Even now, at age 41, Sean Woods wonders about what might have been.
On March 28, it will have been exactly two decades since the Kentucky point guard hit that running, 10-foot bank shot over the fully extended arms of Christian Laettner that put UK 2.1 seconds from upsetting mighty Duke in the 1992 NCAA Tournament round of eight.
What Woods still allows himself to ponder is how famous he would be if Laettner had not trumped the UK guard's runner with a stone-cold clutch shot of his own?
"You tell me," Woods says. "How famous do you think I would be?"
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Well, not Kardashian famous, but ahead of Bryce Drew.
On the 20-year anniversary of his shot that almost decided the greatest college basketball game ever, Woods and the Mississippi Valley State University men's basketball team he coaches are creating a story that may produce an even more improbable ending.
Would you believe Woods has a team that started the season 1-11 but now has a winning record (12-11) and viable hopes to make the NCAA Tournament?
It is so.
Woods is in his fourth season as head man at Mississippi Valley State. There may be no tougher head coaching job in all of NCAA Division I basketball than leading the school best known as the alma mater of NFL great Jerry Rice.
To describe the athletics budget at MVSU as shoestring would be to undervalue the combined worth of shoestrings.
The Itta Bena, Miss., school fields 16 varsity sports teams, including football, on a total athletics budget of some $4.2 million. By way of comparison, the University of Kentucky is slated this year to spend $10.4 million on its men's basketball program alone.
"I think this has got to be the toughest Division I job in the country," Woods said Tuesday in a phone interview. "There are just no resources."
To compensate for the lack of funding, Woods and his basketball squad spend the first month of each season traveling the country collecting guarantee checks while serving as cannon fodder for major-conference teams.
This season, Mississippi Valley State played its first 12 games on the road. In order, the Delta Devils visited: Notre Dame, DePaul, North Carolina, South Carolina, Las Vegas for a two-game tournament, Arkansas, Northwestern, Mississippi, Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa State.
Those 12 games were played in 11 different locales that, cumulatively, were 7,677 miles from Itta Bena.
The brutal "see the country" stretch ended with MVSU having a 1-11 record. But Woods said the team made $778,000 from the guarantees.
"It's not a lot of fun," he says. "Every year, you are starting your season off and for the first month you know you basically have no chance. But we've got to do it to help out the whole athletics department."
It is what has happened since Mississippi Valley State's national hoops travel ended, however, that has been stunning.
The team that began 1-11 against a diet of conference big boys is 11-0 and leading the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
"I've got seven seniors," Woods says. "We've done this (the brutal December road treks) for years now, and the guys, I think, have learned that if we don't get beaten down from all the losing we can do good things in our own conference. I didn't know we'd be undefeated (this far into the SWAC season), but I did think we could be good in our league."
When you are recruiting at a school at the lower end of the Division I food chain, you are basically searching for hidden gems and giving guys second (or fourth) chances.
Woods' best player, 6-foot-8 power forward Paul Crosby (13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds), transferred to MVSU after his prior school, Binghamton, saw its program engulfed in a scandal.
Shooting guard Terrence Joyner (13.5 ppg) has made many stops. "He signed with John Pelphrey at Arkansas out of high school," Woods says of his former UK teammate and the ex-Hogs head coach. "That didn't work out and he went to prep school. (Then) he was at New Mexico State, Eastern Utah. Finally, he called us out of the blue, wanted to come play."
Another of Woods' better players, swingman Falando Jones, has been lost for the season because of a torn ACL. The Delta Devils are 4-0 since Jones was lost, however.
The SWAC being a one-bid league, Woods and Co. will have to win the post-season conference tournament to make the Big Dance.
Twenty years after Laettner trumped the shot that could have made Woods an enduring national name, maybe the ex-UK guard can get some of that lost fame back by coaching a team that began its season 1-11 into the NCAA Tournament.
"Everybody says that, how cool it would be on the anniversary," Woods says. "I don't think about that. I'd just like for us to get there for the kids on my team now. After all they've been through, I think they deserve it."