How I learned to stop worrying and love this team


The most common complaint I’ve heard from Kentucky fans this season is, “I just can’t get into this team.” The other is, “They just don’t have it.” Frankly, after last night’s win over Texas A&M, I’ve had it with both arguments.

Kentucky should not have won last night. Not only did Wenyen Gabriel foul Tyler Davis in the final two seconds (thanks for not noticing, refs!), the Cats were without their starting point guard and a backup center facing a veteran team with whom they matched up terribly that desperately needed a win. Yet, somehow, Kentucky won, despite Kevin Knox still not playing to his potential and zero interior defense. Regardless, some fans still grumble, lamenting all of the Kentucky’s growing pains and pining for the days when the Cats would steamroll opponents.

It’s time for a reality check. Not to be a Caliparrot, but this is the youngest team in college basketball; not just “our best players are freshmen” young, but “our top six scorers are freshmen” young. This year’s freshman class is producing more than any other of the John Calipari Era — 79.2% of the minutes, 86.1% of the scoring and 69.6% of the rebounding — because they have to. Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones have been great (more on them in a minute), but the core of this team is babies. If you came into this season expecting Kentucky to steamroll opponents, you set yourself up for disappointment. Don’t blame the “KSR hype machine” either; all along, we’ve warned you guys this was going to be a process. More than ever, Calipari tried to brace fans for what is coming.

That’s why I don’t understand the vitriol. Sure, the Cats look like absolute crap on defense more often than not and, inevitably, someone is going to disappear for one (or two or three) game. But, judging by the backlash of criticism, you would think all of that was coming from a junior and senior-laden squad instead of a bunch of kids trying to break bad habits. Learning is not easy, especially when you’re doing it with no crash cushion in front of a fanbase that expects nothing but the best.

So, why are we so hard on them? The easy answer is, we’ve been spoiled by success. Calipari’s best teams have blended superstar freshmen talent with veteran experience, and even the ones that were short on the latter had at least a sophomore guard and a few other sophomores or juniors to ease the transition. Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Dominique Hawkins, and Derek Willis will never get enough credit because, for the most part, their biggest contributions came behind the scenes. Wenyen and Sacha are carving their roles as contributors, but as Calipari said earlier this week, as sophomores, they’re still going through the process too.

Another way this season is different than others: the SEC has never been so unforgiving. In past years, you could count on easy home wins and at least two or three easy road wins. Not this year. The influx of talent — both players and coaches — in the league a few years ago is finally paying off, which is great for Kentucky’s resume but leaves little margin for error. Loafing through a routine home game vs. a lower level SEC team is a luxury this young team just doesn’t have. Stumbles have and will continue to happen; instead of being infuriated by the bad, we should all try being encouraged by the good, because there is a lot of good.

A few ugly stretches aside, one thing you can’t fault this team for is effort; it may not always come in the form you’d like, but there’s no denying that this team is trying. Like I wrote last night, I’ve never seen a team try so hard to both win and lose a game like Kentucky did vs. A&M. The fight was clearly there; unfortunately, the errors were too. With two months of SEC play ahead of them, there are plenty of opportunities to learn.

There are also plenty of players to love. For those of you complaining that you just can’t get into this team, how can you not love PJ Washington and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? Both freshman have exhibited unbelievable toughness over the past month to the point that Kentucky can’t afford to not have them on the court. PJ was born in Louisville and grew up a Kentucky fan for goodness’ sake.

Or what about Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones? After somewhat disappointing freshman years, they’ve found their roles and positively influence the team when in. Quade Green may not be Tyler Ulis 2.0 as some had hoped, but he’s arguably Kentucky’s best shooter and will be the stable hand we need for years to come. Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox have struggled, but if the Cats are coping this well without them, imagine what they’ll be like once they pull it together. And then there’s Jarred Vanderbilt, the mystery piece just dripping with intrigue.

Yet, there’s still anger that they’re “just not getting it.” Fury that the “light hasn’t come on” and “this group is soft.” In some cases, that may be true; however, in a season in which NOBODY is great in college basketball, haven’t we learned by now that it’s way too early to throw in the towel? What’s the fun in being a fan if you only expect your team to lose, or even worse, only expect them to win? That game was fun last night. Sure, it almost gave me a heart attack, but it was exciting. There was a sequence in the second half when Shai got a steal and threw it ahead to Hamidou Diallo for a slam that shows you what this group is capable of. In March, I’ll take that ridiculous length and athleticism over almost anything else.

