(Photo by Chet White)
After recovering from one of the harshest hangovers I’ve ever had in my collegiate career I began to reflect on this incredible season. Immediately three things came to mind. First thing I thought about was Coach Cal’s legacy. Calipari is a finally able to call himself a national champion and remove any doubts about his coaching ability or recruiting methods. He quietly got revenge on an over matched Bill Self, who defeated Calipari in Cal’s first national championship appearance, and also on Rick Pitino, who bested Calipari in the same game on his way to his own first title in 1996. This was the perfect way to win a title for Cal. He took down the ghosts of his past and can now go forward with the objective of molding better basketball players and dismissing inevitable NBA rumors. The second thing I thought of was that fact that Kentucky is back on the top of the college basketball world. It has been a fourteen year wait on the eighth title for the Kentucky faithful, and to beat rival Louisville on the way to reaching the pinnacle makes it that much sweeter. Finally, the last thing I realized is that we won’t ever see most of this team wear the blue and white into battle again –and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’m talking legit sadness came over me. I felt so close to this team on their way to glory, and now its over? The next time I’ll see Anthony Davis suit up to play basketball it’ll be for the New Jersey Nets — or worse the lowly Charlotte Bobcats? It seems like a cruel joke. A joke that will likely be over once April 11th rolls around and Kentucky receives a letter of intent from Nerlens and/or Shabazz, but until then I’ll be inconsolable.
I know, I know, we’ve gone through this twice before with the John Wall team and the Brandon Knight one too, and I should be used to it, but this one really hurts. Don’t get me wrong, the first two years of Cal’s tenure were great rides and after the debacle that was Billy Clyde’s hiring, like a scorned divorcee, I was just happy to be loved again. But the honeymoon is now over and we’re three years into a pretty successful marriage with Calipari. Within this relationship with Cal the only downside is we can’t get too attached to these players. It’s what we signed up for.
You could argue that any team that has a chance to repeat is not going to be the same as the team before it. True, but what team has five or six first round pick on it too? Is it because these kids were the ones that actually delivered the eighth title that makes us feel more close to them than the others? I don’t know. Probably. But this the best team that Calipari has had here and I’m sad to see it go. We could get into a talent debate and the NBA prospects of this team versus the others but all I know is, I wish we had another year with this team.
With the impending blessing of the NBPA, David Stern is trying to push the minimum age to enter the NBA up to twenty. Nothing would make me happier as a college basketball fan. Stern has actually done us a favor setting the current age minimum for the NBA and getting these outstanding players to play in college at least a year because most would’ve taken the same road as Kobe, Dwight, and LeBron. This rule change would allow us to have more time with our players and it is something I think that Kentucky fans would relish. Being that we just hoisted number eight into the rafters just yesterday, most will probably just tell me to enjoy the our accomplishments and not look too far ahead, but I can’t help it. This sucks.