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South Carolina game tidbits

After an exciting game in Rupp Arena, I thought these factoids would be of interest:

(1) During the pre-game, the team showcased some togetherness that I have not seen. In the backstage area, right before the team was about to walk out, they huddled up as they usually do, but rather than seeming nonchalant and chanting defense, Ramel Bradley got in the center and the team chanted “1-2-3- Together, 1-2-3 Together, 1-2-3 Together”, a new chant for this team. Then they did the normal pushing Woo back and forth in the circle. That is always a highlight for me.

(2) A couple of notes I found interesting. First, Dave Odom looks like a Gamecock, adding him to the list of coaches who look like their mascot (Coach K is the president of that group). Second, Sheray Thomas is becoming more and more “Sleepy” Sam Perkins every day, looking like he is one play from falling asleep at all times. Third, if Woo had finished on the alley oop, he would have had his career highlight and would have never needed to play again to be my hero. Finally, Bill Keightley is in his 45th season. I of course have no idea what he does, but the equipment seems to be managed well.

(3) Interesting possessions towards the end of the game when Tubby was imploring Rondo at the top of his lungs to push the ball when Rajon was attempting to walk it up. This section showed that for those that dont believe the Coach when he says that he tries to get them to run, that there is at least some grain of truth to these assertions.

(4) After the game you could tell that Coach Dave Odom was frustrated, lamenting that he couldnt believe Sparks shot “from the Rupp museum” and that he believed Rajon Rondo “didnt intend the shot he took.” Odom remarked that everyone knew who was getting the ball “unless Pat Riley showed up,” but that Rajon’s decision took the team off guard as they expected him to drive and try to draw a foul.

(5) Ramel Bradley mentioned that he has decided to try and become the vocal leader more on the court, because “it is not really the personality of the other guys.” This could be seen throughout, especially when the Cats fell down 12. Bradley huddled the team up at a break and said, “dont worry guys, we are winning this one.” The confidence of this kid can truly be contagious.

(6) Finally, the presence of the Rupp’s Runts had an effect on the team. Both Bradley and Ravi Moss commented to me after the game that the team speaking with them prior to the game was inspiring. Moss went further, saying “seeing those guys makes you realize how big the program is. For them to be around and excited about the team makes me realize how important Kentucky basketball is…..and we have to try and live up to that.” When told by me that one of the Runts mentioned that Bradley was his favorite player, Ramel said “that is an honor. I didnt get to watch those guys play but I know about them….and it is great that they know about me.”

That is all for now.

Article written by Matt Jones