And say Kentucky does go down in the second round this year. With only two, maybe three guys likely to go to the draft, they’ll return more players than ever before. Add in another intriguing freshman class and you’ve got another perfect storm brewing. Regardless of what happens in March, this year is an incredible foundation on which to build. At the very least, be excited for that.

So, as our New Year’s Resolution, can we all just take a deep breath and try to enjoy the ride? Because this is all a lot more fun when you do. Promise.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

87 responses to “How I learned to stop worrying and love this team”

  1. KTR2786

    “The easy answer is, we’ve been spoiled by success.” I predicted this right after the John Wall year; a jaded, apathetic fan base would start growing and it’s a testament to Cal’s ability that it didn’t start earlier. We have to keep perspective on things; this team is good and fun to watch and they’ll figure it out.

    1. krautdog

      AMEN! Excellent article TT. We’ll be fine come March!!

    2. mcp157

      Patience is a virtue.

    3. Rembrandt

      Our fans are very spoiled, but that’s only part of it. The internet gives an equal voice to children, kooks, frauds, drunks, manic depressives, and UL trolls. It must be the responsibility of balanced people to understand the difference and push back when our players and coaches are thrown under the bus by troublemakers. I’m not talking about people who think Kevin Knox should work harder for rebounds. I’m talking about people who label a freshman with 25+ scholarship offers a “crappy player” less than halfway through his first season of college ball, and people who throw Cal under the bus every time we lose a close game or a popular recruit.

      Five freshmen are starting. That’s all you need to know to understand that this team’s learning curve will be steep. Anyone who has paid attention since 2010 knows Cal’s teams don’t play their best basketball until February.

    4. henderblue

      You’re exactly right Rembrandt.

    5. ukkatzfan

      Henderblue, he is nor exactly right. You just 100% agree with him. No one who has ever posted on a sports page is exactly right…..well that is not exactly right. Hahahahaha.

    6. bigblue2018

      I think what KSR and fans 35 and under doesn’t understand is fans that’s 35+ which is a large amount of the fan base (and where most of the money is) has grown tired not being able to watch players develop like a Darius Miller, or Hawkins and Willis not just because they were Kentucky boys (although that would help some) but if we had 3-4 players who played 3-4 years with 3-4 5 month players UK fans wouldn’t bail out and take a longer time each year to buy in. Basketball is 365 in Ky so fans miss talking all summer how much we think a Willis, Miller or WCS has improved over the summer and how they will blend with the new kids. Don’t kid yourself thinking these kids come here and bleed blue the rest of their life after their 4-6 months in Lexington, they’re here because of Coach Cal not BBN.

  2. lexslamman

    I am really ambivalent to the product on the court this season – the team isn’t there yet. That’s okay. It’s the second week of January.

    I love a few things about this team, namely: Quade, PJ, Wenyen and Shai. Give me a few more guys like them. I can’t get excited about an overhyped mediocre offensive player who won’t put in the effort on defense, an insane athlete who too often forgets to pass and is in love with posing after shots, and a physical freak who doesn’t seem to understand the game of basketball.

    Sasha Killeya-Jones is going to be great, too, but this team doesn’t seem to understand where and how to find him. The kid needs to focus on defense and rebounds until Shai and Quade realize that he’s a nasty mid-range pick-and-pop threat.

  3. Duff86

    You can tell Washington, SGA, Diallo, and Knox are growing up and adjusting. Anxious to see Vanderbilt get on the floor. I honestly think this team is growing up a little faster than most other Cal teams. They typically would have lost that game last night but they didn’t. Looking good for a March run.

  4. Blue Bill

    I think some of our fan base has forgotten the Billy, Tubby, Eddie years completely. Almost all you read in the comment sections are negative, Whiney complaints about the team and Cal. I’ll root this team on and support them 100% until they’re not playing anymore whether it’s the final four or round two. Gooo cats, prove the cry babies wrong.

    1. Rembrandt

      Some posters never directly knew about or observed previous coaching regimes because they are too young.

    2. bigblue2018

      I for one enjoyed the Tubby years, the best X’s and O’s coach we’ve had since Joe B. No we didn’t love the style we played every day and we didn’t go to final 4’s every other year but lets face it Tubby won as many titles in as much time. Don’t say the tired old comment with Rick’s players, there wasn’t 9 NBA players on that roster and if you want to watch the best coaching job by a UK coach in the last 30 years YouTube the 1998 regional finals against a Duke team with Rat Face on the bench who was 7-0 in regional finals and a 17 point lead with a little over 9 minutes to go.

