Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mass Leviticus

I feel the need to throw my two cents in about the offseason happenings of the UK basketball team. And I think I'm more entitled than any on the subject, so let me rant.

Starting at the ending ... you are NOT allowed to feel any negative emotion whether anger or disappointment or anything else about our five underclassmen leaving. John Wall. Demarcus Cousins. Patrick Patterson. Eric Bledsoe. Daniel Orton. All gone.

Daniel is gone after a year with dominating averages of 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in ... 13.2 minutes. But guess what? He's gonna be a top 15 draft pick, maybe even to his home team of the Oklahoma City Thunder to play on the most talented up-and-coming squad in the league. I'm willing to put money on the fact that Daniel will shatter his college freshman averages easily with his NBA rookie averages. He's as nice a kid as you'll ever meet, his basketball I.Q. is off the charts, and he's already in California training to perfect his conditioning for his already NBA-size body. Sure, he would have killed next season in the NCAA as our primary offensive weapon while already being a defensive juggernaut, but there are no guarantees in the sporting world when it comes to health, money, or location an entire year down the road. With how much the scouts loved Orton and the kinds of strides he made late in the season with the little playing time he received, he had to go to the draft. He's now a millionaire and an immediate contributor for an NBA team, eclipsing all of his freshman shortcomings. Root for him. Or else you're a jerk. He was still gonna frickin' come to our school when Billy G was our frickin' coach!!!

And Eric's a completely different story. Eric needed to go for his and our mental health this upcoming season. Don't underestimate the power of tight-knit friendship with a teenager who was uprooted from his home state and planted in the most publicly scrutinized athletic program in America. All the talk last preseason, if you remember that far back, was about "The Three Amigos". John, Boogie, and Eric hit it off immediately on campus after getting to know each other through different high school all-star games and all uniting under the new UK Calipari regime. E is a pretty quiet and introverted guy, and while he may be able to connect with some other teammates closer and kill it on the court as a sophomore next year, I'm just saying that he probably wouldn't enjoy himself as much and that could create an issue with his psyche. Who knows if he would mesh as well in the backcourt with Brandon Knight as he did with John? I have a feeling that his NBA stock would probably be higher after this year as a top 20-pick (and the 2nd point guard prospect) than it would be if he'd stayed additional seasons. So it's pretty much a no-brainer that he should follow the two other amigos. Don't look down on the kid for that.

The 2009-2010 season left so many incomparable memories for all the UK fans in the world, especially the younger ones like me. I was only 8 when we got our second title in three years with Coach Pitino and Tubby. So, sure, I had the autographed Scott Padgett poster in my room, but I wasn't fully enthralled on the day to day happenings of the program like I am today. Now I'm blessed enough to live in the same dorm as these instantly legendary UK guys who are about to blow up the NBA. I'll never forget Eric seemingly incapable of missing a jump shot against Indiana, Florida, and East Tennessee. I'll never forget Demarcus becoming a completely different basketball entity altogether after nearly single-handedly losing the Cancun Challenge for us, all culminating in that beautiful 0.1 tip-in to send the SEC Championship game into overtime. I'll never forget the worries of if Pat would be able to fit into Coach's new offense, only to witness him knock down 24 threes this season and still finish 57.5% from the floor altogether to improve his draft stock. I'll never forget John's debut game-winning jumper or his NC/UCONN dominance or his regular behind-the-back lay-up drives or his undying will to win at all costs. I'll never forget Daniel's step back three pointer to end the Blue-White scrimmage or his 3-block possession against Florida or his hilarious goaltending.

Yeah, we lost to West Virginia in the Elite 8. Yeah, we got three guys graduating, five guys leaving early, and few other huge question marks. But you know what? This was the greatest season I've ever been a part of on a daily basis and I'm perfectly fine accepting it exactly how it happened. Year One of the John Calipari era is over and it's better than I ever could've expected. Our record was 35-3, we broke 2000 wins all-time, and we won the SEC regular season and tournament titles. I don't know about you, but I can appreciate that after two years of Billy G failure while also knowing we're sending five guys into the NBA (including the #1 overall pick) and set to easily reload and compete at an elite level every single year for the foreseeable future. So if you're complaining ... shut up.

... and do the John Wall.

1 comment:

  1. Insightful and I appreciated it. For us older guys this year was a lot of fun, too, but I think some of us are still just wondering if this one-and-done thing is good for college athletics. I'm starting to ask if something like what baseball has would be better where you commit to at least 3 years. And the NBA could still have its one-year limit and use its developmental league for the 1-2 year guys and limit what you pay them and could teach them the things they wanted to teach them rather than some college coach. We'll see, but, for instance, I'll never really have any significant memories of Orton as a Wildcat - kind of like nobody really thinks much of Rashad Carruth as a Wildcat. I don't blame the guys at all; I'm just wondering if we need a better set-up.


so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?