Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

No one on the corner has swagger like us?

Matt and Ryan tackled an interesting topic on today’s radio show–whether or not this team has “swagger.” All of Cal’s previous Kentucky teams have had it, sometimes so much that he’s had to tell them to tone it down, but this group? Not so much. In fact, most of the time, they don’t even look like they’re having fun playing the game. Let’s take a look back at the Cal’s past Kentucky teams to see just how much swagger matters.

2009-2010: John Wall swag

There are great players, and then there are star players. Cal’s first team at Kentucky had star players. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins had larger than life personalities and the talent to back it up. Example one? John Wall’s famous dance as he descended from the Rupp rafters during Big Blue Madness (an event that in itself was the rebirth of Kentucky basketball swagger). The dance became a craze that was emblematic of Kentucky’s return to the top in terms of talent and trendiness. More importantly, the team looked like they were having the best times of their lives every time they took the court. My favorite moment from that season had to be the buzzer beater to send Kentucky into overtime against Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament. John Wall tackled DeMarcus Cousins into the scorer’s table on the sidelines, thinking they had won. They hadn’t, but the pure joy on their faces as their teammates came to join them was priceless. After two years of misery, the fun was back in Kentucky basketball.

Swag moments: Beating UConn in NYC, UK2K, the call from the President, DeMarcus Cousins’ “Call Me” gesture to the Mississippi State crowd.
Result: 35-3, loss in the Elite Eight to West Virginia

2010-2011: Working Man’s Swag

The next group of Cats weren’t quite as glitzy as their predecessors, but they still had talent. Brandon Knight may not have had John Wall’s style, but he had skills and an incredible knowledge of the game, something the NBA is realizing more and more every day. Freshmen Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb came in with high expectations, as did Enes Kanter, whose eligibility issues loomed over the early season like a wet blanket. Like the current team, that group had their share of stumbles during SEC play while they searched for their identity, which they ultimately found in a pair of forgotten work horses–DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrellson. After a brief stint in the doghouse for complaining about not receiving praise from Calipari, Josh Harrellson went out and earned that praise by stepping up in Enes Kanter’s absence and becoming one of the keys to the season. DeAndre Liggins found his niche as a defensive specialist capable of stopping almost any team’s top player. No one expected this group to go far in the tournament, but through hard work and perseverance, they made believers–and jorts wearers–of all of us.

Top swag moment? Jorts pelting the mighty Jared Sullinger with the ball as he was going out of bounds in the NCAA Tournament.
Result: 29—9, loss in the Final Four to UConn

2011-2012: Superstar swag

Early on, we knew last year’s team was special. They were the perfect mix of freshmen talent and veteran experience, with enough confidence to get BTI a decent looking date. Throughout this season, we’ve come to realize just how special last year’s freshmen were. Not only were they amazingly talented, they were light years ahead of this year’s group in maturity. What 18-year-old kid takes it upon himself to start an early morning weight lifting session before practice? MKG. With the possible exception of the SEC Tournament Championship, each game those guys played meant something to them. They took it personally, especially the loss at Indiana. After that, forget about it. The swag swelled so much in mid-February that Cal had to tell them to ease off it a bit:

“I am going to talk to them today about let’s make sure we are being humble and understand why we have been winning and where we have to take this to. The issue we have is this is one of the youngest teams in the country, and I imagine as a ranked team we are the youngest. There’s an easy transition from a swagger to arrogance and that’s where you get beat.”

Swag moments: countless
Result: You know.

2012-2013: ?

This year’s team is notoriously hard to read. At the beginning of the season, we all assumed that was because 95% of them were new, but still. Nerlens Noel and his hair had swag, as did Archie’s All-Access wink, but every time they seem to find their footing, they stumble. Can “one step forward and two steps back” be a team slogan? And about All-Access: as Kentucky fans, we loved it, but looking back, should there have been warning signs? Cal’s insistence that this team wasn’t very good don’t seem so laughable now, does it Johnny Gold Chains? What about Harrow’s confidence? After leaving the team briefly, Harrow returned with a vengeance in late December and January only to regress back to his former self. Losing Nerlens may be a fatal blow to this group. Not only was he the team’s anchor in terms of defense, but he was the “energy guy” who brought intensity each game. The few brief glimpses we’ve had of this team’s emotions have come from Noel, and without him, the team fell flat. Their body language was so discouraging against Tennessee that Sean Woods’ remarks about some of the players’ attitude back in November ring faintly in the back of your mind. Cal wrote the game off as an emotional lapse after losing Noel and challenged his players to take responsibility for their actions, a sentiment echoed by the team’s oldest and wisest member, Julius Mays. In truth, this group needs an extra month to recover from losing Noel, but instead, they have six games and the SEC Tournament to prove they deserve a spot in the Big Dance.

