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Thoughts while we wait

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Raise your hand if you had a hard time sleeping last night.

Me too.

As we all sit and wait for news, here are some things to keep in mind. Grab a second cup of coffee and settle in.

First of all, we do not know the extent of the injury yet. But for anyone with a pair of eyes who saw the picture we posted last night, or was brave enough to watch the video that we refuse to post, you know it’s bad. I, for one, couldn’t handle watching the video because there are certain things you can’t unsee. But, from the picture and the haunting screams from Nerlens that pierced the souls of everyone watching, it is hard to think that he will have a quick and easy return to the court. I really hope I’m wrong.

What we know so far: Nerlens was examined last night in Gainesville. He traveled with the team back to Lexington last night and got off the bus on the largest pair of crutches I’ve ever seen. The X-rays taken last night showed no breaks and no fractures and he will undergo an MRI later this morning. And yes, that’s all we know.

What we also know: it is a damn shame. This could not happen to a better person. Nerlens is a big talent, but he has an even bigger heart. From his short time in Lexington, we’ve seen examples of how much Nerlens cares about the community, from visiting the children’s hospital to taking pictures with elderly UK fans at a local nursing home. He struck up a friendship with the late Lane Goodwin and hangs out with Reese Kemp. He doesn’t have to do this stuff. He chooses to. And while this injury, whatever it may be, would be awful for anyone, it is especially cruel for him.

The cruelest part? It happened on a play when Nerlens was being Nerlens–going the extra mile, hustling to do the things his teammates simply weren’t, and putting the team on his back. All season, Nerlens has been the guy on this squad who’s given his all every single night. He’s the one player that we were certain was ready to move on to the NBA not only because he’s that good, but because he is that mature. Nerlens has just recently started to collect accolades for his hard work, but we’ve known all along that he’s the “energy guy” on this squad, who brings hustle and leads by example. The guy loves Kentucky so much that he literally had it shaved into his hair.

Billy Donovan on Noel: “I admire the way he plays. I admire his energy. When you think about it, the injury came from a hustle play. That kind of embodies the way he plays.”

What does this mean for Nerlens? If we’ve learned one thing about Nerlens in his short time at Kentucky, it’s the strength of his character. He will overcome this. He is a hard worker whose passion for the game will take him back to the court. Of that, I’m sure.

Julius Mays: “We are all brothers. Win, lose or draw, we always got each other’s back. We saw him (Noel) down, and just helped him off.”

What does this mean for the team? You should not judge them on their play after Nerlens went down last night. They were obviously out of it, obviously distracted, obviously so concerned about their brother. As for their play before he went down? Yes, it was bad. In fact, it was awful. However, if they do everything right, the pivotal moment of this season won’t be when Nerlens went down, it will be when they banded together to carry him off the court. All season, this squad has lacked unity. Carrying Nerlens off is the ultimate sign of brotherhood, as heartening as any display we’ve seen from this group. Maybe this can serve as a rallying cry for a team that not many are giving a chance now. I hate to use the cliched “Win one for the gipper,” but maybe “Win one for the Big Fella?”

For a player so loved and so deserving of so much more, I can’t imagine a better tribute.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

52 Comments for Thoughts while we wait

    11:03 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    The last few sentences might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read on KSR. Admittedly, it was heart-warming to see them carry him off the court….but what has this team done on a basketball court that makes you think they won’t get TORCED by EVERY team they play if Noel is out for the year? They’ll be lucky to beat Mississippi State and Vandy. Sad but true.

  2. Card2006
    11:08 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Hoping Nerlens is okay and that his youth and health will have him back on the court and better than ever soon!

  3. RealCatsFan
    11:09 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Second cup of coffee? I am on at least cup #4. Woke up at 4:45 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep. Tossed and turned until almost 6, then fell into a deep sleep just as the alarm went off. Figures.

    This team will go one of two directions after this blow. They will come together and play hard down the stretch, and possibly make the NCAA tournament, or they will pack it in altogether and implode, hopefully not as bad as BCG’s last season. I am hoping for scenario #1, but I don’t know if this team has the leadership to make it happen. Maybe Julius or even Willie can step up. Maybe Kyle. I just don’t know that there is a player on this team that you could point to and say – “that guy right there is a leader”.

  4. NotSoFast
    11:09 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    1. Completely agree. The sentimental and prayer stuff aside. We are f’d.

  5. BobCatFan48
    11:10 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Why was ‘The Picture” taken off the site? I saw it earlier and it was terrible. But is it what it is. I understand what he is going through after seeing that picture. God speed your recovery Nerlens. BBN will keep you in our prayers.

  6. randyezra
    11:11 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Have to agree with BLOCKED, I think the NIT is now a real probability. But hey, just one year of remembering how life use to be every year. Without Noel this team should be able to win most of our remaining games but I am concerned they do not have the focus. Hoping this is not as severe as it looks, and we have a shot at the end of the year. Still if anyone can bounce back- it’s Nerlens.

  7. hossamassey
    11:13 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    The sad thing, the first and only time this team did something as a team was taking him off the court. Nerlens is likely done for the year, and so is this team. Without him, this team would not shock me at all if 2 more wins is all that’s on the schedule.