    3. ukkatzfan

      Tubby’s biggest failure was holding onto his tall white haired buddy from bama that couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag.

  5. SoCalCat

    I’m not too surprised at the stance by fans. To me there isn’t a returning player that is beloved. To me none of the freshmen to this point are flashy. That doesn’t mean they won’t have a successful season or grow on me, but to this point they are a freshmen team with lots of flaws that is not a surprise. I do think Cal is pushing them in the right direction, but without someone that is a returning player to help them through the lulls and selfishness, to this point they do seem like a flash in the pan that will exit tournament play early.

  6. Smyrna_Cat

    Again, I don’t know what this staff keeps talking about how Gabriel FOULED at the end. That type of bump should never be called at the end of the game. Period. Ever. If it happened to us, it wouldn’t have been called. And you overlook many, many calls that the refs got wrong during the game. Don’t make it sound like we Stole the game, or got a big break that we didn’t deserve.

    1. Booby Petrino

      yeah they are definitely running that into the ground. How many missed calls were there in that game? Too many to count. But let’s just keep hammering on that one play and act like something not being called won the game for us. I still don’t think it was a foul. And why are they assuming he would make one or both free throws? Dude is a 68% ft shooter who was 4-4 last night…he was bound to miss. I know we will never know since the call wasn’t made, but for crying out loud, that “no-call” didn’t win the game for us.

    2. SuperTroy18

      Thank You, Guys!! SO sick of hearing about this call! Gabriel might have had a little more contact, but Davis sold the heck out of that. Plus, the pass was way over his head anyway. He wouldn’t have caught it no matter what. Game was over no matter what happens there. Why is everyone focusing on this one play?! It really bugs me. Especially when even our own writers are thanking refs! Gross. Knock that off!

    3. urincatland

      If it’s a foul at the beginning of the game call it. If it’s a foul at the end of the game call it. And the foul Gabriel made at the end of the game was more that a BUMP. Just saying!! I’m glad they missed it!!

    4. Luether

      Ky escaped with a win due to Referee home cooking. Gabriel FOULED at the end and it wasn’t called. Period…

  7. catsarerunnin

    I’ve been a UK fan for over 50 years but like many I’m having trouble getting into or excited about this team. I’m a diehard UK fan so it pains be to admit that. I don’t blame the players or Cal although the one and done has worn on me. I’ve never been a fan of it and I also can’t argue with the success Cal has had because of it. But I’m a little tired of getting to know a new team about every year. It’s almost mid January and I still have trouble knowing who is who. This year is different because of so few players who returned from last year and the recruiting class just didn’t have the usual sizzle. But I think this team plays hard and there is talent here. I think by March this team can be dangerous especially in a year where there aren’t many great teams out there.

    1. bbnZach

      You’re simply not a die hard fan if you don’t know “who is who” on this team.

    2. catsarerunnin

      What I meant was what number belongs to who and so forth. I really don’t care what you think either. Just explaining.

    3. ukkatzfan

      I get exactly what you mean catsarerunnin. You got to overlook some…..like anyone young enough to be called Zach.

    4. 8generationsblue

      To say this gentleman is not a diehard fan is pathetic. Many feel as he does. There is no perfect system. Cal has had great success but one and done does have a downside

    5. 4everUKblue

      catsarerunnin I too have been a fan for over 50 years, I listened to the Texas Western game on the radio and cried when we lost. You probably know the real story there too, not what the movie says which I refuse to watch. I have stayed true through all the different coaches….Billy G really tested me, but this is the most consistently successful coaching run since Rupp and I can’t think of a coach I want other than Cal. He is not perfect, no one is and we all have work to do on ourselves, not just Cal or this team. I like my coach and I like my team.

  8. TJY

    My only two “real” issues with this team:

    A few guys REFUSE to pass when on a fast break. If they would pass, the crowd would love them for it.

    One second year player constantly gets lost on Defense and can’t be trusted to dribble without walking.

    I love the length and I still think we are going to be very good by the end of the year…if everyone buys in.

