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Greg Oden’s Thursday News and Views


Congratulations to Greg Oden, the former Ohio State star and 2007 #1 NBA Draft pick, who scored his first points in a regular season NBA game in four years tonight, coming off the bench for the Miami Heat.

It’s been a long, hard road for Oden, who broke the patella in his left knee in 2009 and after rehabbing, suffered a series of additional knee injuries that led to the Blazers releasing him in 2012.  With Chris Andersen sidelined by sore knee, the Heat activated Oden Wednesday night, marking his first regular season NBA game in 1,502 days.  His first basket?  A dunk:

Oden finished with six points in eight minutes, which isn’t bad for a 124-year-old man. (Remember the ‘Greg Oden looks old’ jokes?)

Now, onto the news and views.

The difference a dunk makes

I hate the term “moral victory,” and I feel like after last season, we got really good at highlighting the good things in Kentucky’s losses in order to keep this place from having the atmosphere of a funeral parlor.  Last night, as Michael Qualls threw down the dunk at the buzzer and closed the door on the Cats, oddly enough, I wasn’t really that upset.  Arkansas won on a dunk at the buzzer. How angry can you get at that? Like Cal said, “I hate losing, but I’m fine. Those kids did not quit.”

Now, some serious flaws were exposed last night.  I’m sorry, Cal, but I’m going to worry about free throw shooting.  I can’t help it, they’re free, and sometimes our best shooters seem to be missing more than our big guys.  Cal said that his players are hitting them in practice just fine, so if they need a crowd in the Joe Craft Center to simulate game situations, I know a few people around here that would be more than willing to help out.

Also, at times, this team still looks a little lost on offense, more often than not relying on second chance points.  On his radio show Wednesday night, Cal said that the team is still holding on to the ball too long and there are too many “ball-stoppers.”  Translation: score and pass quicker.

A great photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

A great photo by Chet White, UK Athletics


…a lot of good things happened last night.  The Cats didn’t fold in a hostile environment, whereas last year they would have slunked out the door after the first half.  In fact, they fought back and took Arkansas to overtime.  It would have gone to double overtime if not for a freak dunk with 0.2 left.  Had the Cats won in double OT, the mood around here would be very different, as Cal pointed out on his radio show: “It’s the first step that I’ve seen us fight, and it’s funny because if we had won in double OT, any issues we had, you wouldn’t think about.”  Oh, logic…

The teamwork in the last ten minutes of regulation and overtime was excellent, showcasing the bonds the players formed over Camp Cal and the first weeks of SEC play.  For one of the first times this season, the team actually looked like they were having fun out there, and seeing them celebrate Andrew’s three to take the game to overtime was awesome.  I also liked how Julius Randle wouldn’t let James Young accept blame for the loss afterwards, telling reporters if “one person messes up, we’ve got to have each other’s back. That’s what we’ve got to get to.”

Another positive: no fear in clutch situations.  It wasn’t Willie or Alex that hit the two biggest shots in the game; it was freshmen Andrew Harrison and James Young.  Even though they’re young, this group is tough, and they’ll need that come March.  Cal said that the only disappointing thing that happened in the game was the last play: “We fought and we didn’t stop playing, and we played with courage down the stretch and made plays to give us a chance to win.”

Should Alex Poythress start?


Alex’s progress has been so great that Calipari dropped another hint Wednesday night that he may find his way in the starting lineup, an interesting topic of debate.  On one hand, there’s no denying Poythress has been playing great, but who do you start him over?  Randle?  Think of the points and rebounds you’d lose. Willie?  Where do you get your interior defense?  James Young?  Young showed us how much we need his offense Tuesday night.  Also, Alex has finally settled in to his sixth man role.  Is it wise to shake that up so soon?

Where do we go from here?

Looking ahead, the Cats don’t have much room for error if they want a good seed in the tournament.  I don’t see them losing at home, except to maybe Florida, who will likely beat them in Gainesville.  Missouri and LSU on the road are tricky games as well.  For the Cats to get a three seed, they can’t lose any games outside those.  Once again, Cal likened this team to his 2011 squad, which lost several close games in the SEC but made it to the Final Four.  Losing sucks, but if it teaches this team some adversity that will help them in the postseason, that’s fine by me.

