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It’s So Hard, To Say Goodbye – Part 3: The Show Stealers

It’s So Hard, To Say Goodbye is a four part series, click here for part one, and here for part two.  Look for the final installment either tomorrow or Thursday.

This was the only photo I could find of Krebs and Cousins together.

When taking a list and pairing the items together, there will no doubt be some that seem not to fit together.  However, Demarcus Cousins and Mark Krebs, while an unlikely duo, came to represent two big parts of what we loved so much about this team.  Both Cousins and Krebs loved basketball, both loved their experiences in Lexington, and both of them loved KSR (or at least that’s what I’m told.)  In the end, both found places in the bluegrasses heart not only for what they could do on the court, but how they acted off the court. While one was a huge contributor all season long, and one was a victory cigar senior, both players became KSR favorites over the course of the season.

From the first time KSR got a picture of Demarcus Cousins cheesing it up – because we made fun of his no smile policy – we knew he would be a special player.  On the court, we watching him grow from a hot headed freshman to an unshakable and unguardable beast on the court. Early in the season, Cousins proved himself to be true – on the court he was “mean as sh*t.”  It had been a while since Kentucky had a player of his caliber, and we loved him for his mean streak as much as his talent, even if it meant he would “inevitably be ejected from a game,” as so many talking heads were fond of telling us.  Yet Calipari isn’t a Head Coach for nothing, and through his influence, Cousins learned to have fun on the court.  He learned to make the opponent pay by making them look silly, and with that maturation he became the best big man in the country.

However, as great as he was on the court, it was his off the court antics that made him one of the most enjoyable Cats in recent memories.  From the Peter Parker swag, to the ‘call me’ signs, to trash talking Cornell for being nerds, Boogie stamped his personality on this team, and without him they likely never would have been as successful – even outside his contributions from a pure numbers stand point.  So when it came out after the season that Cousins loved us as much as we loved him – he said he had never felt accepted like this before – it only cemented his place in Kentucky Lore.

But perhaps no players are loved more unconditionally by sports fans than the ones at the end of the bench. Think about it.  We only see most of these players when the game is essentially over because of a sizable lead from one team or another.  If it’s because Kentucky is winning, we love the players because they signify another victory.  However, even in losses we enjoy watching them on the off chance they will sink a three or make a spectacular play.  We love watching the Dwight Perrys, Preston Lemasters, and Mark Krebs of the world because we imagine that maybe we could be lucky enough to fill in those spots, too.

Mark never saw many minutes as a wildcat (in fact, over three years he only totaled 72 game minutes,) but we won’t remember him for that.  In all of our interactions with Krebs he has always been a beacon of positivity, he has always been willing to stop and chat, offer an interesting note, and has seemed like any of us would in the Kentucky locker room, incredibly appreciative to be there.  Even through family crises, Mark was able to see the good in life and because of that (and his three against Cornell) he became a role model for Kentucky kids everywhere.

Boogie Plays With A Baby

Demarcus Cousins Sends It To Overtime

Mark Krebs Does A Hood Impression, And Discusses How He Became A Wildcat

We expect both of you to come on future podcasts.

Article written by Will Lentz