    1. Parker_UKFanNC

      But if everyone had Wenyens hustle and intensity then this team would be so much better. However, only PJ and Shai have shown similar hustle. Wenyen may look completely out of sorts on offense and tries to do to much on defense but at least he’s playing hard. Not to mention he’s turned into a legitimate 3 point threat and a consistent rebounder. He’s had several offensive rebounds off missed free throws that show his hustle and “toughness” Cal wants to see. So I understand your qualms about Wenyen but to me he makes up for it with his other attributes and in time his game will come more naturally to him.

      On the other hand the passing is definitely a major issue. Too many selfish drives and unnecessarily tough shots when there is someone open. Get it fixed and this team will start to thrive more on the offensive end.

    2. rockatao

      I have to disagree on Wenyen. He gets “lost” on defense because he’s the only guy out there who plays team defense. Sometimes that means his man is left open. He was the leader of that zone against A&M, constantly directing traffic, disrupting the foul-line entry pass (which killed UK against Tenn). I have followed the Cats for over 60 years and I too am having some trouble adopting this team, but that’s not because of Wenyen. I liked most of what I saw from the team against A&M, but I’m reserving judgment until they show me they can play away from Rupp.

  9. az1006

    Folks are spoiled, folks are tired of the one-and-done, folks don’t know the players…They’re all excuses. Kentucky fans all want to have their cake and eat it too, so it isn’t all that surprising. People complained incessantly about Tubby losing games and not landing Burger Boys left and right. “Tubby can’t recruit,” they’d say non-stop. Tubby had some really good teams, that were all veteran-laden, but folks weren’t patient enough to wait for those years to come around. And that’s ok.

    Insert Calipari, he recruits the best-of-the-best, year-in and year-out, and because of a rule established by the NBA (not the NCAA, not Calipari) they, more often than not, play one year and leave for the NBA. It’s the system in place, and it’s happening all over the country.

    “Why don’t guys stay longer here, when they do at UNC or Duke?” Well, a big part of that is because Calipari is so good at what he does. He gets guys to buy in from day one, play hard, improve in leaps and bounds in a few short months, and then they’re READY. Sure, a few have left after one year that should have stayed, but that’s on them. You could say the same about just as many guys that left early that no one expected to. They did so because Cal and staff had helped them improve enough to make it a viable option. And what’s happened because of all that? We’ve been to 4 Final Fours, 6 Elite Eights, and won a national title. In today’s game, to be able to have that kind of sustained success, regardless of the roster makeup, is unreal.

    So, do you want to have that kind of success? Do you want the best players? If you do, you’re just gonna have to live with the current system. It ain’t going away, unless the NBA changes its rule.

    As for this team…I love their effort, I love watching SGA and PJ play, and I am really excited about what they may be capable of going forward. This team could lose in the 2nd round, or they could win the whole damn thing. We’ve seen the alternative, and this is a whole lot better.

  10. terwilliger

    For me, as a lifelong UK fan, it just boils down to the fact that in the one-and-done era, it feels like title or bust every year. Take Fox and Bam last year after the UNC game… they were bawling their eyes out. But instead of using that pain and sorrow to FUEL them for a title run the following year, they just went to the NBA. And let me be clear- I don’t blame them for doing so! They absolutely should have! All I am saying is that other teams (including the 2012 Cats) win titles because they have returnees that are fueled by that pain of being so close they could taste it. And it sucks not having those guys. I’m hoping next year will be different!

    1. secrick

      Cry when you lose i like it but show me the money a week later and i’m gone.

  11. Booby Petrino

    Ksr is being so petty about that no call at the end of the game. If you want to be that critical, watch the whole game over and see what other calls were missed or wrong. Tyler Davis (the guy ksr claims wenyen fouled) had 4 fouls at that point… I’m sure you can find one missed on him and argue that he shouldn’t even have been in the game bc he should’ve been fouled out. I love ksr but good grief you’re annoying with this repetition.

    1. 4everUKblue

      Thank you Booby.

  12. Glenn Fohr

    I don’t get attached to players anymore. They are here today, gone tomorrow. But this team, for the most part, will return intact next year. I only see Knox and no pass Diallo going on(foolishly). I might actually remember their names.

  13. MikesWay

    I’ve been a Kentucky fan since 1916. That’s right do the math – 102 years. Hell, I’ve been a KSR fan since 1976, longer than most of you have even been alive. I have more knowledge than anyone on this site, or really any other UK fan in general. I’ve seen more than you have, so I know more than you know. Rookies.

    1. runningunnin.454

      And, how did that 1916 team do?

