ATLANTA -- Roy Williams ended his 14th season at Kansas just like the first 13 -- in tears.
There was no shame for Williams, though, in losing or showing his emotions.
"Guys make fun of me this time of year because I'm crying," Williams said after Kansas' second-half comeback fell short in a 97-88 loss to Maryland in the NCAA semifinals.
But Williams said it was "dadgum right" of him to cry, not because he still doesn't have a national championship, but "because these kids mean something to me." The team finished 33-4, including 16-0 in the Big 12 regular season, and was ranked No. 1 for four weeks.
"Yeah, it hurts," he said. "I hurt for the players. I don't hurt one iota for Roy Williams."
As the seconds ticked away in Kansas' season Saturday night, senior guard Jeff Boschee realized it was the last time he would wear a Jayhawks uniform.
"Your season may be over, but you should be proud of what you did," he said. "You really don't realize how fast it goes until it is over."
Williams' regard for this Kansas team has been summed up in one word: "trust."
When junior forward Nick Collison suggested shortening practices, Williams trusted that Collison -- a coach's son -- knew what he was talking about, and cut back the workouts.
"I wouldn't have done that two years ago," Williams said earlier in March. "But this is a mature team, and I trust this team."
Williams also trusted Aaron Miles enough to make him Kansas' starting point guard as a freshman. Before long, Miles was playing as if he were a senior.
He had 12 points and 10 assists against Maryland, and his aggressive defense late in the second half helped Kansas cut a 20-point deficit to four points before Maryland finally pulled away.
"I told my guys to believe that we could come back," Williams said. "I don't think anyone believed it more than Aaron Miles."
But then again, Kansas made a habit of impressing Williams this year, despite its season-opening defeat to Ball State and a lackluster loss to UCLA in the middle of its conference season.
"This bunch was a heck of a basketball team, and they took old Roy for a really good ride," he said. "I'd have liked to have gone a couple more days, but they took me for a great ride."
The Jayhawks could go on another ride next season.
Boschee, the Big 12's all-time leading 3-point shooter, is gone. So are backup forward Jeff Carey and a handful of bit players: guards Lewis Harrison and Brett Ballard, and forwards Todd Kappelmann and Chris Zerbe.
But guard Kirk Hinrich (14.8 ppg) will rejoin Collison (15.8 ppg, 8.3 rebounds a game) and Miles in the starting lineup.
Two other freshmen -- swingman Keith Langford and forward Wayne Simien -- were key players this season. Each averaged about 8 points and played well in the tournament.
Only All-America forward Drew Gooden's future is uncertain. He led Kansas in scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounding (11.5 rpg) and earned co-Player of the Year honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Before Saturday night, the 6-foot-11 junior was expected to leave early for the NBA, and Gooden did nothing to discourage the speculation. But after his performance against Maryland, he hinted he might return to school.
Gooden finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, but he also had three shots blocked and didn't break into double figures until hitting two 3-pointers late in the game.
"It will be a tough decision," Gooden said. "No one wants their college career to end like this. I will have to look at it and deal with it and make a decision later."