    This team looked scared to be on that floor last night. Harrow, Goodwin, and Poythress all looked like they never played the game before. I just don’t see that changing when the spotlight gets put on them more with Noel out.

  8. Krispy Kreme
    11:14 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens was the heart and soul of this team. Absolutely terrific young man who will go down as an all-time fan favorite. Players talking about “being brothers” as they carried him off would have been better served had they fought with Nerlens during the games.
    Whether UK wins again this year isn’t as important to me as seeing Nerlens get ready for the draft; he should never have been forced to play college ball. I want to punch something/someone.

  9. Season Never Ends
    11:15 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Well said. You captured how we all feel about Nerlens. While wishing him a speedy recovery, thoughts naturally go toward wondering how the team will cope the rest of the season. Hoping the Ewing Theory holds true in this case.

  10. kadizkat
    11:16 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    This is somewhat related and somewhat off subject but here it goes anyway. Before Cal came to UK, I only knew what I had read in the (negative) press. I assumed all the things that were said about him were true. When his name came up as a coach at UK (both times) I was against it. After he arrived and I have seen what he has done AND the kind of players he recruits, I am so appalled at the national press for what they do to him and, by extension, to us. Nerlens is a perfect example of the class individuals Cal recruits. Regardless of what the national press says (or UL fans) we have had some great young men come through this program the last 4 years. I am proud of them and I am proud of our coach. Prayers to Nerlens.

  11. Ridge Runner
    11:17 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, well stated Ms T & you took my (many of our) thoughts.

    Pins & Needeles while we wait.

  12. Krispy Kreme
    11:17 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I am with you kadizkat.

  13. Grow Up
    11:19 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I’m sure you had a hard time sleeping (sarcasm). Give me a break. If I had a hard time sleeping every time one of my fantasy football players tore an acl or any other athlete got hurt then I would never sleep again. This is getting a little too fake and kind of sickening. It is ok to wish the guy good luck or whatever but the constant fake “I couldnt sleep” stuff and the other stuff that these articles have been pedaling for the last 24hours is pretty sad. GROW UP

  14. 25yearsagothisweek
    11:20 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    25 years ago this week another player who wore #3 went down with a devastating injury flipping over another player going in for a monster dunk, fracturing a bone in his back when he came down. Initial reports were he would never play again. Within three weeks King Rex was back out on the court tearing it up and went on to have an amazing pro career. Not saying Nerlens will play again this year, but athletes of that high level are remarkable in the way they can bounce back from things better than the average person. He will be playing next year in the NBA doing what he does best. Wildcats will be fine this year. They will make the tournament and who knows what can happen then.

  15. Brian
    11:22 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    So just to clarify you think there is a greater than 0% chance Archie F-cking Goodwin is going to use Nerlens’ injury as a rallying cry?

  16. Will S
    11:24 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Probably still blocked but for whats its worth, whoever is reading this, ive been praying for Nerlens since it happened. So horrible to see this happen to such a young, gifted, generous young man. I truly feel awful. It is times like these that BBN shows their true character– an extremely intelligent fanbase with a family-esque quality to them. I truly admire BBN. From the 5yr olds to the senior citizens, you guys are all one big family, held together by the glue of the UK Blue. I respect you guys, and i will continue to pray for Nerlens. He is too good of a kid to have this happen to him. In a weird way I’ve become a UK fan this morning. Wishing the best for the team, Nerlens, and BBN. Bless you guys

  17. Get with it cal
    11:25 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Cal screw you and your life lessons crap and men want to be with other men BS your #1 guy who gave a crap is out for good now run and beat the crap out of these scrubs in practice they are losers and to all BBN the people who want polson and hood to play get a life they are awful! Cal get your head out of your azz and whip these little selfish crappy bball players into shape!

  18. SexnNursinHomes
    11:25 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I could have slept better on a gram cocaine than I did last night. Having a pretty shitty day, hope it isn’t anything serious.

  19. Toothless Temp
    11:25 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    KSR’s spin that this team carrying Noel off shows team unity is complete bull. Sure it was a nice gesture by the team but if anyone for one second thinks that this act will change the total attitude of this team you are dead wrong in my opinion. They will still be selfish and show a complete lack of pride when things aren’t going their way during games.

    Now unfortunately it doesn’t look like Noel will play again this season as it would take a miracle for him to walk away unscathed from that fall and while it’s nice to think that when a team loses its heart and soul that they will then bond together and fill that gap it just isn’t realistic. This team was good with Noel. Without they are probably at best an NIT team.

    Very saddening as watching Noel play this season has been a joy. I wish him nothing but the best and hope for a speedy and fast recovery. I pray he can come back stronger.

  20. Well Done
    11:26 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Nice job Mrs. T.

  21. Mcaron
    11:28 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    13, it’s called being emotionally invested. Lots of UK fans are, sorry you are not.

