For most college basketball fans, the anticipation continues to grow for the approaching Selection Sunday and the onset of that phenomenon known as March Madness. For those of us who fall into the category of University of Kentucky basketball fans, it is beginning to look more and more like another round of March Sadness.
For the Wildcats, it would have to be very difficult to top last year’s NIT debacle at Robert Morris, but this “heralded” squad seems to be intent on some kind of encore performance.This group of supposed NBA talent read far too many of those 40-0 press clippings in the pre-season and it went to their head. Personally, I don’t see any NBA talent on the roster based on their performances this season.
First off, this team has not shown any level of maturity necessary to make a run at a national championship. I have watched a whole lot of high school games this season and I cannot recall seeing any high school players whining and crying like this present group of Wildcats. Every call that goes against them, you see the shoulders shrugging and the arms extended arms in the “are you serious’ mode. The Harrison twins are the worst, seeming to think that every official’s whistle is a direct assaults on their character. Perhaps if they didn’t try to drive through a horde of defenders and throw up some of the craziest shots on record-boys you aren’t in high school any more.
This team also just does not play very smart. Witness the ridiculous lob attempt near the end of last week’s Arkansas game when the team was attempting to run out the clock and win in regulation.The team’s shot selection is horrendous and add that to the fact that they can’t shoot anyway and it’s a bad mix. I think they go by the Allen Iverson theory-they passed it back to me, guess I have to shoot it. It hasn’t been hard to tell that Coach Cal is at his wit’s end, culminating in his ejection last Saturday at South Carolina. I’m guessing he wanted to get thrown out so he didn’t have to suffer through watching any more of that pitiful effort.
On top of their shooting woes, this team is absolutely miserable from the free throw line. I continually watch high school and even junior high kids step to the line and hit shot after shot but these future NBA stars can’t make an uncontested shot from 15 feet away. Check the scorebooks folks, free throws decide games and if I was coaching against UK I’d just use every foul I had available and send them to the stripe all night.
All of the UK haters, and they seem to crawl out of the woodwork in times like these, point to Coach Cal and his “one and done” teams as what is wrong with college basketball. You won’t get any argument from me there. I despise the “one and done” approach but at the same time understand that is has become the way to supposedly win quick in the world of the NCAA. The 2012 UK team is the argument for the “one and done” working, but as I have reminded people over and over, that team had something else, a certain intangible named Darius Miller. Just look back at how Miller stepped us as a senior during tournament time and set the example. Who does that for this year’s team?
You can’t blame the “one and done” issue on John Calipari, or Julius Randle, or Jabari Parker, or Andrew Wiggins. Blame it on the policies of the NBA. If the NBA would just change their age limit to 21, then these All-Americans might have to stick around campus for awhile, soak up the college life, and maybe get something close to an education. Of course, all that pales in comparison to a million dollar NBA contract. It seems logical that the NBA Players Association would want to keep these young guys out as long as possible to keep them from replacing the current members of the union, but I will readily admit that I don’t understand all the politics that goes into those decisions.
I know that my readers know that this column came from the mind of a die-hard UK fan, but don’t fret. I am not cleaning out my closet and throwing away 75% of my clothing, which happens to be blue and white. I’m not going to jump off any bridges just because this UK team is just not very good and has issues which are probably impossible to be dealt with at this point. Actually, I hope that the Cats make me eat every word that I have written. I am still going to bleed blue, but it looks like I might be bleeding a whole lot more of it this March. Hope still springs eternal in Lexington.