Swag moments: The Archie Goodwin/Kyle Wiltjer chest bump at Auburn? Maybe? (Not really.)
Result: who knows

Is one of this team’s problems a shortage of swag?

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.

48 Comments for No one on the corner has swagger like us?

  1. Swag
    2:04 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    You have to have swag to project swag. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.

  2. Clouseau
    2:04 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Swagger should be the result of accomplishment. Therefore, this team correctly has none.

  3. asdf
    2:12 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    You definitely have to have something to swag about first.

  4. Red Bird
    2:15 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink


  5. Go cats
    2:15 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    It’s easier to swag when you have good guards. Guards are the play-makers and clutch shooters. Guard-play has been our biggest weakness.

  6. Bob
    2:16 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    SWAG is not the 4 letter word I think of when I think of this team.

  7. RealCatsFan
    2:18 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    You have to have a certain level of pride before you can have swag, and this team of late has not appeared to have much of either. These guys need to start with taking pride in their defense. They need to take getting scored on as a personal affront. Defense will lead to offense, and that will give them some confidence to make the offense flow better. I don’t want to hear any excuses that it has anything to do with lack of quickness or athletic ability at the guard position – it has little to do with that, and very much to do with desire and hustle.

  8. Dumbledore
    2:18 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Swag is the stupidest word in modern parlance.

  9. Pretty boy swag
    2:19 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    The John wall team was swagtastic!

  10. Doug
    2:20 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Please stop using that word. It’s ridiculous.

  11. Steve
    2:20 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    WE have GAWS which is the opposite of Swag.

  12. Yes
    2:25 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    This team has an enormous amount of GAWS.

  13. SeaCat
    2:25 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    this team has SWIG.
    or at least causing BBN to.

  14. Maybe
    2:28 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Maybe this Team got it’s GAWS from this past year’s football team. We are number one in GAWS. Probably the most GAWS of any team I’ve ever seen.

  15. UKBlue
    2:28 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Swag has to be earned, usually in the gym during practice AKA MKG, and this year team has earned Ugatz (in Cal Voice aka Italian slang for nothing). I wonder if this team even has a heartbeat !!! Maybe Cal has the players wearing heart monitors to see if they even have a heart. Maybe they should keep a defibrillator next to the bench to shock the players to try getting their hearts started.

  16. flexington
    2:33 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Bottom line is these guys arent that good as a group. Archie a top 10 pick? LAUGHABLE. Poythress doesn’t have nearly enough hustle/heart/determination to make it in the league. Harrow is an average PG that doesnt run his team. WCS tries his hardest, so I cant fault him. I really love watching him play because he cares. Julius cares. Wiltjer cares. The problem is, the players that care aren’t our “superstar” talents like Archie and Alex should have been. Are they capable? ofcourse. Remember the MONSTER rebound and two handed slam against Auburn from Poythress? That was awesome, and a play that only a handful of college kids could make. The problem with this group is accountability. Last year they played their hearts out every night because they loved eachother and loved winning. This years team is just ready for seasons end.

  17. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    2:37 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    On the bright side, should have a bunch of returning players and be untouchable next year.

  18. Kathy Beckham
    2:37 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I cannot make out this team. I am devastated about Nerlens and his future, albeit returning to UK or the pros. And that TN game; I have never been so embarrassed, humiliated, upset, and very sad at the way the guys played (you notice I did not say ‘team’). I do believe we have several freshmen (except for Nerlens) who all want to do their own thing; regardless of the ‘team’. They need to sit down and watch that TN game. I feel sorry for Coach Cal, well, and for the BBN in general. I still love them; but one must chastise their children when they are bad. I’m still rooting for them, but . . .! I do hate to say this; but I am so excited about next year’s team. GO CATS!

  19. KYStout
    2:41 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    This team is playing like a bunch of jagoffs.

  20. asdf
    2:42 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    For his sake, I really hope Poythress comes back and gives himself time to develop. He’s in the Azibuike mold of needing to learn to be properly aggressive. If he leaves after this year, we won’t miss him so much, but the NBA will eat him alive and spit out the bones, and he’ll be playing in Spain in two years. But he has the talent to be a 12 year pro, steady contributor on a lot of good teams, if he allows himself to develop.

