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Sweet Victory

“Tonight, we begin to write the next chapter. Tonight, we feel the Kentucky Effect in full force as we, once again, redefine college basketball.”

Those were the words of John Calipari on October 14 as he stood front and center as the Commander-In-Chief of the most passionate fan base on the planet at Big Blue Madness.  They were only 24 words in a speech that held an audience captivated for just under an hour, but they were telling and revealed the goal for this year’s team.  You see, Calipari already had two successful seasons under his belt in Lexington, having reached the Elite Eight in his first season and molding a very different squad into a Final Four team last season, but one thing still hung over him through it all and his critics – abundant and ready to pounce – were always ready to bring it up.

John Calipari can’t win the big one.

Of course, Calipari would shrug it off, say it didn’t matter.  His media routine, which any Kentucky fan could recite by the end of the season, was never about him.  He would tell us that he wasn’t concerned with his legacy and that a championship wasn’t how he defined a successful season, even at Kentucky, where his every move came in the shadows of the banners that defined the excellence of those that held the position before him.  This program, the one he’s made his own and poured every ounce of his energy into the past three years, isn’t about John Calipari.  It’s about the young men that put on the blue and white jerseys.  And that commitment to the kids who trusted him with their future and the journey they took us on this season is exactly why the destination was so sweet.

This season wasn’t about John Calipari.  It was about Darius Miller and his journey from a local high school hero caught in a trainwreck as a freshman to a bona fide UK basketball legend.

This season wasn’t about John Calipari.  It was about the a pair of sophomores, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, returning to school to not only better themselves as basketball players, but develop into leaders and help deliver the championship their coach deserved.

This season wasn’t about John Calipari.  It was about a star-studded freshman class coming together without an ounce of selfishness and proving to the world that, yes, you can win with first-year players – when those first-year players are committed to the program, the school and each other.

For years, Calipari had said that he wanted to have a team that was both talented and experienced.  He finally had that this year in a group that meshed what could be history’s greatest recruiting class with three elite players with a Final Four under their belt.  So while Calipari said all season that the Cats weren’t focused on winning a national championship, only with winning the next game and playing better than they did the last time they took the floor, the expectations became more and more clear as the guys on the floor started finding the same trust and faith in each other that their coach placed in them.  This Kentucky team was national championship material in more ways than just talent.

The bond started in the summer when the freshmen arrived on campus and had the opportunity to work out with locked out NBA players – players John Calipari had invited to campus.  It continued in non-conference wins against Kansas, North Carolina and Louisville and even in the loss to Indiana.  As the Cats barreled through SEC play, the grew from a team to The Machine.  They discovered against LSU that they simply couldn’t be beaten unless they beat themselves and when they were down by double-digits at the half in Starkville, they never wavered.  They just kept trusting their coach and each other and ended up walking a way with a win.  You could even see it in their body language and hear it in their voices after they lost to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament.  This team was everything John Calipari had ever hoped it would be.  Brothers, competitors, winners.

So even as Calipari sat at the podium after the game and said repeatedly that Kentucky’s eighth national championship wasn’t about completing his legacy and didn’t mean much to him, it wasn’t entirely true.  Cutting down the nets with this team meant the world to him.  After the game, as the confetti rained down and celebratory chaos erupted on the floor, Coach Cal navigated his way through the crowd, tears in his eyes, asking where he could find his wife.  It was a small moment in time that showed precisely why Monday night was so special to a man who has given so much of himself to help kids reach their dreams.  By beating Kansas at the Superdome, the players that Calipari’s given everything to had finally made him the one thing so many said he couldn’t be.

A champion.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

68 Comments for Sweet Victory



  1. 2020
    4:23 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Poor Stacey Poole. Wish he had the faith.



  2. 2020
    4:25 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Glad that aBBN was celebrating while I was I was in an elevator @ NOLA. First first for 2020!



  3. australiacatfan
    4:29 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Great Great Great!



  4. thetruth
    4:32 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll bet I call in today and say something totally inaudible.



  5. Ky boy in CALifornia
    4:36 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    How sweet it is to be champs. Great article Beisner!



  6. australiacatfan
    4:41 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Wake up to find out your the eyes of the world!



  7. hangin#8
    4:44 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    My screen name/dream became reality… Finally. Btw, good write up Beisner. Go Cats!



  8. Michael
    4:44 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We are going all night !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! F yo couch !!!!



  9. Holme
    5:10 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Now if only the school would take the money they made from this and put into the football program.



  10. wilDCat
    5:44 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    You give me chills Beez, love it! GO CATS!



  11. 8
    5:46 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Just makin sure it’s happened…YEAH IT FREAKIN DID #8 BABY!



  12. Thommytwoyones
    5:50 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    I think we should also be awarded the Big 12 championship



  13. Bruce Pearl
    6:02 am April 3, 2012 Permalink


  14. Mr.economy
    6:40 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Bill Keightley is smiling……



  15. Fat ninja
    6:46 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Is the ceremony at rupp this afternoon televised



  16. UK3K
    6:55 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Beautiful end to a beautiful season – 8 feels pretty great.



  17. Bruce Pearl
    7:08 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    BOB KNIGHT WILL BE ON MIKE AND MIKE AT 8:15!!!



  18. Fake Truth
    7:11 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Unbelievable year and and unbelievable group of players! Congratulations to Cal and the team and to the BBN! I heard Drew Franklin regained consciousness this morning to find he had a line beard and a W1C4 tattoo on his backside. Can’t wait for that photo.



  19. Tman
    7:16 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    You made tears come to my eyes.



  20. UKCtAT1
    7:19 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Congratulations Cal. Whether or not you won this game you and your team are champions. I remember 46 seasons and have never enjoyed a team as much as this one. Their unselfish attitude made them special and I am sure that this can be attributed directly to you. Thank you!



  21. Penny
    7:19 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    This team is amazing. I am so glad we got to experience this. Oh it feels good to be a wildcat today!!! Thank you Coach Cal!!



  22. Big Blue 66
    7:21 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Looking back on my big blue madness KY effect sign that has the eight in it….wow



  23. In Cal We Trust
    7:45 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    CBSSN channel 158 on Dish is replaying the UK-Kansas game from 7am-9am today. It is almost halftime.



  24. Ville Cat
    7:48 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    @22 don’t forget the towels that say the wait for 8 is over!! So proud of this team and just feel blessed. To have been able to watch this team grow over the year and achieve their ultimate goal!!!



  25. madvillecat
    7:52 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    EIGHT is great and NINE would be fine…..GO Cats.

  26. Don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but on ESPN last night, at one point they mentioned all the coaches at UK who have won it all and showed photos of each one as they said the names. Here’s how it went: “Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall…” and when they said Hall, they showed a pic of Eddie Sutton! lol

    CONGRATS TO THE CATS!!! THANKS FOR A SPECTACULAR YEAR!!!

    Thanks especially to Miller who put up with BCG for a year and hung in there!



  27. Raazoul
    7:56 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    I had this crazy dream last night that Kentucky was the National Champion. I think I’m still sleeping!! Don’t wake me up until next Big Blue Madness!



  28. In Cal We Trust
    7:58 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    CBSSN will show a replay of the UK-Kansas game at 4pm-6pm, and 7pm-9pm today. (eastern time)



  29. LuvDaCats
    7:58 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    This is the best morning ever. Thank you players. Thank you Cal.



  30. Stan
    8:01 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thanks to all the coaches and players and the people behind the scenes we forget about for make this the best year ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  31. UKRULES1
    8:03 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    BALANCE HAS BEEN RESTORED TO THE FORCE! GO CATS!



  32. lexslamman
    8:08 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky will hang #8 today. Kentucky fans are already thinking about #9.



  33. Beavis
    8:11 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    No Big Least,,,,,,No Big Ten,,,,, you mean to tell me an SEC team won after all the pundits declared the SEC weak. Remember this,,,,,any time you see Digger and Knight spewing their nonsense. Can’t believe ESPN pay those idiots. Listen to me,,,,Listen to me. LOL



  34. UKRULES1
    8:16 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    26. I did see that, also the listed The wining percentage for the title winning coaches and I did not see Joe B on the list all the coaches had a winning percentage above 776 or something but that list did not have Joe B on it didn’t he win at least 75% of his games?



  35. UKRULES1
    8:16 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    .776 sorry



  36. siluah
    8:22 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Am I hearing Bobby Knight singing the praises of this team?



  37. Brink
    8:24 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    36 yes. yes you are



  38. siluah
    8:26 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    37 Well…I’m content.



  39. UKgirlinNC
    8:26 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks for a great post! I followed this team and my KSR crew from Vietnam to NC this season…one that I will never forget! So proud to be a part of the BBN!



  40. Brink
    8:27 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Knight will now say the word Kentucky….but not Calipari cmon bobby get over it already



  41. crazycatfan
    8:28 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    I had a dream … then I woke up in it!!! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  42. shimsky
    8:30 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    That last paragraph was absoluteley brilliant! GO CATS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  43. Winston Bennett the Love Machine
    8:32 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Any idea when the team arrives back in LEX? I thought I read somewhere it was around 3pm? Is there any way to get tickets to the Rupp event and time????



  44. crazycatfan
    8:36 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    26 – I noticed that too! It was definitely Sutton. Also, the female announcer on ESPN didn’t know what BBN was when she was reading the tweets from John Wall and other NBA players.



