Happy Thanksgiving! Matt refused to give all three of the newbies the day off today and when Chris and I lost to Will in a game of Harry Potter trivia we were relegated to blog duty. But that’s fine because I’ve been thinking about what, as a UK fan, I’m thankful for. Lots of things pop into my head, like no more Billy Clyde, open bars at holiday tournaments and functional shot clocks. But here is my list of the 10 things I’m most thankful for this Thanksgiving, or as Tomlin might call it -“El Dia de Gracias”.
10. Normal substitution patterns– One of the things that drove me he craziest over the past 2 years was watching what would best be described as incomprehensible substitutions. Even those with little to no basketball knowledge were left scratching their heads. Now things make sense. Life is easier. The grass is greener and the sky is bluer.
9. 4 Bowls in a Row– Doesn’t matter where we go or who we play. The Cats are going Bowling again. Win the game and this becomes the best 4-year stretch in the history of the program if it’s not already. I call couch at Beisner’s place! Fake Gimel, you’ve got the floor.
8. A Great O-Line– How’s this for a group of under appreciated guys? Their contribution has been nothing short of monumental. From opening holes for the run and only allowing about a 1.5 sacks a game (LSU allows over 3), this experienced group of guys don’t get enough love. Have you hugged a Zipp Duncan today?
7. Patrick Patterson– What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Spurned playing in League to playing in a ballroom in Cancun just because he loves the University of Kentucky. His mother reminds me a young Carmen Daniels and if Tucker Max says not to mess with his dad, I believe him. Great kid, great family, great fit, great name.
6. National media expsoure– Thanks to Cougartown, the Cats have hit Hollywood. Not only that, but the media has been salivating all over UK since Colonel Calipari rode into town. Heck, they’ve even had to stash Matt in the upper arena now they’ve got so many media requests. It just feels good to be recognized for being good, rather than for “how the mighty have fallen” headlines.
5. Winning close games– Rarely are they pretty, but the experience of winning close games now goes a long way come February and March. Obviously we still have LOADS to work on, but these guys don’t seem like they are ever on the verge of imploding in the waning moments. Maybe MIA is right, maybe no one on the corner has swagga like us.
4. No QB controversy– Maybe it was just me, but I think our QB controversy was a huge distraction. I like Mike Hartline, but I’m glad we know his prognosis now and aren’t going to try to start him against UT. This has given Morgan Newton a great chance to develop and I think we’re all licking our proverbial chops when we imagine how good this kid will be in 3 years. I’ll go ahead and anoint him Andre Woodson 3.0.
3. 3pt Shooters– So maybe our worry about 3-point shooting was a little overblown? Bledsoe has proven to be a much better shooter than advertised and it seems Dodson is pretty intent on shooting until something goes in. Add in the fact Patrick is stepping back and knocking them down and that goes a long way in calming one of the major fears about this team.
2. Power transition– If we didn’t have Joker lined up, the Internets would be abuzz with who the next coach would be and if he could replicate our success from these past four years. But having him in place ensures continuity. Recruits know what they’re getting. Little to nothing changes. In the words of Forrest Gump, “It’s just one less thing, you know?”
1. “Buzz”– While this is abstract, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It just feels good to be a UK fan right now. A Top 5 basketball team, a Bowling football team- it’s the way it should be. We all walk a littler taller and brag a little bit more about our Cats. Thanks to Coach Brooks, Coach Cal and all their players and staffs- you make this state proud to Bleed Blue.