All week long, we have had bestselling author and UK fan Tucker Max in Cancun sending up reports from Cancun. This is his final report and as you can see by the picture above with Lee Todd…Tucker has gotten around. We thank him for all he has done this week and hope to get him to do more in the future.
— Since the tournament is now over and UK is the champion, this will be my last update from Cancun. Before I start, I just want to thank all of you for the great feedback you’ve given me. I am a born and bred UK fan, and I being able to share my experiences with the Cat fans who couldn’t make it to Cancun was really fun for me, and I’m truly glad so many of you enjoyed it also.
— I want to start this post off by alerting the readers to the fact that Matt Jones is doing a little censorship of some of what I write. Aside from taking out cusswords and offensive jokes–and turning some of my sentences into run-ons–I put a great story in the last post about something Darnell Dodson did, and I found out why Liggins is sitting, and he pulled BOTH things! Censoring Republican!
— Remember the bet I made about there not being any hot, single women between 18 and 40 at the resort? Yeah, well, I didn’t realize this, but apparently there is a women’s basketball tournament being played here after the men’s one, and all six of the teams showed up yesterday. Whoops.
— Speaking of women playing a man’s game, Kate Martin wrote a post yesterday about KSR becoming more female fan friendly. It was an intelligent and well-written post (albeit a bit uppity). Unlike BTI Patrick Barker, who immediately attacked her (and you wonder why you don’t get laid dude?), I like having women around and agree that the site should be more female-friendly. To this end, I am going to take her offer and extend an olive branch to the better half of our readership:
In honor of the new female fan friendly KSR, I won’t make any jokes about how incredibly unattractive and disturbingly masculine most women’s basketball players are.
— I had a couple beers with one of the officials yesterday (not one who worked our game in Cancun). He told me that in officiating circles, Coach Cal is held in very high regard. Aside from the obvious reasons, the big thing they love is that he isn’t one of those lame coaches who bitches about every call, and that when he makes a comment, it’s usually fair and on point. Also, he called him “one of the good guys in college basketball.” Suck on that, Pat Forde!
— John Wall almost killed a woman. It was an accident of course, but still, it was almost bad. The UK players were all playing football in the pool, and Ramon went out for a long pass, and John whipped the ball at him. He had to throw it over a bridge that went across the pool, and right as he threw it, he didn’t see the woman who was walking across the bridge. John has a serious arm on him–he was throwing the ball 50 yards in the air without a problem–and this was a bullet that came about an inch from drilling her in the temple. The whole pool took a collective gasp as it whipped by her head. She was a UK fan, so I am pretty sure if the ball had accidentally hit and killed her, her husband would have agreed to just quietly bury her and pretend nothing happened. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
— One of the players from UVa recognized me–from my book, of course–and asked for my autograph. So much funny in the fact that the team I love doesn’t know who I am, but the players on other teams are fans of mine.
— Remember how I said the guy who dropped 37 on UK was a prick to me? Well, I talked to him again after they beat Rider, and he couldn’t have been nicer. I guess I just caught him at a bad time. He said that he and his team have never been as hyped and amped for a game as they were to play UK at Rupp Arena, and that game was the best they’d ever played. He said he was in a zone that night, that the basket looked a mile wide and he wasn’t even seeing the other players. I got a pic with him, and yes, I know I look hungover. You would too after three days of an open bar:
— Forgot to tell you guys–Dwight Perry is here! He’s a graduate assistant for Stanford. I only talked to him for a second, but he looks like he’s having fun. Good for him, I liked him when he was at UK.
— The Stanford Tree mascot is not here. I got so pissed when I found that out. My plan was to get drunk and beat the hell out of that paper mache monstrosity, but alas, it did not make the trip.
