We’ll have a much more in-depth recap later from KSR’s White House correspondent Kellen Clemons a bit later, but here are some quick highlights from Kentucky’s trip to the White House:
— President Obama began by congratulating the Cats on their achievements and joking that they had to come to “his house” and prove him wrong after he’s picked against them the past four years to win the tournament. But, the President was quick to point out that although he did pick North Carolina to win this year, he did have the Cats in the Championship game.
— Why didn’t he pick them to win? Their youth: “I knew Kentucky was good. I had them in the championship game. But in the end I thought, these guys are too young.” But, the Cats proved him wrong. His line, “At this time last year, three of UK’s starters were in high school and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist couldn’t even vote yet” drew the huge, trademark MKG smile we all know and love.
— How do you win with young talent? Teamwork. The President praised the Cats for this, especially fellow Chicagoan Anthony Davis, who he joked had “grown an inch” since getting to the White House. President Obama mentioned visiting Davis’ high school in Chicago four years ago, a nice memory for the two.
— Darius Miller got a nice ovation from the Kentucky-friendly crowd at the White House and also received several kinds words from the President, who listed his accomplishments and said his selflessness is another example of the Cats’ great teamwork. Drawing on a recent quote from Calipari (and an unintentionally funny reference to Richie Farmer), the President said that if Miller wanted to run for governor, “he will do alright, I bet.”
— The President also applauded Eloy Vargas and Darius Miller on graduating and the team for all of their community service.
— President Obama turned his attention to Cal next, saying that he’s already back on the recruiting trail and that “if the next group of Wildcats is anything like this one, I may see Calipari and those guys here again pretty soon.” Yeah, buddy.
— Cal spoke briefly, thanking the President for the honor. The Cats presented the President with three gifts: Darius Miller’s own #1 jersey, an autographed ball, and his own 2012 National Championship ring. In the moment of the day, Eloy, the bravest centaur ever, tossed the ball to the President, who had been calling for the pass. Anthony Davis presented him with a ring, which was a touching and I believe, genuinely surprising gesture.
Congrats to the Cats for making us proud once again.