Karl Towns is no longer a child

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 5.56.09 PM

Towns posted this on Instagram last night, proof that he is no longer just a manchild.  He’s a man.

On that note, it’s not hard to let your mind drift to next year’s team already.  While there are some players that will certainly go pro (Julius, Willie, James Young), there are more that we’ve heard may return, like Alex, Dakari, and Marcus Lee.  With the Harrison twins’ draft stock dropping (Draft Express doesn’t even list them in the 2014 draft), they’re still a toss-up, and on Wednesday, ESPN Insider Chad Ford encouraged them to return to school for a second season.  Add in Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis with a year under their belts and the incoming freshmen and that’s a team with a true mix of experience and talent.


Random link of the night

If you haven’t seen them yet, go check out these NFL team’s logos reimagined as hipsters.  As someone whose neighborhood is overrun with hipsters, I say it’s funny because it’s true.

See you in the morning.

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.

38 responses to “Greg Oden’s Thursday News and Views”

  1. mashburnfan1

    While Tubby could not recruit the top players and that hurt, he can coach. His much less talented team than our UK team just beat Baylor, which we could not do. They were up 19 at half and game was not close since.

    1. Randall McCoy

      Yeah, Tubby can coach so well that his team was 0-3 in conference going in to the Baylor game, and 8-8 on the year. That’s the same kind of coaching genius that got him fired at Minnesota last year. Sure wish we still had that winning genius here at UK.
      Some of you people amaze me.

    2. jch67

      Randall, thank you for saving me the keystrokes…

  2. BPStorn

    I said it before and I’ll say it again…and again…and again until Calipari gets it b/c he clearly STILL has not figured it…KentuckY Basketball out.

    1. KentuckY basketball fans are different than any other fanbase and not just b/c of our fanaticism. What really separates us is our true passion AND basketball IQ. It is very, very condescending (and that’s my biggest beef w/ Coach C) for him to even suggest that we would be perfectly ok if they had one in double-OT last night when he knows very well, or should at this point, that we’d be having very nearly the exact same conversations = BECAUSE we GET basketball and understand how to dissect and analyze the game…our team’s strengths and weaknesses.

    2. KentuckY should ALWAYS…ALWAYS have the best two teams in the nation. One on the court and the other on the bench. Coach C finally, after four years, learned this the hard way last year despite his belly-aching about KentuckY fans pointing this out from the day he landed in Lexington as our next coach.

    3. Free-throw shooting MATTERS, Coach C. And don’t pretend it doesn’t. It makes you look stupid and is, again, condescending to the greatest, most intelligent basketball fanbase in the world. And don’t try to feed us some ridiculous line about how your teams can’t shoot FT’s b/c they play too fast and can’t slow down. It’s clearly b/c, as talented as you are, you OBVIOUSLY canNOT teach young man how to shoot a free-throw and have not figured out how to augment your inability w/ someone who can.

    1. soggyUKgrad

      It’s hard to take someone seriously when they claim to be intelligent but use the word one when they meant won. Please stop pretending like you are an elected official who is put in charge of speaking on our fanbase’s behalf. If you honestly believe that our 6-10 players should be the 2nd best team in the country, then I’m surprised you’re intelligent enough to even leave a comment on a sports blog.

  3. AaronGabbart

    Baylor just dropped a game to TTU by 10 points, and is 1-2 in conference play. That loss is going to sting come March.

  4. GoCats2

    Who cares about Greg Oldman? Should have given some love to the the former Cats who had great nights tonight in the NBA not Oden(a Buckeye??)
    Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis, and Darius Miller were all in the same game and played great.
    Enes Kanter played great.
    Brandon Knight had a great game, and Cousins again as usual.
    You could have at least mentioned that John Wall played great beating the Heat with Greg Oden.

