We’ve had a lot of good times in the bluegrass sports realm the past year and a half, but this weekend was not one of them. But just like my mom always used to tell me, the bad days only work to make the good days seem better. So with that, let’s look at the losses and try and put them in perspective a bit.
From lest damaging to most:
—Deandre Daniels won’t return our calls – While Deandre Daniels has yet to spurn Kentucky for Kansas, all indications are that he will be suiting up for the Jay Hawks next year. By ranking him as the ‘least important’ of the losses this weekend, I don’t want you to think I’m just trying to downplay the potential commitment as that’s not the case. And don’t get me wrong, Daniels would be a great get for Cal. But as far as I was concerned, Daniels value was exponentially higher if he would find a way to contribute this year – something he seemed pretty much against. Next years class is already out of this world with talent, so the miss on Daniels doesn’t sting as bad. Sure it’s disappointing, but on it’s own, not terrible. Of course if the financial papers don’t go through and Daniels becomes a Cat, I will immediately anoint him the greatest Small Forward since Tayshaun.
Conclusion: While losing Daniels would be a disappointment, Kentucky basketball will be just fine without him – especially if he sticks to his ‘not playing until next year,’ pledge.
—Georgia takes the lead in the SEC East – It’s never good to start your SEC season off with a loss, but as far as acceptable losses go, this is one of them. Not only does Georgia appear to be one of the better teams in the SEC this year (though one Kentucky should still have beaten, admittedly,) they played one of their best games to date yesterday. Their fg% and ft% were all above their average, they were playing at home, and while Kentucky came out flat in the first half Georgia had no such problems. The game is concerning because Kentucky can’t let it become a trend, but if they can use it to gain experience and learn a few things (like, you know, don’t foul so much,) it will be beneficial down the road.
Conclusion: The loss stung more in the context of a disappointing weekend. It’s a 16 game SEC season, and it’s tough to start it off on a loss, but if the Cats can learn from it – and the game is an aberration not a trend – it could end up being helpful.
—The addition of Enes Kanter to the coaching staff– By this point the Enes ruling didn’t come as much of a surprise to most people. Cal knew signing Kanter would be a risk, but he took it anyways, and I would like to think he would take it again if he had the chance. Had Kanter joined this Kentucky team the ceiling would have been off the charts. The Kanter loss hurts pretty bad, but in reality we have been pretty fine without him for the most part. You’d love to see a kid with that much talent playing, but ultimately it’s not in the cards and while he may have made the difference turning a sweet sixteen with potential for more team into a final four with potential for more team, this team has been and will be fine without him. Plus I hear he is a pretty good X’s and O’s guy.
Conclusion: Kind of like facing a break up when you know it’s going to happen, the loss is tough but in your gut you know this was the likely outcome. Hurts the team this season, but the team has gelled without him, will continue to improve.
—Team in turmoil dominates the football Cats – This is the one that hurts the most, and I’m hardly what you would consider a football guy. I’m not going to go into the painful memories of what happened, but in their likely final games, you really would’ve like to have seen more of the Cobb and Locke show. But unlike the Enes ruling (which had a direct influence on one season only,) this one could be felt for some time to come. The potential for Jokers first team was huge – or at least much higher than it actualized – and to say that it underperformed would be an understatement. The momentum that Kentucky football had gained under Coach Brooks has all but dried up after a shellacking to a mess of a Big East team. I still think Joker can be our guy, but it’s clear that what he did this season wasn’t cutting it. He’s already made some changes, but it’s going to be a long summer for Phillips.
Conclusion: EVERYONE PANIC! Not a lot of positives to take into the summer season, and next year will have to be much better all around. While Joker’s seat may not be getting hot just yet, you gotta bet he’s got his worry hat on.