GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's been a stressful season for Michigan basketball fans, but the Wolverines are preparing for their sixth-straight appearance in the men's NCAA basketball tournament.
It's very possible no one rides the emotional wave harder than the parents of the players. Kimberly Camp, the mom of Michigan freshman Kobe Bufkin, made that very clear Wednesday.
“A roller coaster. A roller coaster," she told FOX 17.
Those are three words every Michigan fan can relate to. For Camp, though, that stress is balanced with a smile, watching her son play for her favorite team.
“It’s been fun, though," she admitted. "I’m just super proud to watch Kobe out there doing what he loves to do and being ready when his number is called.”
Camp added, “I have a saying that every game has a purpose, like every prayer has an answer. I just feel strongly that he's doing what he's loving to do. It's just fun to watch him.”
Just last year, Bufkin was doing the same thing for Grand Rapids Christian. He finished his high school career with more than 1,000 points, a 2018 District Championship and a McDonald's All-American appearance.
RELATED: 'Dream come true': Kobe Bufkin's mom reflects on his basketball debut with Wolverines
Fast forward to now, and he's averaging double-digit minutes a game for Michigan, helping lead the school he dreamed of attending as a kid to the big dance.
“It’s just been very surreal," said Camp. "I still pinch myself before every game. I still say a huge prayer before every game. Just praying, you know, for victory, no injuries, things like that.”
She added, “It's just, you know, like watching my little seven-year-old out there running back and forth. Just 10, 11 years later.”
Camp said Bufkin's had an amazing support staff along the way. She's been to almost every game herself, and if she couldn't get to one, she always made sure a friend or former coach was there to watch.
Camp said she hasn't been able to talk with Bufkin much this season, but if she had one message for him ahead of Thursday's game, it would be this:
“What I tell them before every game or the last 10 years: 'Play like the world is watching.' That's been our motto for over 10 years. I've told him before every game, 'Play like the world is watching.'"
The Wolverines play the first game of the first round, taking on the 6-seed Colorado St. Rams Thursday at 12:15 p.m.
The game will be played in Indianapolis, but just like you would expect from a mom, Camp said she won't be showing up on time — instead, she plans on getting there more than an hour early to watch her son play.