  5. Chaz

    Think carefully now. I’ll cheer Tubby at Rupp anytime, but do we really want him to bring a basketball team with him? Chances are slim TT could win, but they did beat Baylor tonight which we have not accomplished in a couple of years. Anyway, that’s a thought for down the road.

  6. Louisville1Cal5

    If this team ends up like they can & should, I say we lose Randle, WCS, Harrison’s, Young, & Poythress. If Poythress continues playing/developing like he has/is then his stock will sky rocket.
    If we manage to return Johnson, Poythress, & Lee that would be amazing though. Our front court would again easily be the strongest & most deep.

    1. soggyUKgrad

      One Harrison = Harrison.
      Two Harrisons = Harrisons.
      Why do so many people add an apostrophe to make a noun plural?

    2. DouchePatrol

      Maybe because it was late at night & some of us don’t think straight before bed, you must though & never make mental errors huh? lol Douche.

    3. soggyUKgrad

      What’s your excuse for a poorly written run-on sentence? “I don’t think straight before I get my afternoon juice box.”

  7. AaronGabbart

    “I don’t see them losing at home, except to maybe Florida, who will likely beat them in Gainesville. Missouri and LSU on the road are tricky games as well. For the Cats to get a three seed, they can’t lose any games outside those.”

    They really can’t afford to drop more than a few of these, tbh. I’m assuming a loss at Gainesville. Then of the follow games

    vs Florida

    The Cats can really only afford to lose 2. If the Cats don’t beat Florida at home, they won’t have a marquee win at home, which is a problem. Worse yet, if they don’t beat Florida away or Missouri away, they won’t have a marquee win on the road. This leads me to believe that the Missouri game away and Florida game at Rupp are the two most important left on our schedule.

    1. Louisville1Cal5

      Cats won’t lose to Florida at Rupp. @ LSU, @ Mizzo, & @ Florida maybe, but no losses at Rupp this season IMO.

    2. CatsFanFrankfort

      Louisville is the marquee win at Rupp. But I agree we gotta beat Florida at home. And we have to pick up 2 of the 3 away games you mentioned. And probably at least make the conference championship. If we drop @Florida, and EITHER @LSU or @Mizzou AND we win the tournament, then thats a 2 seed in my book. We’d be 25-6 before the conference tourney, 28-6 after. If we end up 27-7 or 26-8, we’re looking at a 4 seed at best.

  8. Rei

    I was heartbroken by that loss at Arkansas and still am. Calling a loss to an unranked team who probably won’t even make the tournament a “moral victory”? C’mon.

    1. Louisville1Cal5

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  9. Lessons

    If they learned from that loss I could handle it better. But this season is showing they aren’t really learning from anything. They win and stay in games because of size and two guys having a big game. Usually Randle and somebody. We are missing that Miller-like player that will shoot and hit the 12 to 15 footer. We either score in the paint or jack up a 3.
    And if Willis had any sense he would transfer. I was very hard on Wiltjer but he obviously did the right thing.

    1. Randall McCoy

      I admire fans who speak the truth.
      Those of us who love the team the way we love our children do not pretend that everything is sunshine and roses when it is not. You are exactly correct that size gives us a rebounding edge, and that saves us in many games, because we can’t shoot and we turn the ball over and won’t play tough defense. James Young missed nine shots in this game, not counting the multiple free throws he missed. Julius Randle had five turnovers because he won’t stop trying to use that high school spin move. Our point guard also had five turnovers wildly driving the lane and hoping to get bailed out by a foul call. THEY ARE NOT LEARNING SQUAT.

  10. Perfect Patterson

    I wouldn’t say hipsters overran your neighborhood, rather you moved to the hipster neighborhood of Nashville.
    You always bash E. Nashville’s hipsters, just move to West End if hipsters, good food, and smokey bars are not your thing.

  11. UK Freshmen

    Let’s face it. This team isn’t progressing. Its not getting better. The Twinkies attitudes are the same rott

    1. L1C5

      They are progressing and you’re still trolling. Why don’t you worry about your Tards, if anyone needs to progress its them. They suck and I’d prefer our win over them to not be meaningless.

