Late last night, word started to circle that the UK basketball roster had a shakeup at the bottom of the depth chart and that a number of walk-ons would not be returning to be a part of John Calipari’s first season in charge. Adam Delph was the first name tossed out there after he got all 2008 on us and announced his dismissal via Facebook. Then, WKYT reported after I dosed off to sleep that Mark Krebs was the only walk-on returning next year, meaning that a pair of fan favorites, Dwight Perry and Matt Scherbenske, were also sent on their way. While it should be noted that UK has not confirmed this yet or released anything official, this situation still sucks.
Far too often in sports we hear about players being kicked off for breaking rules or players not taking advantage of a situation that fans would kill to experience just once. Those types of stories seem to be a dime a dozen these days and when those players get the boot, it doesn’t really register in the fanbase outside of a “What impact does this have on my team?” debate. But, this situation is a lot different. The guys who have supposedly been told they are not returning weren’t going to see any clock next year. They weren’t going to have their jerseys in the bookstore or NBA scouts asking about them. They probably won’t have their pseudo-personality on a video game. They weren’t even going to get a free education. These were just a couple of kids who, through their hard work and positive attitudes, were living the dream that so many of us want for ourselves and our kids and, for that reason, their dismissal registers with us. So, Coach Cal, I hope you’re ready for some negative feedback.
But, that doesn’t mean what Calipari did was wrong or that we should even be surprised. With the departure of the trio of walk-ons, Calipari has now sent 12 players from last year’s massive roster packing and that, folks, is what we signed up for. Change. Turnover. Improvement. Unfortunately, just like when he didn’t meet with Landon Slone, it’s not always going to be that storybook fairy tale that we want to believe happens behind the doors at Memorial Coliseum. In an ideal world, Dwight Perry would be at Senior Night this year, Scherbenske would be Tweetin’ his heart out from the road and Adam Delph would be forming another homegrown legacy. But, as we should have started to expect when no walk-ons were listed on UK’s updated roster, it looks like that story book ending won’t be happening. Instead we’ll have to turn our heads to a happy ending that, hopefully, will take place the first weekend of April in Indianapolis.