I have to admit that I was wrong about this Kentucky basketball team. I still hate the one and done rule and stand by everything I’ve said about it. It is bad for college basketball. I will admit, though that I was wrong about this group of one and doners.
I didn’t think they had the ability or desire to play as a team. I didn’t think they cared about winning at the college level. I thought they saw this as just an audition for the NBA and nothing else mattered to them. I never questioned that they were talented. I never questioned that they were good kids. I questioned their desire to play as a team and win at the college level. I was still wrong.
It took a while for it to all come together, but it has. They have become a team. They are showing desire to win. They are working very hard to move on in the tournament. I admit I was wrong about them and I’ve never been happier to so wrong.
Anyone who has been paying attention to college basketball this year is aware that the UK basketball team has been struggling this year and are on the wrong side of the bubble going into the last game of the regular season. What’s worse is that on top of the struggles, they are not a fun team to watch and people are growing frustrated with the perceived lack of effort on the part of some of the players. Last night, this resulted in many complaints about the team on Twitter followed by complaints about “fair-weather fans”. I don’t think these complaints make someone a fair-weather fan and I admit that I was one of the complainers(shocking, I know).
A fair-weather fan is not someone who complains when the team is struggling. A fair-weather fan is someone who stops watching the games when things go bad. A fair-weather fan is someone who jumps ship and starts cheering for another team who has a better chance of winning. The refusal to speak of the obvious shortcomings of a team does not make you a better fan than those who speak loudly about them. Personally, I think the real fan is the one who wants the team to play their best and won’t just sit back and accept an inferior product without complaint.
My history as a fan speaks for itself. I was a huge Braves fan in the ’80s when they were the worst team in baseball. People used to laugh at me for being a Braves fan. I was eventually rewarded with a team that consistently made the playoffs and won a World Series. I was at most UK home games during the down years at the end of the Sutton and the beginning of the Pitino era. I remained a fan during the Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie years. I paid for ESPN Full Court to watch games on TV and attended games whenever I could over Christmas. My son has been to multiple UK basketball camps with both Gillispie and Calipari and we both attended a father/son camp under Gillispie(he didn’t make me sit in a toilet stall, but probably should have). I think I have earned to right to complain without my fanhood being called into question.
I will be in front of the TV at noon tomorrow watching the game. I hope it is a more pleasant experience than the last few. I hope I have nothing to complain about. I might rant on Twitter if they play poorly and then I will be back in front of the TV for the SEC tournament and any other postseason games they play. Also, as much as I complain about the effort of some players, I will follow their NBA careers and hope they do well at the next level.
Fair weather fan? I don’t think so.
I’m tired of reading all of the complaints about the UK players leaving early to go to the NBA. You go to college for one specific reason: to learn what you need to succeed in your chosen profession. Every one of these players came to college with the goal to play in the NBA. In their one(or two) years at UK these players have reached the point where they can succeed in their chosen profession, or at least get payed a lot of money to try. If they are interested in finishing their degree they will have plenty of money and opportunity to do so. If I had been offered millions to quit school and go to work after my freshman hear I would not have hesitated at all in saying yes. I would tell my kid to do the same thing. Their lives are not about entertaining you. It is about what is best for them and their families.
A brief word on the job of a coach: I believe at every level of sports until professional a coaches job is to teach and prepare players for the next level. A coach that wins a lot, but has players who aren’t prepared for the next step in life is a failure. If all of your players are ready to move up or have graduated, you are a success.
I am likely very wrong because I did not pick many major upsets.
First Round upsets – New Mexico St over Indiana, Xavier over Notre Dame, WVU over Gonzaga, Purdue over St. Marys.
Second Round upsets – none
Final 8 – UK v Baylor, MSU v Missouri, Syracuse v FSU, UNC v Kansas
Final 4 – UK, Missouri, FSU, Kansas
Championship – UK over Kansas.
I must be missing a 12 over a 5. I think Harvard over Vandy is the most likely, but couldn’t pull the trigger on picking it. Georgetown will likely lose earlier than I predicted because they always do. Regardless of my picks, with the exception of UK I will be pulling for the upset in every game.
The NCAA took a break from allowing Auburn to pay football players to play and continuing to “investigate” former Duke player Corey Maggette to stick it to UK one more time.
On Monday, August 15 John Calipari will coach the Dominican National team in an exhibition against a group of former UK/current NBA players in Rupp Arena. The UK legends teams was to be coached by Joe B Hall. They were planning to invite any and all former players to return to be honored during the game and hoped to find a TV and radio deal.
The NCAA has decided that this game is OK, but only if there is no affiliation with UK at all. So according to the NCAA:
Joe B Hall can’t coach the legends team
The legends team can’t be called the UK Legends or mention UK at all
The game can’t be on TV or radio
Former UK players can’t be honored as part of the game
Way to go NCAA. I’m sure all of those 16 year old recruits out there would have been unfairly swayed to play for UK if they were able to watch an 82 year old man coach an exhibition game.