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Thanksgiving Basketball Story

Irrelevant, but totes adorbs. Tweeted by @JMays34.

It’s Thanksgiving, so gather round the table and let the bearded, crazy-eyed Uncle Corey tell you a story about a basketball game, and why we should be thankful for a non-conference win.

Kentucky, in an early, lets a vastly inferior opponent stick around far too long, and even take a 12 point lead in the first half.  They battle back, but are still up only one at halftime.  The other team just “kept making shots,” according to the ESPN recap, while “Calipari kept screaming, looking for somebody — anybody — willing to play defense.”  Things were looking very out of sync as “[t]he Wildcats blew assignments, [and] totally forgot about others.”  Knowing something would have to change if the Cats were to come back and squelch this team that should not be sticking around, “Calipari did his best to shake his team out of its funk, yanking players for even the smallest infractions in hopes of getting their attention.”

Having already lost during the season, Calipari knew his team had to learn some lessons if they were going to have any hope in the NCAA tournament.  He had to mold an entirely new group of players after a mass exodus the year before at the hands of the NBA Draft.  But “while the Wildcats missed 3-pointers, turned the ball over and struggled to find any kind of rhythm offensively, the [other team] went off.”  Was the home win-streak at stake?  Finally, the Cats seemed to click in the second half, putting together a great offensive performance behind a combo guard.  After only scoring in the low-30s the first half, they get around 50 in the second half, and win by double-digits.

Does this all sound familiar?  It should.  It’s the story of when Kentucky played Penn on January 3rd, 2011.  And yet, we seemed to see exactly the same thing last night against Morehead State.  Cause for concern?  Not really.

That team that played Penn, as you might recall, went on to make a trip to the Final Four after beating the number one team in the nation in possibly the greatest Sweet Sixteen game ever.  They looked rough early on, but they got better.  Tremendously better.  The guards slowed down and got under control, the defense stopped missing assignments, and Cal managed to take talent, and turn it into ability.

The game against Penn came in January, after the Cats had already spanked Louisville, and were heading into conference play. Last night’s game was only this squad’s fourth of the season; there are still some kinks that need to be worked out.  Not to mention they’re still adjusting to being without their starting point guard.  Still though, they learned some lessons early on, in a win, which is far better than learning them late, in a loss.

What’s the morale of this story?  Despite some struggles, this is still a great team, capable of doing big things.  They’re young, and they’ll learn as they go.  They’ll have to.  It might not be pretty all the time.  It might get ugly.  But the final, burnished product will be capable of doing some impressive things when it comes tourney time.  So if last night got you wound up (like it did me), relax.  This is a good bunch, and we have a lot to look forward to.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to the great things we have in our lives, I hope we’re all thankful for this team.  They’re a good bunch of kids and have a lot of potential.  It seems strange, to be thankful for a basketball team, but this is Kentucky.  So enjoy your turkey, watch some football, and Go Cats.  I’ll see you in the morning.

Article written by Corey Nichols

23 Comments for Thanksgiving Basketball Story

  1. HicksPickSix
    9:12 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    I always tell the kids to stay away from Uncle Corey and his nonsensical, ill-informed ideas. They prefer their cousin BTI.

  2. kentuckyjoe
    9:15 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    It’s a wonderful story Corey. I’m going to ask my wife to read it to me again at bedtime tonight.

  3. James K
    9:20 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Im glad to see that Archie was smiling during the cramping thing. From where we were sitting, we couldn’t tell what was happening at all.

  4. Old Henry Man
    9:24 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Mayes may be the leader we need.

  5. bart edwards
    9:34 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Learn the difference between moral and morale if you are going to use the words. You make Kentuckians look ignorant.

  6. RealCatsFan
    9:40 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Caption should read: “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

  7. Jerry C
    9:44 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    blah, blah, blah. Total nonsense. Hire Bobby!

