Today was a great day to be at Rupp Arena and the emotion permeated the arena. People arrived early for Senior Day and gave everyone a stirring tribute, including Patrick Patterson, who is one of the most beloved modern players to play for the Cats. Everyone who reads this knows that KSR is Patrick Patterson land. It is not an exaggeration to say that the rise of Patterson and his importance at UK was part of the rise of this blog and all that has come after it. Our first major entry into the UK world came due to our meeting of he and Jai Lucas and it was a series of interviews with those two young guys that helped the site grow into what it is today. When I see Patrick, he often jokes about our first meeting at the Nike Camp in Indianapolis and the very first question anyone from KSR ever asked him (it was Mosley and he asked him if he watched “American Idol.”) From that time nearly four years ago to now, Patterson has become one of my top 3 favorite Cats of all-time and it was great to see him get honored today. Patrick is a great guy on and off the court, and his family has become part of the Kentucky family. One day Patrick’s name will be in the UK rafters as the rock of the UK program for three years and it will be well-deserved.
Some notes from a busy day:
— The Cats won the game and that you know, but you might not know how unimportant Calipari believes today and next week truly are. After the game, he said he cares little about SEC conference crowns and SEC Tournament titles, but only cares about the NCAA seeding. It was a strange argument to hear and one that he defended almost immediately after stating it. Calipari said that if people didnt like that viewpoint sorry, because it was what they got when they got him. I love Calipari and think he does little wrong, but I do disagree with this point. SEC regular season and tournament titles are important to me and if a Coach puts everything on the NCAA Tournament, that leaves little margin for error. But knowing Calipari, maybe he wont need it.
— There were recruits aplenty at the game today and they took their place behind the bench. Enes Kanter, Quincy Miller and Michael Gilchrist were all in attendance and seemed to have a grand old time. Many believe (as do I) that a Kanter commitment could be coming soon and the 2011 guys are two of the top four or five players in the country. There are many who believe UK is about to go on a recruiting run in the next few weeks that will be quite impressive. If you get a chance, listen to Evan Daniels on the podcast linked below and you will get an update on where recruiting stands in 2010 and 2011.
— After the game, Wall and Cousins chanted “one more year” at Patrick Patterson as the team celebrated at mid-court. Patterson for his part, looked into the crowd during “My Old Kentucky Home” after the game, seemingly soaking in the scene one last time.
— It was great to see Mark Krebs and his mother at the game. She made it a goal to see Senior night and she did and it was very emotional for everyone involved, including Calipari and the rest of the team. Krebs is a great kid and he told me afterwards that it was a “day that will be with me forever.”
— There is also the real possibility that it was the last home game for Wall and Cousins, two guys who are almost certain to head for the Draft. If so, it was a fitting end to a crazy good season by both young men as they have dazzled the Rupp crowd time after time. One of the more fun teams I can remember and these two were primarily the reason.
— UK set a new attendance record for the year, drawing more total fans and average fans than in any season in the past. That shouldnt be too much of a surprise.
— And a huge shoutout to the UK Women’s Hoops team who gave Tennessee all they wanted in the SEC Tournament finals tonight. I watched nearly the entire game and thought it was a great battle that showcased just how hard this Kentucky team plays and what a great job Matthew Mitchell has done. Catch this group in the NCAA if you havent yet…you will be glad you did.
— I was on the Hurt Locker bandwagon from the first time I saw the movie this summer and was thrilled to see it win tonight. Great film that you need to see if you havent yet.
We got a lot going today, but it is Monday which means you need to listen to today’s podcast. We have Evan Daniels on recruiting, Trey Grayson on running for Senate and being a UK fan, Buzz Baker on where this team stacks up historically and Gregg Doyel being Gregg Doyel. Plus there is Woo. And if you havent, please just go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. It makes it so much easier for everyone.
Here is your SEC TOURNAMENT BRACKET. It is time to get ready: