Drew and I just finished fighting Jerry Tipton for a seat in the media room so we could bring you this recap of the Villains came tonight straight from Rupp Arena. We toiled over this long and hard after a game that, at time, seemed like it was trying to put us to sleep. In the end, there was a bit of excitement and some shenanigans at hand…
Big Blue Allstars vs. the UK Villains —– 152-149
The crowd wasn’t pretty, but they were out for blood. The game, far from a sell out, started off in typical exhibition fashion. Lots of stars, plenty of villains, some question marks (with Wall appearing late and in street clothes), and zero defense (at least at first). Sloppy play dominated the game. Points were scored in odd flurries. The scattered look of the game somehow created a high scoring race. After every rebound, several men were jetting down the floor and outlet passes flew. Run and gun, absolutely. And not the kind that T-Will is fond of.
During most of the first half, you could hear a pin drop in Rupp Arena. The upper decks were sparce, but the place was packed with blue throughout the lower arena. The lack of cheering can be chalked up to the frustratingly play and the confusion as to why John Wall (and Tayshaun Prince) weren’t playing. Oh, and the fact that the Big Blue Allstars kept falling behind.
The second half saw a swing of events. The game tightened up down the stretch, with Meeks putting on a show with a barrage of threes and a few dunks. As the crowd got louder, the defense intensified, and the formers Cats found themselves ahead as the fourth quarter wound down. The building, for the amount people there, really lit up with this exciting run. It took an otherwise dead crowd and turned them into the typical frenzied Wildcat faithful. The game became a back and forth battle, but Mr. Fourth Quarter (Zac Randolph) hit a huge three to tie the game.
Rex Chapman put on his thinking cap and drew up a late play for the Cats, but Nazr’s three ball shanked off and the game went to overtime. In OT, the intensity that built up in the second half suddenly died and fizzled into a close but unentertaining finish. The Villains went up three with in a sloppy four minutes, and Jodie Meeks final shot from about 30 feet out couldn’t find the hole. The Villains got the last laugh.
A few highlights stood out, apart from the second half run by the Big Blue Allstars. Christian Laettner’s intro come with thunderous boos, and the fun didn’t end there. With a pool of Keith Bogans sweat covering the floor, Laettner coyly gave in to the fans’ requests and grabbed a towel. The most hated villains of them all got on his hands and knees in front of the Big Blue Faithful and whiped the floor like a servant. Score one for Kentucky fans.
That wasn’t all. In the fourth quarter with a minute and half left, Laettner whispered sweet nothings into Rex’s ear. Tomfoolery was at hand. Jerry Tipton’s eyes widened. Next thing you know, Laettner is berating the refs with the stare of the Crypt Keepr. Christian Laettner enacted his pre-planned rouse of getting ejected…it worked. He got tossed. That boost wasn’t enough for the Cats to go in for the kill, however.
The second most entertaining moment came with the bricked Terrence Williams dunk as seen below. Jorts also put up a quick flurry of points. Kenneth Faried showed a ton of athleticism with his usual blocks and dunks. Brandon Knight had a good showing, but came away gimpy. Cousins didn’t play a ton. Rondo put in a ton of work and was constantly trying to drop off assists that couldn’t find a home. Chuck Hayes wasn’t exactly in basketball shape, but he brought an intensity to the game, especially late. Meeks was the star for Kentucky, however, dropped a cool 42. For the Villains, Corey Brewer took every chance he could to score. Rudy Gay and Nolan Smith did work. Tyler Hansbrough worked hard in that blue-collar way we’ve all come to hate.
But what about Enes? After the game, Rex told me that Enes was as nervous as he could possibly be before the game. He wanted to come out and impress the fans who had his back for so long. And, while Enes is a guy who is better off in a controlled basketball game, still impressed with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Afterwards in the locker room, Enes guaranteed that Kentucky will wiin the national title this year.
But what about John Wall? Great question. He showed up late and with a hood over his head, but the fans were still loving him. Some say there was insurance issues as far as the players covered, others says he just came from another game. And some different others say he was napping and/or shoe shopping. As a conspiracy theorist, I believe all to be true. Still, the crowd went absolutely wild when he was introduced as the Y.
After the game from Rex and Laettner
In a short press conference after the game, Rex Chapman and Christian Laettner took the mics to answer a few questions. Laettner said he agreed to do this game right away …because of the UK fans, because he once looked up to Rex, because he loves when Jeff Sheppard is doing in the Commonwealth. He admitted to some of the theatrics of the night. Laettner was a great sport about it all, and actually showed compassion for UK fanbase that hates him so much. He didn’t seem to grasp how hated he truly is, possibly, but he agreed that sometimes its good fun to curse and berate your enemy as a sports fun. Rex jumped on the mic and immediately said he should be fired for that coaching job. FireRex.com. Both guys noted how young these players are who make decisions on the court, and that real hatred should be held back if you can understand that. Rex also admitted that Laettner is one of the top 10, maybe top 5, college players of all time.
“I want to strangle Pelphrey every time I watch it… Just standing there… There’s time on the clock, John.” – Rex
“Everyone should be mad at me for what I did.” – Laettner
A few notes from other parts of the world…
– Tuesday is decision day for one of UK’s biggest targets in the class of 2012. DaJuan Coleman will announce his decision at 2:30. He is down to Syracuse and the Cats, the two schools that have been on the top of his list for a year now. Everyone with a website or a Twitter account predicts he’ll pick the Orange in the end. Coleman is a New York kid, born and raised in Syracuse, so pulling him down south to Lexington might be too tall of a task for Coach Cal to pull off. Coleman will likely do what we saw Perry Ellis do a month ago and stay with the home state school. It’s tough to lure any kid away from home when the local team is an elite program. We can still hope though. Either way, we know the KSR server will crash and burn by 2:40. See you then.
– The media picked the Cats to win the SEC – because they will – but the all conference teams could use some adjustments. Terrence Jones made First Team All-SEC, as he should, but Anthony Davis was named Second Team All-SEC. We don’t like that. Davis should’ve been on the First Team and in the discussion for Preseason Player of the Year. I guess the old guys with the ballots don’t remember what happened two years ago when they did the same thing to John Wall. We all know how that kid turned out and Davis is expected to do the same thing. Quit hating on the freshmen.
– The story of Mike Hartline’s vehicle getting Tupac’d is very shocking. There isn’t a lot to say about the incident right now, but hopefully details will surface soon. There had to have been some kind of an exchange between the two sides leading up to the shooting. No one randomly shot up a vehicle because Kentucky’s former quarterback was in it and it’s very unlikely that those three are involved in anything that would warrant gunfire. My guess is just a random argument with the wrong type of person. Really, all that matters in the end is that all three young men were unharmed. It could’ve been tragic.
That’s all for now. As always, listen to Kentucky Sports Radio radio at 10:00 am on Talk Radio 1080 AM.