"All teams learn a lot, but this team learned the value of hard work and what teammates and friends can do for you. They learned to believe that anything is possible. Those are things you have to learn."
Gillispie complimented Marquette for outplaying UK even though senior Joe Crawford had 35 points and Ramel Bradley, UK's other senior, had 19 points.
"We have had our share of luck. Or maybe it was not as much luck as it was smart play," Gillispie said. "But they had guys that were hard to defend. Our defense has been fantastic the last half of the season, but today it was not as good and part of that was Marquette not letting it be as good.
"But this game says a lot about the heart and determination these guys have. Whatever it takes, they make it happen. How did they do it? I really didn't always know."
Gillispie said his team wanted to win the NCAA championship even though it was only a No. 11 seed.
"They came here to win the tourney," the UK coach said. "We were going to try and win six games. Nobody thought we would be in (the tourney). Nobody thought we would go 12-4 in the SEC. How did you do this or that? They just would not take no for an answer.
"When you are that competitive, you figure out ways to win. That's the way all my teams play. They rarely have a game get away."
Gillispie shed a few tears himself after the game.
"It is a devastated locker room. I don't like seeing a loser's locker room, but there are no losers in there," Gillispie said.
Gillispie believes that UK has everything needed to win another national title in the future.
"It's been proven over time. And they've won a lot of them, and, hopefully, we'll win some more. You have great fans, unbelievable fans," Gillispie said. "I've not seen a greater effort from a group of fans to be able to help you as much as they helped us when they definitely knew that we needed the help.
"You have a great administration that understands the importance that it has not only on the school and to the players, but to an entire state and to the Big Blue nation. And it means everything to them. And they're going to give you a chance as a coach to do whatever it takes within the rules to attain the greatest level of success."
Gillispie made it sound like he truly feels this is now his new home.
"I'm a basketball person 24 hours a day. I love it. I couldn't - there's never a place that you could ever see that, in my opinion, that I could ever have any greater feeling for because no matter what the situation was our fans were awesome to me," Gillispie said. "And they were awesome to these players. I've never seen anything like it in my life.
"That's no disrespect to anywhere else I've been. It's just you are a special person if you are associated with Kentucky basketball. If you are a player at Kentucky, you are the most special person in the world. And they're going to give you the benefit of the doubt over and over and over and over. So for a basketball nut like myself, I don't think it could get any better."