Former Arizona Cardinals Coach Dennis Green:
The video above has nothing to do with basketball, but the quote within it does: they are who we thought they were. That’s what critics will say about the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats. Inexperienced freshmen, one and dones, they don’t care about the program, etc. John Calipari just rolls the balls out at practice and let’s them go to work, he can’t coach, he’ll succumb to the pressure from fans and leave, the system doesn’t work. The list goes on.
That’s maybe what some might have said around March 8th, just as Kentucky came off a 19-point loss at the hands of the Florida Gators, a week removed from an inexcusable loss at South Carolina. That two-week stretch had fans scratching their heads, critics running their mouth, and the media questioning Calipari’s tactics.
Fast forward a month to April 8th, and it’s a complete 180 turnaround from where we were. It’s a turn to where people expected us to be at the start of this season: contending for a national title. Yes, we had seven freshmen on the court with no experience. But Calipari has done it before, and this year he did it again. He molded these young men into a team. A team that took the Big Blue Nation on an unforgettable ride. There were some tough wins, and tough losses. But those tough games throughout the regular season set the stage for March, and whether or not some people stopped to believe in this team, they still believed in themselves to succeed.
Now, a month after that crazy two-week stretch, these Clutch Cats brought us another crazy two-week stretch. One in which they sacrificed for each other on the court in order to get better. They showed everyone what they were capable of all along. Before the season, we said that this team had so much potential to reach. They reached pretty high. Now, fans have their heads held up high, the critics have been quiet, and the media is praising Calipari for a job well done. They are who we though they were. They played like champs.