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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Would We Have Loved Lonzo Ball?


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I remember writing a similar post a few years ago about one of the biggest villains in recent UK history, Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss.  On the one hand, Henderson was a complete knucklehead, outspoken, and easily hateable.  On the other hand, he was a decent player.  Would he have been a “star” at Kentucky, of course not.  Would he have seen a decent amount of minutes at UK, yes.  As it turned out, UK actually dominated Henderson in most of their meetings and because he played for Ole Miss and wasn’t an NBA prospect, Henderson quickly came and went in our minds.

Lonzo Ball is a whole different animal.  This guy will be at the forefront of the basketball landscape for the next 10 years or more.  He is a great talent.  Say what you want about how Fox dominated him the NCAA Tournament, I think Ball will be a very capable NBA player.  He has the size and court vision of an elite point guard.  And while he has an incredibly ugly looking jump shot, it goes in.  I don’t see him being a bust.

So what I like to wonder, in a hypothetical sense of course, is what if Lonzo Ball had went to Kentucky?  Let’s get a couple undeniable facts out of the way:

  1. Lonzo Ball would have been an amazing player at UK.  He would have been another in a long line of great Calipari point guards.  I would much rather have had Fox, but Ball would have been a star here too.
  2. Lonzo Ball was never an issue on or off the court.  There is not a single anecdote out there about Ball being a bad teammate, poor worker, difficult to coach, or of questionable character.
  3. Lavar Ball would have been just as much of a loudmouth here as he was at UCLA.  It wasn’t Steve Alford’s fault and Cal wouldn’t have been able to stop somebody who wants to talk and be as ridiculous as Lavar.

So back to the original question: If Lonzo Ball had played here, how would we view him and the entire circus surrounding him?  There are a couple ways I could see it having gone here and maybe fans would have fallen into all of these categories:

  1. REJECTION: UK fans wouldn’t care how good Ball was, his father would make it impossible to support his kid in the pros.  Calipari, for the first time in his career, would also basically reject the kid, wouldn’t tweet about his NBA accomplishments, hug him at the draft.  The fanbase would choose character over winning.
  2. LUKEWARM SUPPORT: Yeah his dad is a fool but the guy can play.  We basically turn a blind eye to the antics off the court and recognize how much Lonzo brings it on the court, plus he’s a good kid, so we support him (just not his dad)
  3. ALL OUT SUPPORT: Hell yeah his dad is cocky.  This fanbase is cocky.  We love the bravado.  In fact, that’s the type of guy we love.  Kentucky is only for some people, and those people are Lonzo and Lavar Ball.  And bring the other Ball kids too (only if they can play).

One thing I am sure of is John Calipari would never consider taking on a hassle like Lonzo/Lavar Ball.  Sports parents can be problems at all levels and I am sure Cal has dealt with some whoppers.  But Lavar Ball is the King Moron and Cal ended up with the better player anyway.

But my question isn’t about Cal.  My question is about the fanbase.  If we had a player with Ball’s talent but also Ball’s baggage, would we love him as much as we love the Anthony Davis, John Wall, Karl-Anthony Towns type player.  Because Lonzo Ball could potentially be as good as those guys.  And I think UCLA will absolutely own him as one of their own if he does.

Would we?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

25 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Would We Have Loved Lonzo Ball?”

  1. t_f_licker

    Did UK fans hate Henderson? I loved him personally. Very entertaining. May have been a different story had they ever gave us a close game.

  2. STLouisBBFan

    “had went” smh

  3. macsauce13

    Marshall Henderson was trash, on and off the court.

    As far as Ball goes, I think lukewarm is about right. We would acknowledge that he seems to be a good kid, with the potential for immense success, but we would have HATED Lavar as much as we do now.

  4. 2Dogs

    I don’t feel like researching it. Anybody know if we recruited/offered Ball?

    1. Luether

      Didn’t bother because he was a UCLA lock…

  5. chris43

    I’m by no means a fan BUT Lonzo doesn’t seem like a bad kid. Excellent player on the court and no problems off the court that I’ve heard of anyway. I actually kinda feel sorry for him. I honestly haven’t heard the kid say much but his father won’t shut up. I’m kinda thinking if he was a Wildcat that we would have liked him but he wouldn’t have been a fan favorite due to his ignorant troll azz father.

  6. 2Dogs

    Hellz yeah you would have loved him. You better recognize greatness when you see it. You would have been lucky to have him on your team. Wanna buy some shoes?

    Yours truly
    Lavar

  7. ClutchCargo

    I would want no part of the Ball family circus. It was bad enough when we had Momma Legion.