  12. SMH

    I still can’t believe we’re talking about how to salvage a possible 3 seed. A 3 seed? I can’t believe how far this team has fallen from preseason expectations. Comparing them to the Fab Five now seems like a terrible joke.

    1. PhilUK18

      You do realize that the Fab Five lost 9 times in the regular season, right?

    2. PhilUK18

      And they were a 6 seed in the tournament. Having some vague clue what you’re talking about is always nice, you should try it some time.

    3. Thelma

      Agreed. Matt Jones hyped up this team to be one of the great UK teams that fans should “sit back and enjoy and appreciate”…they will be lucky to get a #4 seed in the tourney. The fact is the Harrison twins are not even close to as good as their talent ranking coming out of high school. They are a very big disappointment. Supposed to be the #1 point guard and #1 shooting guard, give me a break…

    4. Louise

      So they aren’t living up the unbelievable hype, they are still a good team and will be solid in March. Bank on it.

  13. lonnieb

    The people on here saying that the team is not progressing should just move on to something they understand. The ONLY thing that really has not improved is free throw shooting. Every other aspect of the team….well except maybe randle is much improved. If he would just pass it out of double and triple teams we would be fine. ITs sad that some of the “fans” on here think the are the “smartest” fans in the world, but are dont understand that when cal says free throws do not matter he is just trying to relieve some added pressure that the misses keep piling up. If he called them out on it all the time it would only get worse… really is sad to be a uk fan if we are not hands down the best team in the country b/c we have the dumbest (IQ wise) and unsupportive fans in the country

    1. L1C5

      Most of the people saying that crap on here are trolls. UK Freshmen is the most pathetic troll to hit KSR. I almost feel sorry for him.

  14. jcatron

    Yes start Poythress.

    Aaron Harrison

    1. notwitch

      agree with this. Poythress should be at the 3 (rebounds, drives for dunks and shoots from 3 better than anyone else I can think of) and Young at the 2. Only 1 Harrison on the court at 1 time.

  15. explorer

    Agree with #13. We do have some of the dumbest fans. Some people actually believe that Cal is going to come out and say publicly that they suck at free throws. That would kill their psyche. Free throws are like putting in golf, its matter of confidence when you step up to the putt or line.

  16. Mean Randy

    6 or 7 seed at best

  17. UKBlue1!

    I dont think it matters who starts. Its about the minutes. Poythress should be playing more minutes around 25. Several need to be playing less minutes and more agressive when they’re in there. Randle’s body is only allowing him to be really effective for about 30 minutes a game. Let him go full blown and rest him for a minute or two every other time out. I would like to see Hawkins and Polson play a little more. The twins effectiveness might improve with a little less time on the court.

  18. James

    Guys lets just be honest Randle comes out of the game for not playing D, James Young never plays D so maybe the bench will motivate him to not only shoot his arm off but play hard all around. Polson runs what little offense we run much smoother than either Hawkins or Harrison at this point but I dont think he has the tools Cal wants in a player.

    1 major thing Im pretty tired of hearing, fighting and playing hard DOES NOT EQUAL WINS. Its playing hard the RIGHT WAY that gets you wins, and that comes from COACHING not yelling PLAY over and over again, maybe he should tell him the right way to play since oh I dont know thats his job. If they dont listen bench them your gonna lose anyway.

    The team played like freshman on the road and the lack of any offensive cohesion is really becoming a huge issue, against good teams a lot of the shots the Cats got last night dont happen. Still a lot of things to work on and the team should really be better right now than it is.

    Cal can recruit and is a pretty decent coach but the last two years have really been bad for him.

    Positive note AP finally looks like he gets it and that might mean we can play small ball with teams instead of having Willie basically just take up space and do nothing 1 out of every 2 games.

  19. Juxtaposition

    Yes, they are “free.” But they are also “throws.” Throw. An adequate description of what many of our guys are doing.

  20. evan

    its to freaking early to worry about next years team. live in the moment!!!!!!