All week long, I’ve been hearing a variation of this claim: “Last weekend was one of — if not THE — worst weekends in UK athletics history.:
Pardon me for not buying it.
For sure, last weekend sucked with a capital “S”. As each disappointment hit, the collective Big Blue Nation could do nothing more than act like Vinnie Tatum at Porcini’s: curl up on the couch, close our eyes, and pretend like nothing was happening.
But forgive me for not getting my knee-jerk reaction on. Let’s put things in perspective, shall we?
- We were spurned by Deandre Daniels. This hurts, no doubt, but some people are acting like this is some indication that Calipari is now second fiddle to Bill Self. The truth is that, while we would have loved to have seen Daniels suit up in the Blue and White next season, the real motivation to get him was for his potential contribution THIS year — which now isn’t going to happen at Kansas or anywhere else. What seems to be lost in all of this is the fact that UK clearly has the number 1 recruiting class in the nation next year, and depending on what happens during the season, maybe the number 1 class of all time. Ask me in a year how important losing Deandre Daniels was.
- We lost to Georgia . . . in basketball. This one stings, too, but the lost shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Everyone not named BTI felt like an upset could happen, and the truth is, had we not had so many other disappointments over the weekend, I suspect that most of us would have already forgotten about such an inconsequential loss. This is still January in a long and mostly-pointless regular season. Plus, we can be thankful that Georgia is an SEC East team, which means we will get at least one more crack at them (where we should win by 20 and get to see Terrence Jones’ troll face).
- We lost to Pitt. This one will linger a bit because of the way we lost more than for the loss itself. I’ve heard from a lot of “shocked” Cats fans this week, but we knew going in that the match-up wasn’t good. Pitt is the one team in the Big East who can actually run the ball successfully, and we shouldn’t be surprise that Kentucky would struggle against such a team. Still, a lot of us got our hopes up because of the dysfunctional coaching carousel at Pitt — but sometimes adversity like that will help bring a team together, and (oddly enough) might have even served to focus the players more than they would have been with the Mustache patrolling the sidelines. Bottom line is this: the loss hurts for many reasons (including recruiting implications and general faith in Joker), but it was just another example of what Kentucky football does best: remind us that UK will always be a basketball school. The loss was nothing new.
- We learned that Enes would never be freed. Ouch. This one came first and set the tone for the weekend. I can’t make excuses here — the news of Kanter’s permenantly-permanent ineligible status still sticks in my guts. Again, though, we knew that this was coming. And while Kanter would have pushed this team into final four contention, it isn’t like we are reverting to Billy G level recruits; we still have an extremely talented team that is a lot of fun to watch. Plus, now Kanter can grab a clipboard and coach Jorts “The Denim Beast” Harrleson as he continues to make us proud.
So, when you reflect on last weekend and start to get depressed all over again, just remember this: on November 14th and 15th 2008, UK had a home basketball loss to VMI and a football loss to Vanderbilt.
Things could always be worse.
What are some moments in UK history where you felt more disappointed than last weekend? Use the comments section to discuss. Or don’t. You’re big kids — make your own decisions.
God bless. Go Cats.