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Sunday reflections on the way back from Texas A&M

Shoutout to Lexington native Ashley Marcoe, a Texas A&M student, for rocking Kentucky blue in the Aggies’ student section last night.

It’s the morning after and I’m sitting in the Houston airport wasting time until my flight back to Nashville. Last night’s game is still depressing, but honestly, the disappointments are becoming the norm this season instead of the exception, so I can’t say I’m all too surprised.

While I try to avoid awkward airport eye contact, here are some things on my mind as I reflect on the first three-game losing streak of the John Calipari era.

This team is lost

KSR didn’t send me to College Station to report what anybody with two eyes can see, but I was amazed at how bewildered this Kentucky team looked last night, particularly in the second half. This group has definitely regressed, looking miles away from the team we saw in the earlier part of the season, or even the second half vs. West Virginia. During the game and after, Calipari looked more frustrated than ever, and honestly, exhausted. He insists that he’s not cracking or giving up — his manic and fervent behavior on the sidelines is proof he’s trying — but based on his body language, I think he’s battling with the realization that he just might not be able to get through to these guys.

What is going on with Hami?

That last point is nowhere more apparent than his interactions with Hamidou Diallo. Diallo has chirped back at Calipari numerous times this season, but their relationship looked like it was on thin ice last night. Hami had to sit most of the first half due to foul trouble, but it speaks volumes that Brad Calipari contributed more in the first half than he did (that defensive rebound may have been the highlight of his dad’s birthday). As the team came back onto the floor for the second half, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Hami was the last player out of the locker room, preceded by John Calipari, who was throwing his hands up in exasperation.

Hami’s erratic behavior isn’t just directed at Calipari; more than once last night, he argued with his own teammates. After getting whistled for a foul, he turned around and lit into Quade Green. WTF? Hami had 13 points in the second half, but even points don’t make me feel better about him right now.

Who is capable of leading this team?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the obvious answer, but is he willing to take over the locker room? It’s not going to be Hami. Kevin Knox can do it on the court, but lacks consistency. Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones are veterans, but are best as role players. Calipari has tried numerous times to hand the reins to PJ Washington, but he has yet to follow through. That leaves Jarred Vanderbilt, Quade Green and Nick Richards. Can someone give Quade his sunglasses back? Maybe that will help.

Seriously, I miss this team:

The Johnny Football sideshow became my main entertainment

As the action on the court got more and more depressing, I began to turn more and more of my attention to Johnny Manziel, the beloved Aggie quarterback seated on the baseline right in front of me. Johnny Football’s presence made an already big night huge for Aggie fans, who made signs in his honor and completely lost their mind when he walked in. There’s never a dull moment with Johnny, who became a sideshow all his own. His entourage included his Megan Fox lookalike fiancée — the first person I’ve ever seen pair a t-shirt with four inch Louboutins — a few friends bedecked in Bape and Johnny jerseys, and, oddly enough, a small, adorable dog, which one of said friends in Bape was tasked with watching the entire time.

There were also three women in charge of keeping autograph/selfie seekers away from Johnny, probably the most difficult job of the night. To be fair, he granted the requests that got through — although there was a rumor going around that he started charging $20 per picture in the second half. I really hope that’s not true.

The other Matt Jones is in on the joke

When I saw Dave Flemming was calling this game, I knew I had to get my picture with him just so I could tag Matt in it. I managed to find a moment before the game to introduce myself and I’m happy to report that he couldn’t be nicer. He’s also well aware that he’s Matt’s doppleganger and was therefore pretty curious about KSR. Shoutout to him to being a good sport. Sadly, he’s not working any more Kentucky games this season, so our dream of a Matt/Dave reunion will have to wait.

It’s almost time to board and I’m too cheap to pay for United’s Wifi, so I’ll end with this: I’d like to think last night was rock bottom for this team, but after seeing them up close and personal, I just don’t know. Prior to this trip, I had a weird feeling that, regardless of what happened vs. A&M, Kentucky would upset Auburn just for the sheer absurdity of it all — shame on us for giving up so early! — but watching them aimlessly flail around brings me back to a telling quote from Calipari after the game.