— I found out why the court is so messed up. Apparently, after last years tourney that Vandy won, they stored the floor in a room that wasn’t air conditioned. Well, the hot humid Mexican air had the predictable effect on the wood, and warped the hell out of it. They plan to fix it for next year. Great, but that doesn’t help us with the huge creases THIS year:
— I know we forget sometimes, probably because they are so big, but when talking about the players please try to remember how young they are. They’re mainly 18, 19 and 20 year old guys. I don’t know about you, but I was an idiot at age. They’re basically just teenagers, which makes the fact that they are performing in high pressure situations in front of so many people that much more impressive. I only mention this because UK fans, myself included, tend to get so wrapped up in the success of the team, we forget how young they are and how hard it is to do what they do, especially at their age.
— Some people asked me for clarification on my comment about different types of yellers:
When Coach Calipari yells at a player, it is after a mistake and he yells about the act the players committed. He only focuses on the thing the player did, and not the player. That is constructive yelling. Destructive yelling is when, after a mistake, the coach makes a negative comment about the player himself.
Constructive yelling, “Why won’t you shoot!”
Destructive yelling, “Shoot the ball, you idiot!”
There is a BIG difference between the two types of yelling, and I have never heard Coach Cal do anything other than constructive yelling. Focusing on the act and not using it to make a value judgment about the person reflects a high level of emotional intelligence, and to me, this shows how smart Coach Cal is and how well he understands how to motivate people.
— For whatever reason, Coach was much less animated this game. I sat right under the basket, only like 15 feet from the bench, but Cal barely yelled about anything, at least compared to the Cleveland State game. He was still intense and Still coaching constantly, he just wasn’t as vocal as before. Not sure why. Of course, maybe I was just a lot drunker this game and noticed it less.
— Some people asked me for clarification on where the players sit on the bench. I don’t understand why people were so obsessed with this, so I just took a picture of the bench during the game. Here you go:
— I don’t need to tell you what happened in the game, you saw it, but I will just say this: That was one of the most intense games I have ever been to. Yeah, it shouldn’t have been so close, yeah, we played a bit lackadaisical at times, but damn–that finish was so exciting. That game was so fun it made me thank God I am a UK fan.
— Everyone in the gym knew John Wall was going to hit those free throws. Wall has nerves of steel, you can see it in his eyes. That dude is going to be a star for a long long time.
— We talked to Padgett at the hotel after the game for a long time, and he said that even though the team has a great record, they have a lot of work and long way to go to become an elite team, but he thinks they can get there eventually. He said the UNC game will be a true test to see where we are as a team right now.
— Padgett and I also had a long argument over who was the better college player, him or Wally Sczerbiak. We both agreed it was him. He summed it up best, “If you ran the offense though me every possession, I’d have averaged 25 a game too.”
— Padgett told us a bunch of other cool things about the team, about playing for a national title team at UK, and assorted other stuff, but I have to be honest: I was so drunk by the end of the night last night, I can’t remember any of it.
— I have a GREAT story about Matt Jones (Matt, you better not censor this):
I have spent a lot of time hanging out with this really cool couple from Louisville. They read KSR and have been reading my updates, and yesterday, after a LOT of alcohol, they got the courage to ask me this:
UK Fan: “So, you know Matt Jones?”
Tucker: “Of course, we went to law school together.”
UK Fan: “You guys are friends?”
Tucker: “Oh yeah, he’s my boy. Have you guys met him?”
UK Fan: “Well…we’ve seen him out, but we’ve never talked to him. He always seems…busy.”
Tucker: “You’re calling him arrogant aren’t you!”
It was so funny–in the most polite terms possible, they basically said that Matt’s ego was so big, it wouldn’t have fit in the ballroom in Cancun. I couldn’t help but laugh, because as great as Matt is, he may be the only person I know who can give my ego a run for it’s money. We kid because we love, Matt!
(Matt note): I am never busy….I just look busy because smiling increases wrinkles. The best part of doing this is meeting people and I love talking UK fans. I have always especially wanted to meet and talk to this one couple in Louisville. I hear great things about them.
— Again, I want to thank all of you who read my updates and enjoyed them, and I want to thank all my new UK friends in Cancun who were so cool and fun to hang out with. This was a great time. Cats go to Hawaii next year for the Maui Classic. I’m in!
Tucker, his lady and Mr. Patterson