The Lexington Times: Seven times to be exact. Seven times the Kent..."/>
The Lexington Times: Seven times to be exact. Seven times the Kent..."/>

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball:Number 8 Looms Large


The Lexington Times: Seven times to be exact. Seven times the Kentucky Wildcats have stood atop the mountain that is the NCAA Championship. And don’t blink, because number eight is just around the corner.

Yeah, I know. You can’t win it all when all of your players leave every year. You can’t win with freshmen, you can’t win with a coach who is more concerned with his players than he is his program. Bull Butter. If you can see something in your mind, if you can make out a plan to accomplish that goal, and you have the resources to do it then you are already there, you just have to complete the paperwork. John Calipari is one his way. The pieces are in place, the atmosphere couldn’t be better, and right now, the world needs something in a feel good story to hang their hats on. See, someone once said that Americans love an underdog, and it is very true. And right now, believe it or not, the experts see us as the underdogs. They know that no one can win it all the way we are trying to do it, and they know that history usually repeats itself.

So, why am I so convinced that we are about to celebrate number eight here in the Bluegrass? Simple. It’s time. I don’t mean to imply that we are due, or we have suffered without a NC long enough now that we deserve one, au contraire’. We have more than most, and we have enjoyed success more than we probably should, because we do tend to beat the odds every now and then. But this is about more than that, this is about hard work, preparation, research, and time. Coach Cal has put together a team that has few chinks in it’s armor. You can call the youth and inexperience the big factor, but I think that myth is fading fast. Yes, 25 years ago, freshmen were freshmen, and coaches were nervous, but that is no longer the norm. Calipari has reinvented the college basketball world and he has used very young players to do it. And in the process he has changed the game at more levels than just college.

In 2008 the average age of an NBA player was just under 27, and that player had just under 5 years of experience. The 1972 L.A.Lakers had three starters aged 38,36,and 34 (Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Jerry West). Face it folks, these kids are ready sooner, and they want it all yesterday. John Calipari has helped usher that era into college as well. No kid wants to hear that they are going to sit for at least a year or maybe more anymore. They want the ball in their hands and they want to see Sportscenter highlights to prove it. And Kentucky is where they want to be. Every major young talent out there is now looking at Lexington and saying to themselves, “I can see myself playing there”. We have more talent suiting up in Wildcat Blue now than at any one point in history. That is going to lead to the Championship Banner folks working overtime in the Bluegrass.

1992-2003 was the most exciting time in UK Basketball in my lifetime. Every year the Cats were right there, knocking on the door, waiting for it to open. And it did open on two occasions. Now we have begun a new chapter as the next renaissance in UK History is upon us. I love the fact that I am here to see this up close and personal. When my kids are my age, they will be able say that they were around for this time. I remember the 1978 season like it was yesterday. But there was not as much access in those days. No one on one with the kids like nowadays. So this time I am going to pay close attention to each and every detail, and I suggest you do the same, because #8 is right around the corner, and you wouldn’t want to miss this one.

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