Rod Strickland has taken a long, meandering route to the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, from Truman High in the Bronx to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., to DePaul University in Chicago and to eight N.B.A. teams in 17 seasons.
For the last five years, Strickland has been looking at the game as an assistant to Coach John Calipari, first at Memphis and this season at Kentucky.
Along with Baylor and Butler, Strickland is one of the great stories of the tournament. His is a story of maturity and development, of mistakes and overcoming them, and of making the best of a golden opportunity.