I’m not sure if it was the nice weather yesterday that had me in such a good mood; maybe it’s the huge amount of basketball success that we’ve been enjoying that makes me more forgiving than usual. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been up all night working on an assignment that has just about fried my brain. Whichever of those three is at work, something has to be up, because I recently read a Pat Forde article that I thought was pretty good. It discusses former Cat Sean Woods (a prominent member of Rick Pitino’s very early tenure here), and is actually a pretty even, interesting look at the guy’s current success as a Division-One coach at Mississippi Valley State. The relevant part of the article reads as follows:
“These guys don’t understand what tree they come from,” Sean Woods said, gesturing at his players after a recent practice.
The Rick Pitino coaching tree has sprouted a lot of strong branches in a lot of places; former assistants Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith have won national titles, and several others who played or coached under Pitino have taken teams to the NCAA tournament. Woods aspires to be the latest, but he’s trying to do it from the least-privileged of all locations.
Despite the inherent difficulty of four years at a budget-strapped school with scant heritage of success, the job hasn’t aged Woods a bit. The record has crept from 7-25 to 9-23 to 11-19 to 17-11, but he doesn’t look a day older now than he did playing point guard for the “Unforgettables,” Kentucky’s band of overachievers who pushed Duke to the brink of elimination in the greatest college basketball game ever played. Woods is in game shape and wrinkle-free, very much resembling the hard-luck point guard who, on the night of March 28, 1992, made the shot that set up “The Shot.”
The article belabors, of course, the ’92 Dook game that college basketball highlight videos would still be playing twenty years after the fact. But if you can get past that and look at what it has to say about Woods himself, I definitely recommend checking it out. We give the Fivehead a hard time around here, and that’s mostly because he asks for it, but I have no problem giving credit where credit is due. Here, credit is deserved for highlighting the work ethic and character that Woods has put into coaching at a sub-sub-par school at the corner of Nowhere and B.F.E.
It’s a little piece of history that, if you remember, makes you nostalgic; if you don’t, it’ll make you grateful. It makes you appreciate, regardless of your UK history, the coach and players we have now, and our ability to be perpetually successful. Most of all, though, it makes you ask what it’s like to be an “Unforgettable” that only wishes there were some things he wouldn’t remember.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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