Thursday, April 8, 2010

Memories of the Way We Were

Please disregard Jon Hood.

Yes it has been official since last night. I knew that the news was coming sooner than later but I didn't think that it would have been that soon. I thought that the official draft declaration would have come after this weekend. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton are all going pro and there is nothing that we can do about it. Patrick Patterson has yet to sign an agent or file the proper paper work, but I think it is just a matter of time before he does.

Watching this Kentucky team play was one of the most fun I have had watching a UK team in a long, long time. The flashy, brash, uptempo and lightning quick play of these Cats is something that the fans have not seen much of since the Pitino era. We were stuck with "Tubby Ball" for years, an effective yet boring style of basketball that was as much about defense as it was offense. There wasn't the fast break emphasis that this team executed, or the exciting lob passes for dunks, or the freedom to let players control parts of the game.

Then there was the Gilispie era. I can't really describe the offense or the game plan because, frankly, I don't think anybody can, including the coach. The best way I can describe is with the phrase, "My way or the highway." If a player did not follow to a T what the coach wanted or if the player made one mistake they sat the bench. In one game he told Jodie Meeks to stop shooting. That's right. The best scorer on the team wasn't allowed to score because it didn't fit into what the coach wanted to do. It looked as if the players were in handcuffs at times.

In honor of this years team I would like to take the time and let everybody know what my favorite moment was from each player as the year went on:

John Wall: My favorite John Wall moment came when he scrapped for a ball in the SEC championship game off of a bad inbounds pass, came up with the ball and then layed it in for a score. It showed the tenacious defense that Wall could implement at times as well as his undying will to win. This stands out to me over all of he fantastic dunks and assists. The will of a player to defeat his opponent as he had done so many times before.

DeMarcus Cousins: Ahhhhhh, Boogie. There are so many to choose from. The Swopshire elbow, driving the court coast to coast like a point guard to lay it in, the telephone gesture to the rowdy crowd at Mississippi Sate. All of those were great but the one that stood out to me was the put back to send the game into overtime against the Bulldogs in the SEC title game. The unbridled joy that he and the rest of his teammates exhibited will be impossible to forget.

Eric Bledsoe: The dunk against Wake Forest was the dunk to end all dunks this season. Bledsoe did not dunk very often, he was more prone to lay it at the end of a fast break. I clearly remember sitting at the Big Blue Country bar and watching Eric Bledsoe leap out of what seemed like nowhere and thunder slam the ball through the hoop. Boogie looked as stunned as anybody else as he was under the hoop when it all happened. Everyone in Big Blue Country let out the same word at the same time, "Daaaaaaaaaammmmmmnnnn!!!"

Daniel Orton: Since Orton really did not have many highlight plays to his credit because of his limited playing time, it was hard for me to come up with one single play that he made. I picked a whole game performance instead. Against the Florida Gators in Gainesville,Orton had 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and 5 points. He was a force in the middle and at the end of the game Calipari stood him up in the front of the team and basically told the rest of the guys that Orton was the reason that they had won and then gave him a hug.

There you have it. This team will go down as one of the most beloved UK teams ever, even though they didn't end it the way that we all thought they would. They were a fun group to watch and brought the swagger back to Lexington. When the Championship comes back to Rupp this will be the team that we all look back at and say, "This is where it all started."

Author's Note: Yes I realize that Patterson wasn't included in this article. I am not going to give my favorite Patterson moment until he officially declares for the draft. This fan is holding onto that small hope that Pat Pat will come back to play his last season. Go Cats.


  1. Rumor has it PPat has declared, but is just waiting to do a press conference to announce.

    The tear in my eye will wait to fall until that day

  2. Boogie was the first to sign an agent.