    2. catsarerunnin

      Wow 102 years huh? What was it like watching games where they had to take the ball out of the peach basket????

    3. njcat54

      Sarcasm is just lost on some people.

    4. mostdiggity

      So, you are 108 at minimum. Did you play with our first All-American Basil Hayden in 25′ or drink too much of it reading your birth certificate.? lol WOW! oldest fan on the planet.

    5. MikesWay

      I’m not going to lie to yall, following the team in 1916 was hard. More difficult than you will ever know. Which also makes my stand as a UK fan even that much more impressive. Went 4-6 that year with Bobby Ireland playing is butt off. Losing at Centre in 1917 was a program changer for UK. But you wouldn’t know that, because you don’t have has much knowledge as I do. Millennials.

    6. runningunnin.454

      Good one, Mike…enjoyed that. The Championship and Olympics in ’48 must have been really exciting.

  14. ScratchtheMascot

    I think people are just tired of rebuilding every year. Everyone understands it’s a process and they know how young the kids are, but the rest of Div I basketball doesn’t really care how young our kids are. They won’t take a break just because our team doesn’t “get it.” I love watching basketball in March, but it kinda sucks that it’s the only really good basketball I get to see all season. If we aren’t going to win a championship either way, I’d prefer to start strong and have a great and exciting season and not win than be stressed out and hopeful for 5 months and then optimistic for 2 weeks.

    1. crazycatfan65

      I have to agree with you on that.Years past our one and dones where the best of the best coming out of high school. We use to get the top guy at every position but now we have to settle for the 3rd or 4th or 5th best guy at each position. Look at dUKe, this years team has the number 1 player at their position and next year they will do the same thing more than likely.They done have the top 2 players in the class again for next year. We have fallen behind people in recruiting. All these so called heavy or locks for UK are going to dUKe now and not UK.

    2. J-Dub421

      We’ve had four 30+ win seasons under Cal, two more with 29 wins, and one with 27 wins. Cal’s win percentage is 82.4%, the highest of any coach in UK basketball history. But, don’t let facts get in your way.

    3. bankerbh

      I haven’t been a fan of the one and dones for many years. There is a combination of issues at this point that have dampened my enthusiasm for the team. First, the roster churn from year to year gets old. We are supposed to be supportive and committed to a group that is likely not going to be there next year. When you get down to it, the OADs are only around for 5 months. Second, what J-Dub points out is in the past. Second round loss to Indiana in 2016 tournament, loss to North Carolina in E8 in 2017 and the 2018 tournament isn’t looking too promising at the moment for a freshmen built roster. No longer are we getting the premier PG to run the “dribble drive” offense. When was the last time the DD offense was even mentioned? Cal has done well in the past with recruiting but looking back, maybe it wasn’t Cal getting the recruits, rather it was Antigua and with him gone we may not get the top talent.

      I’m not saying we should have a roster of walk-on level talent, but Cal needs to quit pushing the players out so early and give a dam about the name on the front of the jersey and stop the NBA crap. We’ve had entirely too much talent come through the program to have only one NC under his watch. The young teams are his own doing.

    4. 4everUKblue

      And thank you J-Dub.

    5. ScratchtheMascot

      I’m not saying we haven’t been successful. I’m saying it’s stressful almost every year. Are they going to get it? Are they going to buy in? Are they going to start clicking? 30+ wins is always impressive but let’s not pretend like we’ve been playing in a difficult conference. I just prefer years like 2012 when I knew from day 1 it was going to be a special season. Any year other than that was a pleasant surprise that it went as well as it did. I know it’s “players first” with Cal, which basically means “who cares about college basketball?” But if he really cared about the players he might tell a few of them “you’re not ready” every once in a while.

  15. KYcats11

    Also one thing, if they call the foul on wenyen… there is no guarantee he makes the free throws.

    1. Booby Petrino

      Agreed, I mentioned that above in one of my rants lol. And what I left out was that would’ve been the 9th team foul on a non-shooting call so a 1 and 1 for the 68% ft shooter who was 4-4 from the line at the time

    2. RealCatsFan

      Yep! It’s a little like the clock violation at Florida a few years ago in football. If they catch that, it was a delay of game penalty and 5 yards. Very possible that they would have punched it in anyway on the next play.

    3. RealCatsFan

      That was actually a pretty heady play by Wenyen. Much better to maybe get called for a foul than to let him get away and possibly catch the pass for an easy score.