“Each week that goes by, it gets harder and harder to get this thing where you want it to go. At some point, you’re right — you’ve gotta have somebody step up and say hey, enough is enough.”

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.

71 responses to “Sunday reflections on the way back from Texas A&M”

  1. IAmTheDanger

    Good article Tyler, I think that pretty much sums up my thoughts and concerns for this team….lots going on there. And yes, I miss the Quade “shades” dudes…was that really this year? SMH.

  2. oruacat2

    When you treat recruiting like the thing for which you hang the banner and couple it with this “getting my guys to the NBA is the primary goal” BS you’re gonna have some years like this.

    Eventually you have to coach these kids, Cal. This regression is on you.

    1. BBNDan7

      Are you blind or stupid?

    2. original slappy

      I concur

    3. unbridled

      BbnDan, obviously stupid.

    4. Rixter

      The Cal apologists will never admit to it, but you are absolutely right. As long as Cal gets a couple of these kids to the G-league, he will consider this season a huge success.

  3. wildcat2012

    Luckily the SEC is so good this year we still have a chance to beat at least 3-4 ranked teams. Win at Auburn, beat Bama, beat Missouri and win last game at Florida with just another lose at Arkansas (no way we win there, it’ll be rocking and they NEED to beat us), our whole season would be turned around. I’m just hoping at this point we get the 3,6,10 or 11 seed in Nashville for the tournament and we will be good.

    1. Jarisn02

      We have to finish 3-3, no matter who the wins come against…I don’t see us winning any road game, so we have to win all remaining home games

    2. My Dixie Wrecked

      If the SEC is so good, why does the selection committee only have 1 SEC team in their top 16?

    3. cats646

      Because the selection committee is a joke. Just like you limp dick

    4. Miller45

      not happening, not happening, bleak possibility, not happening

    5. Rixter

      Did you miss Tennessee, or did you miss Auburn? I count 2.

  4. DelrayCat

    You know the old saying, “you better watch out what you wish for, because you might just get it.”
    Well, I wonder how fans are going to react if all these guys stay (except Knox), and then we are unable to land another one-and-done transcendent player in the next few years due to the loaded up roster with mediocre players. Hmmmm.

    1. callitlikeiseeit

      No way Hami is back and if I were SGA I would run from this situation as fast as I could.

    2. Peas and Carrots

      I’ll be happy with next years team as long as Hami isn’t on it. He’s officially displaced Archie Goodwin as my least favorite player in this era.
      Also, a team of mediocre players is not going to scare off a transcendental talent.

    3. oruacat2

      By whose standards are you ranking this hypothetical one-and-done transcendent player? The recruiting gurus, pundits, and talking heads that gave us THIS current roster?

    4. Aar

      You know what, I like all of these guys and don’t think of any of them as mediocre. I very much agree with Cal in that they need leadership. I also believe they need experience and outside shooting. I suspect the Freshmen with the most leadership potential – Green, Washington and Vanderbilt – will be back next season. Further, upperclassmen tend to start exhibiting leadership qualities. So, we might see Gabriel, SKJ or even Brad Calipari emerge as leaders next season. Once Brad Calipari hits a few shots in the game, he could join Baker and Herro in spreading the court. This year’s team has the most success when they spread the court and use offensive motion.

      In short, if just SKJ, Gabriel, Vanderbilt, Washington, Baker, Calipari & Green return, I’m pretty optimistic about the 2018-19 Cats. The returns of Richards, SGA or Diallo would raise my optimism further. I’m looking forward to the additions of Keldon Johnson’s alpha mentality and leadership, Quickley’s speed and court vision with Herro’s shooting and fight. If Cal has the scholarship and lands E.J. Montgomery next year’s team could shape up very nicely.