  45. Kacey
    8:38 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    http://www.foxsportssouth.com/04/03/12/National-title-puts-Calipari-over-the-to/landing_sec.html?blockID=701330&feedID=3796

    The above article is the lead story on msn about the game last night. Really? Why do I even read such garbage.



  46. UL2UK8
    8:40 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Coach Cal, it is OK to smile today at Rupp, enjoy your great season!



  47. PhilCC
    8:41 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    How wonderful this is! Thank you Coach Cal & your staff, thank you to this amazing bunch of young men! I’m an old man and the end of my time draws near, this year brought smiles so many times. I am blessed & proud to be able say I am part of the Big Blue Nation. Listened to the 1960 team on the radio as a dirt poor KY kid and fell in love with the Wildcats. Saw and felt the happy and the sad these 52 years since, now feel the elation of knowing that the name KENTUCKY on those shirts is back on top of the basketball world to stay!!!



  48. kentuckyrules
    8:41 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    #8: love the Chappelle reference!!! LOL



  49. Bats#!t Crazy
    8:43 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    THE UNTOUCHABLES



  50. Katdaddy
    8:45 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Well deserved cal!



  51. markp
    8:45 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    BBN enjoy this! These type of things don’t happen often. Thanks Cal and all the team. You are simply awesome!



  52. jchristine87
    8:48 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    GREAT article, Beis. So proud of this team. So happy for the players and Cal. CATS!



  53. ElGatoBlanco
    8:50 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    This was outstanding. I’m more proud than normal to be a part of the BBN. GO BIG BLUE!



  54. PutRichieIn
    8:50 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    UNDENIABLES!!!!



  55. REAL BLY
    8:51 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Now can we get rid of the 92′ Puke shot??? We have won 3 titles since then!!!

    Sincerely,

    Every Person On Earth



  56. CA
    8:54 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Is there going to be TV coverage (statewide) on the celebration at Rupp today



  57. UK22
    8:55 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS!!



  58. Rob
    8:58 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Go Big Blue! Awesome night, awesome win. It’s great to have that weight lifted off our collective shoulders. As strange and–possibly to onlookers–sad as it might be, I feel happier about life in general. More hopeful. Kentucky is a unique place with unique fans, and I think our connection to UK and the team makes us really connected in a way that affects our individual and collective psyche.

    For a show in the summer, after the elation settles: I was reading Forde’s article (don’t ask why, I don’t know either) and was offput by his crude reference to BBN’s high “pucker factor.” Gross, lazy journalism, and not cool for the lead story on a national site.



  59. MIKE
    9:00 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    read that article during class this morning….i had to hold back some serious hardcore tears..this is pretty special, y’all



  60. Brian Disney
    9:00 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    In my lifetime i have been witness to 3 championship teams. This is by far the sweetest. I am most happy for Darius Miller. That kid has been through so much at UK, and no one deserves this more. So so sad to see him go.



  61. Wasteful Showboat
    9:00 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    All I can say is, “Praise Yahweh!!!!!!!!



  62. Al's IndiCats
    9:07 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    What a game….what a season…..what a team……last but never least, what a coach. Reading all the comments gave me goosebumps. You can never say too much about the BBN and all she represents to the faithful. You couldn’t write a story about this. All the expectations, all the highs, no turmoil. It feels like this is a dreamlike state that only you know if you wake up you’ll feel good about it, but there is where it ends…..Well this is no dream, and we are back on top where we so rightly needed, and deserved to be. GO CATS!!!!!!!!



  63. Bob Walker
    9:07 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    From Today’s Chicago Tribune

    Will Kentucky’s title eventually be vacated?
    Will Kentucky’s title eventually be vacated?

    Yes (1068 responses)

    72%

    No (410 responses)

    28%

    1478 total responses

    (Results not scientific)



  64. Cawood2Cal
    9:08 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Congrats to MKG! Every game Mike plays he does it like fans dream we could if we were talented enough to put on the jersey.



  65. hotdog23
    9:28 am April 3, 2012 Permalink

    I am so glad we won, but part of me think we should have been playing UNC last night in a much closer game with a team that would match up with us better. It reminds my of how we were pretty much one Bogans ankle sprain away from #8 a long time ago.
    BTW ESPN just said MKG is #2 in mock draft and IU will be preseaon #1



  66. Catcounsel
    1:30 pm April 3, 2012 Permalink

    I honestly believe this may be the best post on this website that I have ever seen since Kentucky is once again NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! Such a special team this year, all of its elements, we have been spoiled this year as fans and can only look forward to the next recruiting class! GR8NESS is the name for this true blue team, that one word says it all in oh so many ways!



  67. Billy Wildcat
    1:38 pm April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Just read this post for the third time since early this morning…it gets better every time. Thanks, Beis!



  68. Louisville
    3:31 pm April 3, 2012 Permalink

    Vacated lol!