What a year (pre-game thoughts)

First off, I’m getting tired of the Davis hype. I’m ready for Unibrow to head off to the NBA, and leave college basketball fans alone. Yes, he’s a good player. Dookie V even told us all that he’s got room to grow as a player…and he hasn’t reached his limit. That’s good, because his college basketball career is over in less than 24 hours. And that, my son, is why he’ll never crack the list of “greatest college players ever” list in my mind. He’s a one-and-done. Playing against (mostly) SEC competition (ooooooh….ahhhhh…..I’m amazed), and sure he got better, but he’ll never be great. If I’m him, I hope he’s worth the hype, and stays away from injuries, because there’s some big boys in the NBA. Calipari has done very well with his model to recruit these players, but I’m happy we do it (mostly) a different way.

For instance, Terrance Jones. I have never seen a person that seemingly hates to play Basketball more than he does. Maybe I’m just old, but I love to see players smile, laugh, and have fun on the court. Scowling and pouting and the rest can be done in practice. Sometimes it just makes me that that’s what drives Jones isn’t love for the game, but macho-hate at everything. Yes, some might call it “fiery intensity”, but it’s not that. Fire is alive. It’s not good or bad, just alive. House fires….almost all bad. Wildfires, dangerous, and almost always completely bad (Yes, I know, it was a part of the ecosystem before we pale-faces invaded this land, and we screwed it all up anyway. Doesn’t matter, we eventually invented basketball, which makes up for it). But what about campfires? They’re mostly good. Cooking fires, bonfires, and that fire in your furnace that keeps the house warm while you watch KU? All good stuff. He’s got no “good” in that intensity, it’s all hate. Maybe that’s what has fueled him to be such a talented player, but me….I’ll take Elijah any day, because that dude has a smile that makes you know he loves to play the game.

And now, the media coverage. I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of reading how good this UK team is. I get it. I’m tired of hearing how KU always just “barely” wins. I know this….I’ve watched the games. So, tell me something new, something interesting. I’ve been waiting for a full year for any major news outlet to report that one of KU’s “X-factors” (which is about the most craptastic term I’ve ever heard for a role-player that plays their role….someone needs to be shot for inventing it), uh….long tangent….I was at…yes…one of KU’s “X-factors” is EJ. Like his name never came up in the last 5 years. Like he wasn’t rated/graded higher as a recruit than T-Rob. So why is it stunning when he makes plays we all know he can make? Now, don’t get me wrong, I cheer pretty damn hard whenever he does something awesome (which is fairly often, even if he just locks down on D). But, why is it that he’s suddenly an “X-Factor” out of no-where, that no-one in College Basketball has heard of, when his “Scout Grade” was 95??? He’s just this enigma that walked in, right? Not like he was thought of as the 6th best guard in the country at the time he was recruited…and waited his turn….and learned, and maybe THAT’S why he’s making the plays now. I have yet to read a single story where someone has called him “patient, able to learn, physically talented, and is being “groomed” to be a great, instead of good, player next year (relative terms, as he’s a starter on a team in the NC game). No one takes the angle where they do research, and let you know something new. It’s all about what ESPN or wrote in their 20 minutes before lunch. Man, we’re down to TWO teams. There’s more to focus on than what the other dude wrote…and it pisses me off. It makes me die inside when I think, “this is what they teach in the “amazing” journalism school at Misery”. Between Bristol and Columbia, I’m beginning to think that although we have more coverage now, it’s only diluted…but not with water, with septic fluids.

I read tonight that it’s MKG vs. Releford, and that’s a “dominant win” for UK at that position. Why? Because MKG can shut Trevor’s offense down, and Trevor can’t defend that well. Again, I almost cried when I read that (and later got pissed, because I closed the tab and lost the link). My god people…Travis might be our best “utility” defender. He can guard small, he can guard bigger (maybe not biggest), but he’s really, really good at lockdown defending. And yeah, he’s not Trevor. I got no beef with Trevor, he’s one of the best players on his team, but Travis is on MY team, and if he does end up guarding MKG, I think he’s gonna do just fine.

I think we all need to realize that we played some great teams to get here. Detroit was “NBA talented”. Purdue was…well…an amazing team with a great storyline to them. NC State was the trendy pick against us, as they were hot (until the second half). UNC, well, they’ve got all spring and summer to talk about how they “could have” won. But they didn’t. OSU we’d already beaten….but they didn’t have Sullinger, and of course they were better than we were….oops….apparently not. I’m saying, these were all quality teams. Not a dud in the bunch….but KU still won. I would like to take this time, right now, to give a big shout out to all the teams and fans we’ve played (except for one team….they whom shall not be named), and say it was always well fought, and thanks.

Kentucky beat some good teams too. KU also beat some of those teams, and lost to a few of them as well. But…when the chips fall, everyone out there is saying that it’s UK’s game to lose. It’s never KU’s game to win. I’m saying right here, and right now, that KU can win this game. UK can play as well as they’re capable of, but if KU plays defense like they’re able to, for at least 30 minutes, and plays smart on offense (with any luck at all, which we have NOT had on O. This team has shot like high-schoolers for the last 3 weeks), I think we’re as good as Kentucky on the floor. Of course, if we lose, I probably won’t set fire to my couch. If we win, I probably won’t set fire to my couch. I’ve been a KU fan for some time now….and we’ve won, and we’ve lost. Been there, done that….don’t need to make a fool of myself (and yes, that’s a jab at UK fans….the “riot” was such a poor display of idiocy that I think everyone who supports that team should be embarrassed).

And back to HCBS. There’s not a coach in the country I want leading this team anymore. I’m well over Roy, don’t care how much Larry B hangs out, and I’m not even that concerned that Danny is leaving. (People forget that Self CAN coach bigs….and has….and I don’t think we’ll see an enormous drop-off in development. I think Danny is a bonus, and he is a great coach, but he’s not head coach, and I wish him well, will root for him, but he’s not going to derail KU by leaving.) HCBS finds a way. Now, when HCBS decides he’s had enough, then I’ll worry. Until then, it’s gonna be a nice ride.

Finally….the result. Don’t get me wrong, I want KU to win this game. I’m gonna be rooting with all my heart for this win. But win or lose, I think we’ve had the best ride of the season for any team. This is a special group of players that has given us a big gift as fans. I have appreciated every minute of it, and can’t wait to see what they can do tomorrow (now today). Okay, there’s one way we could lose. Our players can “give up”. But, it won’t happen, and they will find a way.

(If the score says something else, eh…whatever. We still had a season UK would dream to have).

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