  21. Blue
    2:43 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    16…You hit the nail on the head with your last sentence…These guys just want the season to end. In hindsight, Harrow, Poythress, and Goodwin are not right for the program. Whether it be their basketball IQ, their personalities, or something else, they are not built to deal with the scrutiny and spotlight that comes with Kentucky basketball. Last year’s group fed off it, and it made them better players because of it. But, when the core of the team (those three mentioned above)continuously make the same mistakes over and over and over, and then just show a total lack of effort (and not just Saturday) that frustrates the rest of the team…Guys like Wiltjer, WCS, and Mays. They want to win, and they play like it…But they can’t drag the other three with them. I’m almost to the point where I’m right there with them…Let this trainwreck of a season end, and get the calvary in here.

  22. KYStout
    2:43 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    It’s like our team was replaced with Auburn players or something.

  23. Snl1960
    2:43 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    “Be your brothers keeper”. Easier said than done. You can say it all day long, doesn’t make it happen, not all seem to really believe it. Last years championship changed mentality. Maybe next years team will cherish it and not believe it will be given to them without earning it. Offence running through Kyle is neat to watch , he gets others involved. Archie wants to get Archie involved, others as well.

  24. Snl1960
    2:45 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Coach, please , next time you just roll the ball out, ask the ones that don’t want to give 100 percent to roll it back.

  25. KYStout
    2:46 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    And yes, these guys are playing like they just want the season to end so someone else can step in and be leaders for them.

  26. Big Mike
    2:46 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Sean Woods had it right, you gotta admit it. Sometimes, you’re standing too close to the (big) picture to see what those far off can see… Despite all that, I want to see these kids succeed. They have to dig deep and give it all they’ve got for 7 more weeks.

  27. licamo katz
    2:48 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    22…good point, plus when guys like Mays sees Archie undeservedly getting over 30 mins a game, he probably feels resentment which does not lead to team building.

  28. Dictionary
    2:50 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Swag is short for swinging a giant and unfortunately this group be swingin baby junk

  29. Biglaw Dawgin'
    2:56 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Tyler – it’s “on the corner.” Actually, come to think of it, “in the corner” is more fitting for this team.

  30. Laker Cat 18
    2:57 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Swag is something a team has that when that team walks off the bus for a road game and everyone stares, fan or not. Speechless because they just seen the greatest. The middle school football team I coach has more swag than this UK team does. Take that for what it’s worth. No one fears this UK team.

  31. LongSeason
    3:02 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    This team is short on a lot more than swagger……..

  32. B-man
    3:02 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Latest NBA Mock Draft (as of 2/15/13) has Nerlens #4, WCS #10, Poythress #19 and Goodwin #20. As much as I would love to see some players stick around, all four would be nuts to NOT go pro this year. Neither Nerlens or WCS have much room to improve their draft status by coming back another year. Barring a remarkable transformation, Alex and Archie won’t get enough playing time/opportunities to improve their draft status by coming back another year. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter how well anyone plays for the remainder of the year or which players have SWAG, all have $$$ waiting on them. I don’t think anyone except Nerlens is ready for the NBA, but this is how it works.

  33. MRW_BBN
    3:07 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    These players came to Kentucky expecting that they were going to be drafted in the NBA regardless. They saw the $$$$ signs. I guess they didn’t expect they actually had to play or maybe they thought all other teams would back down to them. Whatever it is they may want to start showing up or they may just be transfers.

  34. Snl1960
    3:10 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    KENTUCKY is NOT for everyone ! Now I understand

  35. douche chills
    3:14 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I get the douche chills anytime someone uses the term “swag.”

  36. Laker Cat 18
    3:18 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    32. I agree. I don’t know about Goodwin, but Poythress is making million dollar mistakes right now. He consistently drops 20 pts & 10 boards at Kentucky and he’s easily a top 5 pick in my opinion. There is a huge financial difference in top 5 and late first round. I’m not sure he realizes what his lack of passion for the game is doing to his future.

  37. ky_99
    3:28 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I can honestly say I still back these guys 100% and think there is a chance we still turn it around and make the tournament. But this team forced Maker Marks hand on keeping it’s higher proof so it could still be the drink of choice for game days!

  38. bluetooth
    3:37 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    we once had the untouchables and now the uncoachables

  39. Bill Brasky
    3:46 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Polson has more heart than any of ’em. NOW TOP ME OFF YOU BASTARDS!!