  16. runningunnin.454

    Some people are just miserable, and want everybody to be miserable. It’s called the “Poor, poor, pitiful me syndrome”.

    1. Luether

      Their called Democ Rats…

  17. RealCatsFan

    I think a lot of the malaise with the fan base is the tantalizing near misses of greatness we have had the last few years. We were so close to winning a title in 2014, then the 2015 team came oh-so-close to the perfect season, and last year we were on a roll and then got shot down just shy of the FF. Yes, perhaps we are spoiled, but at the same time it has been 6 years since we won a title, and we have seen dook and UNCheat steal titles since then. It is this “keeping up with the Joneses”, couples with Duke’s success in snagging top recruits while Cal has had some misses, that is contributing to the anxiety of the fans. If we had won that title in 2014 or 2015, I think a lot of the pressure is off. Fair or not, Cal has set the bar pretty high, and once it is up there, it never gets lowered.

    That being said, when Cal leaves, we are not going to know what hit us. I only hope and pray that Count K the vampire and Ol’ Roy leave before he does.

  18. Ukgrad2006

    DON’T LET THIS DISTRACT YOU FROM THE FACT THAT BRAD CALIPARI IS SHOOTING A CAREER 3 PT % OF 12.5%. THATS 2/16 FOR ALL YOU FOOLS THAT THINK HE IS EARNING THAT PLAYING TIME. MAYBE RUPP SHOULD STOP YELLING “SHOOOOT” AND START YELLING “SHITTTTTT”

    1. Smyrna_Cat

      Very classy.

    2. Ukgrad2006

      Call it like I see it biggun’.

    3. J-Dub421

      Brad stole his girlfriend.

    4. RealCatsFan

      Either that or he is Dillon Pulliam’s little bro. 🙂

      Is Brad Calipari this year’s Saul Smith?

    5. 4everUKblue

      no way this jack graduated from UK…or anywhere else.

    6. WildcatLarry

      Do you enjoy trashing 19 year olds? Well, to each his own.

    7. Ukgrad2006

      Check that 4everUKblue. And with a higher GPA than you.

    8. Luether

      You could put Brad on the beach and doubt he could hit the ocean…

  19. Ukgrad2006

    LOL I’m sure Brad gets all the girls with that sweet chest piece.

  20. wyatts1

    I love my team, I love coach Cal, but just as important I’m a university of Kentucky basketball fan first. Before any coach or any player, I bleed blue and have been a fan since the unforgettables. It’s the tradition, it’s the championships hanging in the raptors, it’s rupp arena. I was young when the unforgettables played but after I seen how UK handled the players that stuck around after the dark days that Sutton brought to us, and I knew this school was special, retiring their jerseys for a bunch of local Kentucky boys with 💓 said it all. So this teams gonna be fine, they just gotta find themselves and I’ve yet seen coach fail at this yet. With his coaching ability, UK’s tradition, and the support from all the UK fans at rupp and virtually every away game they’ll come around.GO BIG BLUE #bleedblue

  21. BCO

    The most important line in this article we need to remember is about this team being a foundation. Id say its a good bet some of these guys will be here 3 maybe 4 years…theyre gonna win a title before they leave. And we should get better every year. If Cal is going to miss on the tippy top guys, we can do more of a UNC on steroids approach. Thats the key for success in the tourney IMO.

  22. Big Meech

    Not all of u but some of u STFU. Enjoy what We have and realize that it’s not EVER going to be as consistent as it is now. Since 2009, one average year, bad for our standards but besides that it’s been better than anyone else. The fact is CAL will never live down the Wisconsin loss!!!! If we win that then no one would complain, get used to the one and done. It is what it is. I don’t like it but cal should recruit 3&4 star guys to make sure he gets some seniors. That’s bs. We will be in the next two final fours and possibly one this year and then might have to start all over again. It’s just how the game is. I remember when dunking wasn’t allowed. There was no 3 point shot and so on. The game and the business of college basketball will forever change. That’s just how the game is

  23. Philthy

    People are expecting a 40-0 team every year. It just ain’t happening. That was a once in a lifetime team.

    1. Luether

      It shouldn’t be with all the talent Cal brings in every year…

  24. njcat54

    People can deny there’s a problem all they want, but the fact is Cal set expectations very high by proclaiming KY would get ‘the best of the best’, which he did for a few years. Those days are done, and the sad fact is you cannot compete at a high level with freshmen unless they ARE the best. He simply does not attract elite players any longer. This group might be good if they stick around for a few years, but there’s not one first round draft pick among them. They can’t play defense, the offense has no flow and they play for themselves. THAT’S why people are frustrated or simply losing interest.

