Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Massachusetts native was last player to cut down nets at TD Garden following Villanova win

Michael Lowther
March 25, 2018 - 9:10 pm

March Madness is one of the sports world’s most anticipated events. But what happens when the madness takes a step into the city of Boston?

On Friday, four teams entered the TD Garden with the hopes of using Boston as just a pit stop on the road to the Final Four in San Antonio.

Empty seats were scarce upon scanning the TD Garden crowd during the Elite 8 matchup between Villanova and Texas Tech on Sunday. Although neither team is considered local, there were plenty of supporters from both sides with fans hopeful to watch their chosen team advance to the Final Four.

In the end, Villanova lived up to their No. 1 seeding, beating No. 3 Texas Tech by a final score of 71-59 to advance to the Final Four.

After the game, junior guard Jalen Brunson was named the East Regional Most Outstanding Player. However, when it came time to cut down the nets, it was not Brunson at the top of the ladder cutting down the final piece and placing the net around his neck, an honor often given to the winning team’s most valuable player.

Instead it was Jermaine Samuels, a freshman forward with zero playing minutes in the matchup against Texas Tech. Samuels, a native of Franklin, Mass., was given basketball’s greatest honor of cutting down the final piece of the net followed by swinging it around his head, all while looking at his family in the crowd.

“We just feel like that would mean more to him than anyone,” explained head coach Jay Wright. “Jermaine is a great kid, a big part of this, a Boston kid. We enjoyed it as much as he did.”

As far as playing in front of his family in his home state, Samuels could not be happier. But when he was on top of the ladder cutting down the net, it truly was a dream come true.

“It was great and I’m glad I got the chance to do it,” expressed Samuels. “I mean this is a once in a lifetime thing. It’s just amazing to be able to do this in the Garden. It felt great because I’m back home and celebrating in front of the people I know and that’s all that matters to me.”