    1. Luether

      And Harrison, Sr…

  8. 8xchamp

    I think we would’ve loved him, and in this fan base old pops might have got that chin checked

  9. BlueDeuce

    Undeniable talent but little work effort and passion is what I would have thought of Ball. I watched him in a few other games during the season and while you can see the immense talent he has he always seemed to be going half throttle with little desire to play 100%. That is what would have frustrated me the most and by the end of the year I would have been tired of him.

    His father is a whole other story but I can tolerate parents if the kid is a good kid and the passion and care is there…Ball didn’t have it to me. He seemed more concerned with stardom than ever working hard enough to commit to being a college player and I think he would have done that at any school.

    I think it takes him a few years to realize he has to go 100% all the time in the NBA before he can truly be a great PG. Whether he does or doesn’t do that is entirely up to him. Personally, I think he’ll be fine (maybe a starter) but never reach the stardom he so desires (or his father desires). The attitude simply isn’t there and the passion isn’t there. The talent is…

  10. 3 fan

    We as a fan base don’t have a strong attachment with Rajon Rondo or Daniel Orton for example so it can happen.

  11. Loserville Hater

    I doubt Calipari would have put up with Lavar’s crap. He would have put a cork in that bottle early.

    1. ClutchCargo

      I don’t think there is a cork big enough for that bottle. Cal just wouldn’t have taken him in the first place. UK is truly not for everybody, even the really talented ones.

  12. CatsFanFrankfort

    Seems like a decent kid in a difficult situation, being overshadowed by his father’s big mouth. But I’ll give you one reason why I personally would have been frustrated with him: DEFENSE. Everyone loves to say Lonzo has otherworldly ‘court-vision’, which may be true, although the term is overused when it comes to him, I think. (Ulis had equally good if not better court-vision, just not the size). And while he is undeniably a good player, the kid doesn’t play anything close to good defense. What Calipari PG has been such a liability on defense? He simply would not have put up with that aspect of his game. Ball actually might have improved it over the course of the year, playing under Cal, but I know that I would have been screaming-at-my-TV-mad every time this year he got burned on a high screen or the pick-and-roll. Which would have been multiple times a game.

    1. Sentient Third Eye

      I wonder if Ball would have actually played better D for Cal? Otherwise, Cal might have just said, “I can’t play you.”

  13. RackEmWillie

    I think he would have been someone that UK fans would have very much enjoyed.

    Everyone would have been fine with he, because he does seem like a genuinely good kid. Everybody would have just tuned out his dad, or just acknowledged that he was crazy.

  14. UKSam

    He would have sold more shoes.

    1. ClutchCargo

      And they might have actually been brand name shoes that people want to buy.

  15. UK Fan In Nashville

    If he had come to Kentucky, I think we would have won the championship. I couldn’t imagine a backcourt with as much shooting skill and athleticism as we would have had with Ball and Monk. He would be the number one overall pick if he had played in Cal’s guard-favorable system, and we would have absolutely loved him.

    1. CatsFanFrankfort

      I don’t think you’re giving enough credit to the defense that Fox played. Yes, we would have shot the ball better, but no way would we have been as good with Lonzo on D.

    2. playmorezeppelin

      Nope

  16. GeorgiaBlue

    I would have loved having Lonzo without Lavar. But considering the package deal, I had rather have Lucille.

  17. CatBlue in LR

    “…what if Lonzo Ball had went to Kentucky?”

    Well, my question is what if he HAD GONE to Kentucky?

    That’s 4th-grade subject-verb conjugation. At least it was in my day, jeez…

  18. GroundControlToNumber9

    Had we gotten ball… we would have likely:

    1. Been been better.
    2. Hated his dad still.

    This analysis is simply based on the team we had and what we needed to become better.

    – Last years team lacked the ‘chemistry’ that can even beat good teams backed by the refs.
    – What makes for a better chemistry than we had would be a ‘play maker’ point guard with a legitimate triple threat capability from anywhere on the court.

    Had we had a PG that could get the respect of defenses as a legit 3 point threat it would have prevented defenses from collapsing midway through the season (especially when we tried to play Fox & Briscoe at the same time).

    1. Opening up the middle
    2. More likely to create the play for Bam (leveraging him) and other big men.
    3. So when teams figured out how to slow down our runouts (tranisition game) in late December with Ball we would have continued to be lethal on the half court.

    I love De’Arron Fox… and it would be a tough pick for a college team if you could chose one just as it’s a tough pick for the NBA teams here in a week.

    But it has to do with building a castle… and IMO Ball would have complemented the collection of players we happened to have last season more than Fox. It’s not much more… but maybe enough to get us out of the playbook of crooked refs.