It is time for a new feature on the Kentucky Sports Radio blog. To get ready for the UK season, we are going to re-introduce all the UK players to the fans with our own versions of player introductions, taking our own unique views of the players in all their glory. Each of these will be similar, with my take on the player, followed by those of some of the regular Kentucky Sports Radio participants. We also encourage you folks to use the comments for your own take on the players…..but remember this is not the place for ranting about players, but rather keep it in good spirits.
And of course, we begin with the WOO. It recently hit me that in my long fandom of UK, it may very well be the case that Lukask Obrzut is my favorite UK player. My previous three favorites all had their virtues. I loved the smoothy silk play of Tayshaun Prince, the absurd moustache of Gimel Martinez and the complete Eastern Kentuckiness of Richie Farmer…..but gosh darn it, there is something about Woo. There are serious reasons to love Woo. There is no one who takes more pride in wearing the Kentucky jersey than Lukask Obrzut. I still remember him saying to me after the Louisville game last year that he wanted to win because “the whole world loves Kentucky basketball and I do too.” He hustles, he scraps and he takes whatever role that Tubby Smith gives him and puts 100 percent into it. He is the ultimate team player.
And then there is the goofy. Whether it be the answers he gives in the media guide to the questions (two favorites: Question What food did you eat growing up that you dreaded? Answer Dry Steak. Question What fact do people not know about you that is interesting? Answer I Speak Polish) or his hilarious camoflauge hat that he wore during the SEC Tournament (“Matt it is time to go to battle”), Woo always brings a smile to my face. One of the highlights of my year was watching Woo, Shagari and Jared Carter in a dunk contest early before one game and seeing Woo attempt dunks that he had no business trying (like the Vince Carter between the legs dunk) and making a team that was often divided, come together in laughter.
We all know Woo’s strengths (defense) and limitations (low post scoring and fouling). However I will take a Woo on my team any day. Yes I love absurdity, but I also love kids who bring it every night….and Woo will always do that. Losses bother him and wins cause him to, as he told me last year, “remember how great the blue state of Kentucky is.” Every time Woo scores, I smile and when the crowd yells “WOOOOO” and he waves his arms, it is the best sight short of a dancing Bill Keightley that a man can hope for. When Woo graduates, he says he is going to open a Polish restaurant in Lexington. I will be there opening night and as far as I am concerned it is goulash for all!!!!
Lukash was originally brought to America as a representitive of Poland’s Dance Dance Revolution National Team. In numerous exhibitions all over the southwestern United States, Woo’s footwork made him a local phenomonom, garnering him much praise from the Iroqouis and Sioux Nations. Word got out concerning the 7 footers demolition of arcade prize redemption counters all along the Rio Grande, and sure enough, college recruiters came calling with visions of Roy Munson unearthing the next Ishmael Boorg. Many big time programs were hesitant to take the risk as problems emerged for Woo off the court. In the spring of 2000, Woo consecutively fouled out of a Krogers self check-out line, a Home Depot garden spot, and a Big Brothers, Big Sisters Bowling Fundraiser. Coach Smith, ever the opportunist, took a chance and brought Woo to Lexington for a shot with the Cats. After a mere three seasons, you have the Woo that
stands before you today- a poor man’s Rick Smitts with ADHD.
Will this be the year that Lukasz Orzbut emerges as an All-SEC Center? No. Will this be the year that Woo becomes a key contributor who averages 8 points and 6boards? No. Will Woo make it to most of the games? Probably. And in this last answer we find the beauty in all things Woo. For while many will consider Woo to have been a disappointing Euro that could neither play outside or inside (think, the Anti-Dirk) his upcoming UK swansong will receive absolutely zero ill-will from my end. Sure Woo peaked at his freshman Midnight Madness (I seriously thought he was going to be good), and sure he’s “not a good basketballplayer”, but just as surely, can you say that you have not giggled when Woo awkwardly fouls an opposing bigman? At the very least will you admit that his story is a great one when one considers his combination of nationality and Fish-out-of-waterness. No, Woo will not have a great season and UK fans will not appreciate his Rob Lock charge-taking impersonations,or his comedic presence on the court, but, by gum, I’ll be rooting for Tubby to, “Give us the Pole” ALLYEAR LONG.
The callousness of Warsaw’s steel district in the wintertime has a wayof weeding out the weak; conversely, it hardens the resolve of those resilient enough to conquer its wickedness. Such is the case with Kentucky big man and resident brute, Lukasz Obrzut. After stealing”Big Woo” from the clutches of Slavic industrialization and later Fordham, Kentucky landed 7’3 inches of unadulterated essence. His stats tell a story of confusion, but they also misguide us in the understanding of the “Pulverizing Pole”. Sure, the second coming ofVlade Divac he is not; and yes, he likely holds the NCAA record for most fouls per minute played, but that’s not what I will take away from the days of “Woo”. Every team needs this kind of a guy. The one who will sprint to the scorer’s table with unabridged enthusiasm, even if he knows his sole task is to put the opposing big man on the line.Want an easy lay-up? Not when Woo’s in the paint. In my time at UK, I have never met a more likable, and unique individual than Woo. His outlook on life is infectious, and he’ll take your girlfriend if you’re not careful. I look for Woo to continue his gradual progression on the court this season, and I guarantee he will have a few big games. Unless Jared Carter evolves into Bill Walton, look for Woo to get plenty of minutes in the backup spot, and likely a start or two. No, he won’t leave a significant legacy in the stat book, but his presence in the locker room will be impossible to replace. Good luck big fella.
If the current Kentucky basketball roster was, in fact, The Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Abridged), Lukasz Obrzut would no doubt be this team’s Blue Heron, a rare bird who spends most of its time in a bulky stick nest and, when flying, cranes its long neck downward, trails its feet behind it, and beats against the air with large, awkward wingstrokes. Yet Obrzut has become an unlikely celebrity at the University of Kentucky, stepping onto the court with the deafening roar of his nickname “Woo,” a moniker no doubt born from the title character of the 1998 Jada Pinkett Smith film of the same name. Defensively, Obrzut doesn’t just serve you — he buses your dishes, brings your check, drops off your mints, then awkwardly and without warning big splashes your dinner table into splintered devastation. Offensively, the Polish Behemoth has yet to truly discover his sweet spot, which is believed to only consist of a few inches (with not all of those inches being in succession), but that doesn’t stop Woo from aggressively trying to force his will upon the ball with an Of Mice and Men-esque ferocity. Opponents would be wise to stay out of his shadow, as this Kong could come crashing down at any second. When you begin to hear the gutteral, growing chant of “Wooooo,” from the crowd, it’s very clear that Obrzut is the boss, Bradley is his Clarence Clemons, the bench is his E Street Band, Rupp is his Asbury Park, and we are all born to run with him. In response to this adoration, the stoic Woo simply raises his head to the heavens and lets out a harsh croak. Just like the Great Blue Heron.