      While I have no insight to which players will stay and which will go, I suspect Knox, Diallo and SGA in that order are likely to head to the NBA or the G league. Gabriel and Wynyard may also find enticing pro opportunities. Bluntly, I’d most prefer to have all of them back but there are not enough scholarships for that and 3-4 incoming Freshmen.

    5. ilovekaturday

      Well thanks for your expert break down jay bilas but we’re gonna be bad next year too

    6. Miller45

      I hope they come back too

    7. dismore

      Never happen. 5 are gone.

  5. runningunnin.454

    Amusing that the bandwagon fans want Rick Barnes; we didn’t lose by 30 did we? Also,
    Amusing some want Tony Bennett; he couldn’t beat Virginia Tech at home…Is VT undefeated, I forget?
    The comment sections last night were hysterical; I have come to one unfortunate conclusion, one incontrovertible fact; but, Albert said it better,
    “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, I’m not sure about the former”

    1. wildcat2012

      You’re weird dude…

    2. callitlikeiseeit

      No we lost to that team that lost by 30, TWICE. And Bennett’s team of good players gave up about the same amount of points in an OT game as CAL and his all american, nba guys gave up in a half of play vs a team that is known for not being able to shoot well. Don’t even try to defend Cal as aa coach, he is way below many guys in the x and o of coaching. Has always made his money on recruiting and having the best team to win, not titles but games.

    3. BigBlueNationDude

      What happenned to you last night runnin? I see you went runnin for the hills bc you knownwe suck. Stop with your bs

    4. BallDontLie

      It’s embarrassing RG, I’ve always called Wal Mart the armpit of America. I’m afraid that title goes to the comment sections on KSR after a loss

    5. henderblue

      Very good analogy there. Very good.

    6. BigBlueOnYou

      You’re joking right?? Cal couldn’t even be Bennett’s assistant on his staff, let alone a head coach of that prestige! Keep sippin that Cal Kool aid and continue to never win the big one! Anthony Davis ain’t walking through that door.

    7. RealCatsFan

      Bigbluenation-dud, what happens to you after a win? Seems like most of your kind only come out in the dark, like roaches.

    8. unbridled

      It’s astounding how idiotic this fan base can be. In cals tenure, we’ve had a championship, 4 final fours, 2 elite 8s, a second round loss, and the NIT year. If that’s not acceptable to you….you are stupid and don’t matter.

  6. ilovekaturday

    This season is a wash let’s just call it what it is this is a waste of our time now watching this team they couldn’t stop a nose bleed

  7. crazycatfan65

    I’ve said it many times before and I’ll keep on saying it until these low basketball IQ players LEARN the game of basketball. No matter how many stay or go from this years team, next years team wont be much better unless the new guys have a lot higher basketball IQ than these current Cats have. This team has to have the lowest basketball IQ of any team I have seen in years.

    1. dismore

      100% agree

    2. Aar

      The medicine for low basketball IQ is experience.

    3. kjd

      Completely agree with you, crazycatfan65.

  8. bigbluenation90

    Season is over! Our 2018-19 football season has been over because we are never going to be good in football. Hopefully our 2018-19 hoops team next year can improve.

    1. ilovekaturday

      To bad Duke got all of our players so we’re gonna suck then too!!!!! All hail one and dones!!!!!!!

    2. bigbluenation90

      Yeah no kidding! Looks like we MIGHT have a shot next year in hoops but unless Benny Snell runs like Forest Gump next year we’re gonna have another 6-6 7-5 season.

    3. ilovekaturday

      I can’t snell what he’s cooking so it might be worse than that. We have no hope in hoops if were relying on that clown Tyler Zero.

    4. unbridled

      Ilovekaturday, do you parents know that you are on the internet little guy? Is it nap time yet? Now get your blank or and go to sleep. The adults are speaking.

  9. cantgetright

    Feel like a team full of Daniel Ortons. Full of potential but too busy with themselves and not buying in. Guess he’ll have some new teammates in Japan after the G league stint ends.