  40. Mc
    3:57 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    #36. I agree. Same for Goodwin though. He has the first step, and is the only player on the team that can break down a defense with the build to take on contact. If he could learn to pull up, hit a floater, or dish once the d collapses he’d be a top 10 pick as well. Also, if he could give more effort on defense. The bottom-line is these 2 look the part, but don’t act the part. If it hasn’t changed yet, I don’t think it will. Wouldn’t mind seeing Poythress off the bench next season, but Goodwin can be a cancer. Either way think all 4 will declare (although AP and AG’s stock is gradually dropping with each game).

  41. STEVE!
    4:04 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I hope these guys have enough pride to tell themselves “We don’t want to be remembered as the only non-Billy Gillispie team at Kentucky not to go to the NCAA in over 20 years”, and then some of them come back next year and fight for a position on what should be a great team.

  42. Mrs. Tyler Thompson
    4:08 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    29 – LOL, my goof, but yes, you’re right. “In the corner” makes a lot more sense…

  43. Settle
    4:08 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    #32/#36, some of these players have been given everything. They are content to settle for a million dollar paycheck rather than work hard and make multiple millions. Hope they save and invest it well because they won’t get many of the checks as they will be out of even the D league without much notice.

  44. Ugly muffin
    4:11 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I think Archie still has some version of fake swag. He still struts around like he’s a superstar even though everyone in the building knows he only has one move and has a worse jump shot than Shaq. Alex, however, is swagless. Guy doesn’t even look interested. Nerlons had the best kind of swag, competitive swag, unfortunately he was the only one.

  45. jesus tap dancing christ
    4:28 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Swag im so sick of hearing this word…swag there doesn’t need to be swag for this team doesn’t have that without Noel and Wiltjer (since the Vandy game). Uncle Julius has come along way and is now trying to step up in a leadership role but as a whole this team has no “swag” and they don’t need one they need to forget about SHWAGG and get their ass on that court and play till the whistle blows. Stop hanging their head after every turnover, make it up on the next play, and play like the UK on the back of their jerseys means something. I just want to see them go out playing like their is no tomorrow and at the end of the day thats all you can ask for…

  46. Melvit
    5:14 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    It’s amazing how different each of the four teams have been.

  47. goukats
    6:22 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Goodwin and Poythress have not lived up to their ability.Those two guys were can’t miss recruits.Goodwin is John Wall fast and could take anyone,sad part is ,he can’t make the layup,and Poythress could dominate anyone in the SEC but for some reason,he would have troble dominating a 30 year old at the “Y”.What happened to these two?Who knows,just wish they could find their swag these last few weeks so they have no regrets.

  48. Oopa Loopa
    7:35 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    In the financial world, when anticipation & expectations gets beyond realities-you have “bubbles”. I am old enough to remember in the late 90’s thinking “Will the economy ever falter again?”. People’s new reality (bubble thinking) led to many stupid, greedy, financial decisions. Things had gone so well for long, you think it is the new reality. The next decade’s “Tech-Bubble” and “Housing-Bubble” proved otherwise.

    Have we gotten a little greedy? After Coach Cal brought us success 3 years in a row with supremely young talent, we (including some of these players) came to believe this was to be the new reality. Alas, our Swag Bubble has definitely burst this year. We had 3 amazing years of freshmen coming through big with each year topping the one before! So, this group we expected to start way at the top, but (unlike previous years)no one with experience on the floor/bench (besides Wiltjer) to lead them to the Final Four “promised land”. Wiltjer is not Patrick Patternson or Darius Miller. Maybe, someday, he can toughen into a “Jorts”.

    The upperclassman experience (plus their personal development) each of those years was big, too. Patterson, Jorts, Liggins, Miller. Think of how many times Miller, Jones, and Lamb steady the ship last year….

    What Coach Cal did those first 3 years is amazing, considering who he did it with. Pitino’s 96-98 teams is the only 3 year period that surpasses it in my lifetime of following UK. As a kid, I listened Cawood call Dan Issel’s 40 point games on the radio, qute regularly. I remember being excited about the UK freshmen team called the “Kittens” (in ’71?). Couldn’t wait for them to become sophmores so they could play on the Varsity Team. (We have come a long way baby.)

    I hope we let these freshmen “be freshmen” a little longer-no matter how this shaky season plays out. I hope all that come back are welcome with open arms. BBN is a white hot spotlight. Give them time to adjust to the heat.

    The Swag might lag,
    but MAY just need a sophmore tag.