CHICAGO -- Peyton Siva has a confession to make, though it was evident to the millions watching the national championship game at home and the thousands in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
The Louisville point guard knew the moment that Trey Burke pinned his layup on the backboard that it was clean. Instead, an official called a foul and Siva converted two free throws. It was a game-changing play that came at a crucial time in the second half. Louisville took a 69-64 lead with 5:10 left and went on to beat Michigan 82-76 for the national championship.
“I talked to him about it …. I told him today, ‘Trey I wasn't going to mention this on Instagram or Twitter, but I feel that it was a good block,’” Siva said Friday at the NBA Draft Combine. “’I saw how mad you were afterwards. I just walked to the free throw line, sunk my two free throws and went about the game. Afterwards, I was going to tell you, but you looked a little upset so I was going to leave it at that.’”
Siva, who was measured at 6-1 in sneakers, was the day’s most engaging character. Burke is rated to go far ahead of him when the NBA draft takes place June 27. Siva wasn't a lock to be drafted but may have played his way into the picture. He has individual workouts scheduled with teams, but at the combine only the Detroit Pistons requested a 30-minute sitdown interview with Siva.
Siva also broke up the room in laughter talking about the horse that Louisville coach Rick Pitino named after him and his teammates. Pitino had a horse, Goldencents, in the Kentucky Derby. Luke Hancock, Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng also had horses with their names thanks to Pitino. Dieng is a lanky 6-10 center/forward who also is part of this draft class, and his horse was fitting. Dieng has a wingspan of 7 feet and 3.5 inches.
“I do have a horse named after me. Siva won one race and lost two,” Siva said. “He’s a slow starter. He picks up at the end. He started all of them off slow. In one he started off dead last. After we played Syracuse that day we watched him race. … He got Russ. But Russ got traded. He sold Russ. I think he has Luke now and Gorgui. Gorgui is a tall horse that sleeps all day. I’m dead serious. You guys think I’m kidding.”