    1. bigbluenation90

      I agree this 1 and done stuff is getting old. Those kids have never cared about the University! Their here 6 months what do they care?

  10. BigBlueOnYou

    This season is a joke.. just a bunch of selfish awful teammates that only care about draft stock. Anyone else reminiscing on a different coach?

  11. ilovekaturday

    I miss John wall

  12. henderblue

    Looks like the armpit of America came back to life after your comments rg454. It’s a Walmart kind of crowd

  13. kjd

    Said a couple of weeks ago, and sticking to it, Diallo is a cancer to this team.
    NBA told Diallo to improve his shot. He has not. He has not improved his game thus he cannot help the team.
    Athletes don’t win titles.

    1. RealCatsFan

      Beginning to agree with you about Diallo. Although he did a few things for us offensively late in the game. But a shitty attitude will negate those contributions and take the team in the opposite direction.

  14. Jiminy Crickets

    I know this is Cals go to message every year “buying in”, but exactly what are these guys not “buying in” to?? We don’t run any kind of offense other than a Harlem globe trotter weave at 3/4 court, then one pass and drive to rim. There’s no motion, there’s no offense. Before you say this is what they’re not buying in to, this is the exact offense we have always run, we are just used to having guys that could bully their war to rim and score, this year we don’t. I posted after the Kansas game the last time we lost 75% of our scoring from year before was 2013 and this year. The only time we did not have a top 5 PG was 2013 and this year. We all know how 2013 turned out

    1. catsarerunnin


  15. bluewave

    The key to happiness in life sometimes is low expectations. I said this was a 10-loss team from the beginning. They just aren’t that good. Most of these kids look like 7-9 depth, not starters. The other teams play for respect against us because of the name on the front AND the name on the back. They want to beat Uk, and they want to show these “all-stars” that they don’t give a s*it about your ranking in the draft. I think we will win at auburn, and sneak into the NCAA field, only to lose in the first or second game. Cal’s In a pickle, because If he sits the guys who won’t run the plays he calls, we lose then too. However, firing Cal is the dumbest thing we could do, and thankfully it wont happen. HE will work it out, but it might be next year. No leaders, no shooting(injuries), plus he missed on a couple guys, and the chemistry is bad on this team. They don’t come together, and currently are frustrated at each other and the coach. They’re too young to realize they have to play hard 4o minutes every game. Even the kids who are trying don’t have the skills or Hoops IQ to make a difference. Take what we get, there’s gonna be years like this. #rebuilding

    1. BigBlueOnYou

      Dude that was awful.. please reconsider posting on this website. Thanks.

    2. RealCatsFan

      Actually that made more sense than the dribble posted by the majority of the whiners who came out of the woodwork on this site.

    3. bluewave

      BigblueonYOU-thank you for your amazing feedback. Mom’s basement in Louisville must be frustrating, but don’t take it out here. Troll elsewhere, dude.

  16. bigbluenation90

    We will never win again if CAL is our coach. He can no longer get the top guys and has never been able to coach!

  17. ilovekaturday

    I’ve been saying for years all cal does it roll the ball out there and Davis cousins wall bledsoe randle kat AINT WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR…………but Brad is

  18. henderblue

    I agree with everything you said bluewave. We missed on Bagley and Trae Young and instead got Richards and Quade. Those two guys would have made this year’s team pretty good. This year we missed on the kids that Duke is getting, but we got some good ones coming in next year and if enough guys hang around we’ll have a good team next year and maybe a little more happiness.

    1. ilovekaturday

      O so two of the best 5 college players in the country would of made this team better no shit Sherlock how long it take you to come up with that

    2. henderblue

      Did I mention that katurday is an asshole? Need I? I didn’t think so. But he is

  19. bigbluenation90

    What kind of post is that? Do you want Mikal Bridges too? How about Joel Berry? Or even Mo Bamba? Dont take a genius to figure out we would be better with them! But we don’t! We have Brad Calipari instead!

