There is really only one reason for UK fans to get excited about tonight’s Championship game. Wait, actually make that two reasons. The first is the KSR/CBS Live Blog with the KSR Crew, Doyel, Bomani and others stopping by. But the second is the crowning moment for Lexingtonian Shelvin Mack. Mack is the second best player for Butler and one of the nicest kids you will ever meet. I got to know about Shelvin when he was early in his high school career as an old girlfriend of mine was one of his teachers and praised him to me on a regular basis. She talked about not only what a great basketball player Mack was, but also what a great person and how the entire school was behind him. At the time she, and others, hoped UK would recruit him and he would be a Wildcat.
But that didnt happen. Mack was not really given much thought by Tubby Smith early in his college career, but the reality is that at that point, no one else gave him much notice either. But Butler saw something in him early, and Mack rewarded the loyalty with a commitment. Then, when Mack had a great Senior season, the two Commonwealth coaches at the time, Gillispie and Pitino, still didnt feel he was worthy of a scholarship and it wasnt until a very late run by Clyde that either even attempted to get his attention. At that point, he had decided to take his path to Butler, where he has excelled.
Since being at Butler, Mack has become a star. He played on the USA Select team last summer (with Darius Miller) and his stock has risen every game. Along with Gordon Hayward, he makes a dynamic one-two scoring punch that has Butler in this rarified air. Tonight I am a Butler fan, in part because of my dislike of Duke, but moreso because I want to see Lexington take a title. Mack loves the Bluegrass, grew up a UK fan and from all indications is a kid you can root for. And tonight, I most certainly will.