  8. Corey still sucks
    9:47 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    I am Thankful Corey only does one post a day. Corey you blow. Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Go Away
    9:53 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    #8-You are a Cretin. Dispense to your hovel and enjoy your repast of dog food.

  10. Ellen's Brownies
    9:54 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Loved the way Mayes immediately ran to Archie and lifted him on his back and carried him all the way to the bench. This team has so much potential. Sure it was ugly but they found a way to win. Enjoy the ride BBN. Not so different from last year.

  11. Shelbycat
    10:00 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    That is what ESPN should have focused on thanksgiving day one brother helping another not Sean woods tearing one down.

  12. Jezz
    10:01 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    The only reason to worry would be the PG spot.

    But every guy we thought we would rely on have been fantastic at times. When we put it all together, scary good.

  13. Wild Turkey 101
    10:02 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Tubby and Billy would have lost to Morehead. That’s why we have Cal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Kevin C.
    10:05 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Man, when Julius put Archie on his back, and carried him to the bench….both with smiles on their faces…. I knew this team would be alright. I hope Sean Woods watches the replay of this game, and sees that…and contrasts it to the way he coached his players/thugs, then seeing how they responded by fouling out, and mouthing off to him. Maybe he’ll realize what an ass he really is, and how 1 memorable shot… in the greatest/worst loss in UK history…does not give you the right to judge kids you don’t even know.

  15. Paper Tigers
    10:14 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Boy, our players sure looked entitled last night. Didn’t get mad at all the intentional grabbing and fouling. I can’t believe how entitled Goodwin looked when he was carried by Mays. Gosh, why do I have to root for such an entitled team. I would rather root for that Morehead team. They didn’t talk trash, play dirty, or act like pricks at all.

  16. how about
    10:18 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Niece piece Cory.Put perspective without preaching.
    Hot damn I love these guys. Noel stealing and running the floor, Alex and Arhcie just busting out all over, Willie, Kyle, Mays and Polson growing by the moment

  17. davefromdagap
    10:20 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Scream’n A Smith really giving Woods yhe business, and I agree it was over the top. No doubt the kid was jawing and needed his deal checked, not to that extent in the public eye. That dog won’t hunt for long. Best check the temper…at least in public.

  18. playersfan
    10:36 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    The whole purpose of the fouling is to disrupt and prevent an offensive flow, that is Pitino. Louisville can only win when they disrupt the flow, be ready Cats. Be strong, patient, and unstoppable will always prevail.

  19. Big Whoop
    10:39 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    I did a little comparison to last year’s team: FG% 48.8 last year; 52.3 this year. 3pt % 37.8 last year; 44.2 this year. FT% 72.3% last year; 68.9% this year. Rebounds 38.9 last year; 38.8 this year. Assists 13.3 last year; 14.8 this year. Turnovers 11.3 last year; 12 this year. Steals 6.1 last year; 6.8 this year. Blocks 8.6 last year; 7.2 this year. PPG 77.4 last year; 80.5 this year. Not an unfavorable comparison, but why does this team look worse?

    IIRC, we looked pretty bad last year until the UNC game. I think it may take a little longer this year for these kids to come together, but I’m sure they’ll get there. Seeing Mays carry Goodwin was a good sign that they may come together soon. My worry is the PG spot and Wiltjer. He can’t guard Lou “Granny” Holtz and if he isn’t hitting his shots, he is of no use.

  20. #9
    10:53 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    You sir, are a jackass. Everyone knows his post suck everyday. And I did wish him a Happy Thanksgiving. And cretin is probably the wrong word, but nice try at being smart.

  21. Fanman
    10:58 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    He ain’t heavy…..he’s my brother!

  22. you can call me cal
    11:51 am November 22, 2012 Permalink

    well played mr nichols. i was not expecting your clever turnabout. well played indeed

  23. Logic says
    1:26 pm November 22, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky will be fine. Remember the Old Dominion game last year, where we struggled with the physical play and by the end of the year we were a beast!