    1. ilovekaturday

      I bet if Anthony Davis and John wall was on this team we’d be better too lol I mean nice job there jay bilas

    2. catdaddyd

      Wall still can’t shoot, he’d be no help.

  20. binarysolo

    This is what it is. We have a shaky team? Just wait until next season and we’ll have a whole new roster. We have a great team? Unfortunately the next season and we’ll have a whole new roster.

    Just accept Kentucky basketball for what it is and just enjoy the ride. We have zero continuity from one season to the next but we’re never boring!

    1. ilovekaturday

      But your comment was exceptionally boring and not well thought out so please go study some and then come back cause we aren’t very good we won’t be good next year continuity has nothing to do with cal not being able to coach

  21. my2sense

    IMHO this list is some of the things we need to improve as a team and also as a fan base:

    1.) we have the best coach for our program. Check out the elite 8’s and final fours and a Natty too in 9 years.
    2.) This team needs to play like a team not individuals. Stop selfish play and grow up
    3.) stop putting so much stock in player rankings. This team is proof rankings aren’t always accurate. Also put stock in a player’s team play when recruiting. Not just how many stars beside his name.

    Make more interviews with media and sportscasters about talent and how they will play toward their skills and tournament chances, etc., and less emphasis on preparing them for next level. Everyone already knows that but don’t make it sound like that’s all that matters. It’s not Cal’s intention but some of the fan base thinks it is. Cal wants more banners no doubt.
    4.) if fans are critical, be critical about the play, not degrading players or fans who are sharing their frustration; as well as to stop brow beating those that share their frustrations on this or other site. Basically discuss the action and not individuals with degradation and vulgarity. Remember, it’s like turning on the news; you will hear who shot who or who raped who and how many druggies got busted. Positive stuff is mentioned most times as it’s heading to break or something. For every negative comment maybe alter that with 2 positive remarks.

    Anyway, I love UK and I’m proud of this program. And like other folk I will criticize poor play but I will also shout to the roof tops when we play well. That being said fans can be both critical and positive. At the end of the day we’re al BIG Blue fans.

    Anyway these are a few things I just cane up with. Doesn’t make them right but it does make them my opinion. Like butts we all have one.

    Support Coach Cal and support our teams through good and bad. Fuss when you need to but praise twice as much.

    1. BigBlueOnYou

      God bless there should be a character limit for idiot comments like that.. PLEASE take that garbage take somewhere else

    2. my2sense

      BigBlueOnYou bless your heart. I see you have issues with bluewave as well as me. Do you not underother people have opinions, not just you? Those are mine. I don’t need your permission to convey them. I’m sorry you’re so miserable. Bless your heart

  22. KYjellyRoll

    This team doesn’t “suck”. They’re in a rut. The only players engaged in the game throughout is SGA and vanderbuilt. Knox and Richards are too timid, Diallo gets down on himself and PJ looks so dosconnected. This team lacks the emotional and friendship connections with each other. They just seem so out of sorts with each other. Once they gel…they can pull this together. That’s the catch. Together. Go cats

    1. ilovekaturday

      They suck

  23. RealCatsFan

    Anyone else get the feeling that the three “fans” with Big Blue in their names are the same person with multiple logins? Betting this person isn’t even a UK fan – probably a UL troll.

  24. dollaz

    We will be more competitive in football with Texas A&M than basketball haha. At least the football team should have more support this year.

  25. empiremaker

    So, I will not hold this team’s youth and inexperience against them, some kids take longer to learn and unfortunately we don’t have enough time till the end of the season. Where do we go from here? Obvious answer is next season.

  26. tmcclan16

    its all good still time to take care of business. this is not a normal year in college basketball right now. win a few of these next games and they will be fine. Once your in anything can happen and these guys as bad as they have played always seem to step up when the spotlight is on. Stay off of Cal this is a good bunch of guys that just havent gelled. I would rather see talent than be the rest of the SEC year in and year out. Go Cats