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Former NCAA Davidson Wildcat Max Paulhus-Gosselin Talks About Life During March Madness

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have noticed that the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament, also known as the March Madness, is under way in the United States. If your university has been selected to the annual college basketball dance, you will shortly start observing changes on campus. Class attendance will fall, you will start getting multiple invitations to viewing parties and gatherings on Facebook and the town will be buzzing. This is the craziness of the March Madness.

In 2008, a basketball player from Quebec, Canada had front row seats to the agitation occuring on campus when his Davidson College Wildcats went all the way to the tournament's Elite Eight. Maxime Paulhus-Gosselin gave us a little idea of what it was like playing for his varsity team during the month of March.


How was the fan support of the men's varsity on campus at Davidson College?

Davidson is a small community and the basketball team has always been something that the student body cares about, so when the team is good on top of that the student body really does support the team. There are buses of fans going on road games, but most of those fans are alumni or supporters from the town of Davidson.
The entire town was in the student union with most of the students and a lot of media for selection Sunday. Then we were very disappointed in our seeding, so there was no party that at attended as players there only was a meeting where coach McKillop established the course of action for next couple of days of practice and then off to bed. I am sure some students celebrated, but our participation in those celebrations before the tournament would have been unacceptable.


How was the support felt on the social media platforms?

All the players' Facebook accounts and text inbox exploded. Twitter was not big in 2008 so that did not move much. There were facebook events for our games and other student gatherings. The most Impressive was the number of text messages and Facebook requests that Steph Curry had. It took him about 4 months to sort it all out.



In what forms came the support of your school fans as you moved forward in the tournament? Would you have your own crowds at games?

The entire town and campus was decorated with signs to congratulate us and to encourage us after we came back on campus after beating Gonzaga University and Georgetown University. There were painted bed sheets hung from balconies all over town.

After it all, the mayor declared the official men’s basketball day in honour of our run in March 2008. That day is still celebrated in Davidson.

How did the media attention change as you moved forward in the tournament? How did you feel being labelled the “Cinderella team” of the tournament?

Whatever we were called did not matter to me personally. We had more media attention than Davidson ever had. We were prolonging our season and we were all loving it and enjoying every minute. The media attention got pretty crazy with interviews after every practice and cameras on campus. Will Archambault and I got a lot of attention from the French media in Quebec, and that was fun because we felt connected to the people back home for the first and last time in our careers.

After the tournament, how was the atmosphere on campus?

The atmosphere for the rest of the year, after we got over the fact that we had lost, and that the dream was over, was a party atmosphere. Anything was a good reason to celebrate. We had to go about our student business as usual, but everybody’s mood was at its best on campus and in town.

After the tournament, did students recognize you more on campus?

The campus of Davidson is tiny and there are only 1700 students so everybody knew everybody before the tournament. But the people in Charlotte also recognized us now, that was fun!

What was the best memory of your time at Davidson College?

My best memory is everything I shared with my teammates and friends from Davidson. The highs and the lows, the whole experience of living in a different culture and being part of Davidson College, this small town college from the southern part of the United States. It was all amazing.

I know you are probably looking for something about the tournament. Something shocking happened to us when we played in Detroit. We had a police escort of 6 cars on our way from the hotel to Ford Field. The bus did not slow down. The highway was blocked off for us to get to the game in time and without stress. The streets were blocked off by police cars only for our bus to go through, we stopped at no red lights and people were screaming “let’s go, let’s go” when they saw the bus in the city. It was unbelievable!


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