    Cal needs to step up his game and stop making excuses. He’s in charge of the program. It’s HIS fault it’s the youngest team in the country. Either recruit the best players or get the ones who do come to stick around for a while. He thinks he’s running a job training program, not a competitive basketball program who’s fans look forward to seeing a good product on the court.

  25. Dallas

    Thank you Tyler. This is my exact point. I love my cats don’t care if we lost every game. Ok yea I care but I’d still watch every game and go to every game I can get tix to.

  26. urincatland

    Some of you on here can’t stand reality!! You want to criticize others for speaking the TRUTH. Fan or not, some people tell it like it is. And when they do so you want to CRITICIZE them?? Just saying!! Have at it, now criticize me!!

  27. chrisg18

    Tyler – you have to dive a bit deeper here. It’s really quite simple. It comes down to Cal’s recruiting. Yes we are the youngest team in the country, and if anyone reasonable takes a step back to JUST look at that, then expectations will be lowered. However it’s less about this team and more about the program. People will say we are UK and we shouldn’t have the youngest team in the country that needs to have a lot of growing pains. We are at this point because of how Cal has recruited (which is true), AND Duke is taking all of the elite prospects from us to keep us at an elite level with a young team (which is sort of true). There is some truth to all of this so I get it and it’s what you have to accept with Cal as the coach. Some people will never be on board with that. I personally think Cal needs to adjust his recruiting slightly – although he may have with this year’s freshman class and next year’s class. But I believe this is the underlying reason for the criticism.

    I do disagree a little with you saying this team puts in the necessary effort though. The majority of them, yes. But Knox and Richards have a long ways to go in this area.

  28. ChuckHayesIsAFullGrownMan

    “A few ugly stretches aside, one thing you can’t fault this team for is effort; it may not always come in the form you’d like, but there’s no denying that this team is trying.”

    This is where I disagree. Consistent effort is a problem with most of these guys and a large part of why their defense is so bad. Did you watch the UCLA game?

    1. Luether

      Good post. Agree…

  29. KayutsBy90

    Honest question for the fan base. Would you rather lose in the second round of the tournament and have the entire team back or play in the championship and have a majority of the team leave?

    1. Luether

      It should be all about C’ships with everything else subordinated. Period…

    2. AllBall

      No doubt, Championship game. Nothing is guaranteed. Its hard to win 5 in a row against tough competition just to get there.

    3. njcat54

      Problem is, we go out in the second round and still lose everybody.

  30. BigEastCat

    I no longer have the kind of interest in the team as in the past.
    Like eating a meal and going away hungry; something is missing.
    And its not all about winning.
    Its about not putting a team on the floor that embodies the tradition of UK Basketball.
    Cal uses Ky’s resources and works for the NBA, not UK. He has said as much.
    Young team? Whom is at fault there?
    The better players are now going elsewhere and it shows…..Duke and Kansas are out recruiting us.
    If we could trade Cal for Izzo I’d contribute to the funding……….

    1. KayutsBy90

      Embraces the tradition of UK basketball is code for more white players.

  31. gadgetgirl

    Excellent! I think we forget the learning curve for the very best Kentucky players. I remember games KAT struggled with rebounding, fouling and shooting. It is exhausting. I also think the fans at Rupp could really help jumpstart them instead of sitting on their hands waiting for them to perform like some kind of circus act.

  32. Alleykat16

    We ain’t getting the top tier of the 5 star players anymore that other team is geting them the team we hate with passion you know who I’m talking about that the one in Carolina I can’t say their name

  33. Alleykat16

    But the ones we get I love em and back them till the end

  34. AllBall

    Sure there are adjustments, but these kids were recruited to a major D1 college program and should know defensive principles. How can such highly ranked recruits know so little about defense? I realize AAU style of play has had an effect but some of these guys act like they’ve never heard of help and recover or switching and hedging screens.

  35. Halfway 2 BioHazard

    The disconnect is a problem with the whole college basketball game. This is not fake news.

  36. njcat54

    Cal should have his guys watch some tape of West Virginia playing defense. In fact, maybe it’s just Cal who needs to watch the tape.

    I’d take Huggins in a NY minute over Cal. His teams are fun to watch and they compete hard for 20 minutes.