As we all know by now, the Kentucky Wildcats are not living up to their preseason expectations. In fact, they’re not even close. As a new crop of ultra-talented freshman arrived in Lexington this past summer, everyone started clamoring about how good they would be. Some simply said they were a top-10 team. Others said they would easily win the SEC and compete for a National Championship. And then there was the majority of Kentucky fans who bought in to the hype brought on and encouraged by the media, the players, and even John Calipari himself. Talks of a 9th National Championship and a 40-0 season rang throughout the program and the nation.
Fast forward to the present. It’s March 4, 2014. The Wildcats have two games left in the regular season, are riding a two game losing streak (both to unranked teams), and has an overall record of 21-8. Yes, they are still the 25th ranked team in the country, but these numbers are far from what they were supposed to be. And even worse, Coach Cal seems to be losing control of his team. He seems to be off in a sense. He is not handling the media, the players, or himself like we as Kentucky fans are used to. Some Kentucky fans are even calling for him to be fired (which I must say is absolutely absurd). While all of this may seem true, there has to be something at the root of it all causing it. And that something may have been discovered by Kyle Tucker and Joe B. Hall earlier today.
Joe B said Cal isn’t handling pressure the way he normally does, wondered if his hip problem (that we’ve both heard is bad) isn’t a factor.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 4, 2014
This apparent hip issue is something that has been hidden from the general public and media rather well it appears. In later tweets with fellow fans, Kyle states that he believes Coach Cal has had one hip replaced and needs the other one replaced soon. This pain, which is most likely constant and highly unpleasant, is something that has to take a toll on an individual. It would affect someone’s performance, even if they were sitting at a desk all day and filling out paperwork. Dealing with this pain while trying to make 18- and 19-year old kids into adults, teaching them how to become better athletes and preparing them for the NBA, all while trying to get them to play as a team and make a run for an NCAA Championship cannot be easy at all. In fact, it appears that it is impossible.
So, fellow Kentucky fans. I come here today to present a potential root of the problem. No, it is not an excuse as to why this team is doing so bad in comparison to the preseason expectations. And I’m sure Coach Cal would agree that his hip issues, regardless of how bad it may or may not be, are not an excuse for his drop in coaching level. Have faith in Mr. John Calipari folks. He revived this program with John Wall and Demarcus Cousins, returned us to the Final Four with an unlikely combo of Brandon Knight and Josh Harrellson, and brought back an 8th National Championship with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Everyone has their ups and downs. Every program, every player, and every coach. Don’t lose faith in this team or this coach yet. Something great can still come out of this because no one fights like we do…like Wildcats.