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Villanova celebrates national championship at White House

05/31/2016, 5:00pm EDT
By Stephen Pianovich

President Barack Obama welcomed Villanova head coach Jay Wright and the Wildcats to the White House on Tuesday. (Photo: WhiteHouse.gov)

Stephen Pianovich (@Spianovich)
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Villanova finished off its 2016 NCAA Championship tour on Tuesday, paying a visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and President Barack Obama.

President Obama shared some remarks about the Wildcats, feeling comfortable referring to Daniel Ochefu as “The Chef” and Kris Jenkins as “Big Smoove.”

Villanova head coach Jay Wright also spoke at the ceremony, as his team will be the last college basketball team to visit Obama -- who fills out a bracket each season -- at the White House. Obama was also presented with a special Wildcats jersey, bearing the number “44,” signifying the number of Obama’s presidency.

Obama called Villanova’s run and championship game “one of the best he can remember,” and added the last few seconds against North Carolina “could be a documentary.”

The entire speech can be viewed here; just skip ahead to the 40:15 mark.

Here are some of the other highlights of his speech about the Wildcats:

  • “Welcome to the White House, and I guess it’s the Blue and White House today, because we’re giving it up for the 2016 NCAA Champion, Villanova Wildcats.”
  • “Unfortunately, perhaps the most important ‘Nova grad (in Washington), Dr. Jill Biden, could not be here. I think she maybe teaching. But her husband Joe wanted him to remind me that he picked ‘Nova to win it all. *applause* That’s the kind of wise counsel you rely on from your Vice President. Unfortunately i did not follow that counsel and my bracket was busted.”
  • “We have the best-dressed man in college basketball. The George Clooney of coaches, Jay Wright.”
  • “(Ochefu) also wasn’t afraid to do the little things. He grabbed that mop.”
  • “Josh (Hart), where did you go to school? Sidwell Friends School. My daughter will be graduating from there next week, which makes me cry when I talk about it, so I’m not going to talk about it. But it’s good to see a Sidwell kid do well.”
  • “And then there’s Ryan Archie-dia-con-o. I just sped through that in case I didn’t do that right. Barack Obama is tough, but Arcidacono, there are a lot of vowels in there. So we’re just going to call him “Arch.”
  • “Charles Barkley apparently jumped out of his seat (after Jenkins’ shot). He doesn’t do that too much these days.”

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