Good morning Big Blue Nation!!! It’s game day so RISE!!! Yes, yes I know we’re a 6 point dog to the Gators, even though we’ve lost two (2) games at Rupp since Calipari’s arrival, but I’m choosing to be optimistic on Senior Day. Do I think we’ll win? I usually think we will and today isn’t any different. Tip is at Noon on CBS so be sure to tune in. In case you think fact that this final game IS our season is lost on the coaches or the team, you’ve got another thing coming.
In an article by Eric Lindsey on coachcal.com, we hear from Coach Cal and a few members of the team, two of which (Julius Mays and Twany Beckham) will be playing their final game tomorrow.
As we continue the march to fight the Gators at Rupp tomorrow, some of the UK players had some very telling and honest comments that give us some insight into their psyche. The great thing is that none of the players have given up. The bad thing is they’ve waited until their team is on the outside looking in at the NCAA to decide to not give up.
Alex Poythress on if Kentucky has time to make a turnaround: “There’s always time. There’s always time until the fat lady stops singing.”
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonRivals) March 8, 2013
Alex Poythress: “I’m probably disappointed in myself, because I do feel like I could give more effort out there.” — Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 8, 2013
Mays: “It’s do or die for us. The guys that haven’t bought in, they’re going to have to hate me after tomorrow.” — Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 8, 2013
Though we haven’t had too many “seniors” to send off for the final game at Rupp since Calipari arrived, Mays and Beckham are so very appreciative of the opportunity to have suited up in the Blue and White. Unfortunately it appears that Beckham had his senior moment in the game against Mississippi State.
Most senior moments last a little longer than a handful of seconds during two free throws four games before the end of the season, but for Twany Beckham, that’s exactly what his moment was reduced to. “I didn’t think I’d be able to go into the game,” Beckham said Friday before his Senior Day game against Florida. “I didn’t know if I’d ever step on the court again with my injury.” A nagging back injury that led to surgery in January has kept Beckham off the court the rest of the season, but it didn’t make his bear hug with John Calipari in the final seconds of the Mississippi State game or his career any less memorable. The standing ovation he received against his former school as he checked in and then checked back out in between free throws was a moment he said he will never forget. “Coach knew that against Florida, our last game of the season, would be a game we really needed,” Beckham said. “He wasn’t sure that I would be able to get in game at that time, so he wanted to see if I wanted to get into the game one last time, so I agreed to.” Not everything has gone according to plan for Beckham this season, but the Louisville native wouldn’t take anything back from his time at Kentucky as he gets ready for Senior Day against Florida (Saturday at noon on CBS). He scored his first career UK points in the Lafayette game and saw a season-high nine minutes against Eastern Michigan. “I still feel like I made the right decision,” Beckham said. “I had my opportunities. I’ve always worked hard and injuries just kind of held me back.”
Mays remained relatively injury free and has made significant contributions to the team with his offense, defense, and tenacity on the ball. He clearly kept us in some games this year.
After transferring from Wright State, Mays was hoping to take a leap from the mid-major level and help the Cats on a second consecutive title run as one of the lone veterans on Coach Cal’s youngest team to date. Barring a late-season turnaround, those ambitions look like they could fall short, but it hasn’t been from a lack of effort from Mays. The graduate student has averaged 9.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists during his only year at UK, including some outstanding performances at vital times for the young Wildcats. “We would struggle (without him),” Calipari said. Though UK’s team goals may not come to fruition, “Uncle Julius” evolved into the veteran piece that everyone hoped he would be. That role couldn’t have been more evident than his 24-point standout game against Missouri after the team had lost Nerlens Noel to a season-ending injury just three games earlier. Needing a big win to bolster the Cats’ postseason résumé, Mays lifted the Cats with clutch 3-pointers and key overtime free throws. “I’ve done the best I can and hopefully I get a warm welcome or a standing ovation,” Mays said of what he expects Saturday.