You don't know when it's going to be your last day. You might blow out your knee tomorrow. You never know. So enjoy your teammates, enjoy the whole experience and don't take anything for granted.''
Now he's about to play in the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs, fresh off the most surprising regular season in school history, will play their first NCAA game since 1971 on Friday when they face Western Kentucky in Tampa, Fla.
``It's pretty sweet,'' Korver said. ``To be here when we weren't very good, the Knapp Center wasn't very full ... and to be here now when we've had this great year, and to be able to play under Coach (Keno Davis), it's been a great season.''
Korver started 32 games this season despite having two knee operations since 2005 because of a microfracture on his knee the size of a dime. Even now, Korver's ability to work out his lower body and jump in practice is limited and he still gets treatment on it every day.
Ironically, Korver came to Drake in 2003 as one of the few big-name recruits the school has ever had. That's thanks to his older brother Kyle, who twice won league Player of the Year honors at rival Creighton.
This season, Korver hit 77 3s and shot 87.8 percent from the line, helping Drake (28-4) overcome a brief February swoon that followed a 21-game winning streak and go on to dominate the Missouri Valley conference tournament.
``You're talking about somebody that only cares about the team. He's going to make the pass, even though he's known for shooting some of the really long 3s. He just as well will make a pass into the interior to score, or make the big rebound late in games,'' Davis said. ``When you look at somebody who's come back and fought through his knee injuries and worked as hard as he's had, you cheer for that kind of story.''