Maybe UK is just too good…
With UK’s suffering record this year, everyone’s excuse is that they’re a young team. They absolutely are, but that’s exactly what John Calipari has wanted all along. Coach Cal brings in wonderful players with an immense amount of talent and people fully expect them to go to the NBA at the conclusion of their freshmen year. This makes UK look great. Not only having players drafted in general, but also having players typically drafted very high in the first couple rounds. As good as all of this is, it also means that it’s basically a brand new team and they are required to rebuild every season. One problem with this method is that the high ranked recruits all come into the program expecting to be the star, just like they had been in high school. These guys are young, the majority of them are the same age as I am, and I have to sympathize with the fact that it has got to be hard to feel the pressure of needing to live up to the expectations that the Big Blue Nation places on their athletes. However, I believe that if this team could start feeding more off of each other’s talents, they could truly be unstoppable.
Julius Randle keeping the peace
As we all know, John Calipari, as good of a coach as he is, can have a little bit of a temper that is displayed on the sideline when he doesn’t like the call made by the referee. Saturday night, in the first half of the game against South Carolina, Coach Calipari was displaying that signature temper from the sideline, which resulted in him receiving a technical. I do agree with what he was saying when he was fighting with the ref about the Gamecock players being all over Julius Randle, but I don’t think that his technical helped his team. Super hero, Julius Randle, came to the rescue Saturday when he held back his coach and kept him from getting yet another technical foul called by tonight’s referees. Despite the missed calls and missed fouls on Randle, his game play didn’t seem to be suffering and it’s impossible not to see this young man’s talent and very hard not to be proud of the maturity he displayed.
Until quite recently, the Kentucky boys on this basketball team hadn’t gotten much game time. But have you ever watched them on the sideline? Regardless of how many minutes of playing time either of them have, in most cases, Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood display their enthusiasm and love of the game, even from the bench. The state of Kentucky is proud of these two seniors and loves having them on the team. They are two of the most excited players as they are playing Division 1 basketball for their home team. It is an incredible opportunity for both men and it seems they are very happy to be University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Loss of a coach, but gain of a game
John Calipari’s ejection from the game Saturday night may have made some people believe that the game was over, but those people would have been wrong. Without Calipari on the sideline, this team definitely turned up the intensity. That may have been because they felt less pressure without him in the coach’s box, or it could’ve been because these young men decided they wanted to win it for him. Regardless of the reason, the situation lit a fire under these men, which they may not have had in different circumstances. No matter the end result, it turned into a game near the end and it’s hard not to recognize how well they played.
“Proud of the guys for not giving up but we all have to figure out what do we each have to do to get this team right. We have to continue to believe in ourselves and each other and know that our fans are fighting with us.” -John Calipari tweeted after the game against South Carolina
If we want them to stay…
Aaron Harrison said in an interview after the game Saturday that not only does Kentucky still have the chance to do something special, but also he still claims “it’s going to be a great story.” It’s great to see that the young guys on this team still have faith in what it can become, and hopefully so do many others after seeing how they played the end of the game against South Carolina. Cameron Mills, former UK basketball player, tweeted after the game some great input about the fact that we are expecting 18 and 19 year old freshman to act like grown men and live up to the expectations of thousands of people. It’s easy to see that no part of that is fair for them. Fans need to be careful of how much pressure we put on these young athletes. If we want to keep them here, we need to act like we want them to stay.
“If they had come in and just been a young, rebuilding team, we would all be much more patient and looking forward to next year. So do that! It’s not their fault that they are 18-19 year olds. No Kentucky team has ever been this young and done anything special. Support these kids! Don’t think 3-4 of these freshmen are going to leave yearly. We want them to stay so let’s treat them like we want them to stay. Stop being so disappointed in 18-year-old men who just learned to drive cars 2 years ago. They will learn.” -Tweet from Cameron Mills after the game Saturday