Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Photobombs and invisible friends propel team to perfection

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Even though the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team has destroyed several ranked teams in their out of conference schedule, they still have critics in their pursuit for perfection.   The Wildcat’s path through the SEC would not be a challenge, but the Wildcats greatest enemy would be themselves. And almost immediately, the absurd predictions that Calipari could not coach this much talent began.  After beating Louisville and sweeping through their tough pre-season slate, the talk continued.

The platoon system would result in unhappy players. Players would be upset about having to earn minutes. John Calipari would not be able to keep everyone happy. There would be transfers and gnashing of teeth. And that is just from Jeff Goodman and Rob Dauster.  In August.  Three months before the regular season.

Even if these issues were resolved, this team would crack under the pressure. They would become robotic and stiff and not able to handle the pressure of the burdens placed upon them by the craziest fanbase in the nation.  The pressure to go undefeated would crush this team and worst of all, these players would not have fun playing under these expectations.

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If we recall, the whole issue of Kentucky Wildcats Basketball players not having fun has been a continual theme among certain media members ever since John Calipari arrived in Lexington.  I don’t know why Calipari has been singled out for this.  We don’t see stories about whether Duke, North Carolina, or Louisville players are having fun, but apparently Kentucky basketball is such a grind, it is a mandate that the players have fun.

And Calipari has addressed this.  During his season in the brink in 2013, he blew off practice and had his team, which was coming off the Nerlens Noel injury, play an impromptu game of dodgeball.

"But Kentucky went a different path instead. On the night before the Wildcats would face off against Vanderbilt, Coach Cal organized a massive dodgeball game between the coaches and players. The playground game was an attempt to ease the anxiety of the team before the season’s homestretch. “This isn’t life or death or we’d have died twice already,” he saidin a clip that appeared on “After they were done, I said, ‘why don’t you go on the basketball court and have that much fun playing basketball.'”"

And at times this year, it seemed as if Kentucky may be on the verge of cracking under the pressure.  This team blew a 13 point second half lead against LSU and were down 4 points with 4:00 left.  The LSU charge was keyed by a silly technical on Karl-Anthony-Towns who was hanging on the rim after a dunk.  Calipari removed Towns from the game and laid into him on the bench as the Tigers made their charge.

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The tongue lashing was brutal and severe and went on for minutes.  Instead of sulking, Towns came back in and dominated the rest of the game and was the main reason Kentucky outscored the Tigers 6-0 down the stretch to stay undefeated.  And in the midst of that relief, came perhaps the one singular moment that may have turned this teams attitude around and prepared them for the stretch run to perfection.

After the game, Calipari was still livid and was bashing Towns to the ESPN reporter when the single greatest and most awkward photo bomb occurred. (click on the lower right hand corner for the sound)