  22. Maxbps8
    11:29 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    EXPAND THE COURTS by 2 1/2 Feet:
    When are they going to alter the court to fit today’s players’ abilities? These guys can jump so high and far that today’s court is simply too small. Move all four lines back 2 1/2 Feet (obviously including the basket-structure) where it out of the way of collisions like this. I’ve said it for years but maybe now someone will listen and start movement to do what is only obvious and common sense. This will also open up the game making it better; particularly under the basket/baselines.

  23. Lcat
    11:30 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I have to say that some of the comments above are harsh and insensitive. We are dealing with a bunch of 18-20 yr old kids here and if I were them I would view some of the above comments very negatively. A lot of you need to get a life and show some compassion for this kid as well as the team. Or you could just resign as fans- we really do not need you. #s 1, 7, and 15, please get your priorities in life straight. You really suck

  24. Trollhater
    11:33 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Prayers for Noel. Article echoes my sentiments exactly. Hoping for a good outcome for his sake.

    KSR, please start publishing e-mail addresses and/or other personal info on the posters on here. Tired of the trolls. I visit the site to get info and am sick and tired of the nastiness of some of these people.

  25. ThankfulCat
    11:34 am February 13, 2013 Permalink


    What is harder for you to deal with?

    The slit in your head when you wash your hair


    the set of balls beneath your chin when you shave?

    11:35 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I will not be able to watch this team without Noel. When he’s not on the court, this team is pure frustration. Sorry but that’s the way I feel.

  27. Fancoulo
    11:38 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Goodwin played horrible last night but still logged 30 mins. That is the problem, not only from a competitive aspect, but surely resentment by other players, like Mays comments after the game

  28. dakari stoops
    11:38 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

  29. Mcaron
    11:39 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Then don’t watch and don’t waste you’re time telling us.

  30. UK Nate
    11:42 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #’s 1,4,7…..take your negativity away from here. Remember 6 years ago when Patrick Patterson went down at the end of the regular season. The season was over, right. But not so fast, even with BCG at the helm, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford, Derrick Jasper, and Perry Stevenson went on a run and made the tournament! It can still happen with the kids we have today. We have a better coach and probably better talent. Go hate somewhere else, because we don’t need the negative comments. GO CATS!

  31. Turd Ferguson
    11:48 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Happened the game before sec tourney. They had already made it and weren’t enough games they could lose to slip

  32. Mattd
    11:54 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    From all accounts, I’ve heard that this is a very close group. These players really do “love” one another and care for each other. The problem, in my very humble opinion, isn’t their dedication to one another, its simply that they are not as good / experienced as their opponents. SHOCKING I know. This was a very down draft class, and we pulled in the second best recruiting class. But ask yourself, is the 2nd best shooting guard in this class as good as the 20th best shooting guard from 2009 who is now a senior? Answer: probably not. Anthony Davis was better than the third or fourth best C/F from years past that stuck around a couple years. This year, simply put, our best are not as good as other teams best. It’s not like Archie can just flick a switch and overnight develop a better jump shot, better vision, better ball handling skills. He can love his players enough to take a bullet for them, but he is going to be limited. Only time and training will change his habits, its truly that simple. Lets get real, we have a shooting guard that can’t shoot, we have a “beast” in poythress who can’t dribble except in a straight line, and also can’t pull up off the dribble and hit a jumper. We have two great anchors down low, but neither can hit a jump shot or make free throws. Then we have Mays, a good player, who is unathletic, but can hit a jump shot, wiltjer, who is our best scoring threat but can’t make his own shot, and relies on being a trailer or being mismatched on screens, and Mr. inconsistent Harrow.

    Scenario 1. Archie drives the ball, beats his defender because he has a legit NBA first step. Poythress is on the wing, Poythress’ man steps in and cuts off Archie.
    Outcome 1. Archie gets a charge.
    Outcome 2. Archie tries to spin, but because he lets the ball come above his waist on the spin move, its picked and its a turnover.
    Outcome 3. Archie passes to Poythress. — this is where we should score, but we dont. Poythress wont go straight up. He puts the ball on the floor and attacks the rim. Normally a good thing, but the lane is already clogged, why? Because his man is inside, the guards sag off of Archie b/c he cant shoot, and Noel / WCS arent threats from outside the paint. Result — Poythress charge, poythress steps on baseline, Poythress turns ball over.

    This teams problem is not defense. Its easier to play defense when you can do something offensively. This team runs NO set offense, and has a shooting guard who can’t shoot, and a point guard too timid to shoot. When we play with Goodwin, Harrow, Noel, Poythress/WCS, and Mays, we have one person on the floor who MAY be able to shoot a jump shot, but can’t work himself open and isn’t a threat to beat anyone off the dribble.

    We need a Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller. Two guys with better than most college player athleticism, who are a threat to drive but who can shoot. Duke builds its team with Doron Lambs and puts one BIG white guy in the middle to clog up the paint and get boards. (no Defensive 3 seconds…. yay college ball… sarcasm) We just dont have the RIGHT players to win in college. Remember Doron lamb was our leading scorer, he opened up the entire floor. This team will not just “come together”. THey are together, they just are not very good…. we should stop talking about it now.

  33. One Thing or More
    11:55 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    IF Noel is out for an extended period of time it will expose the rest of the team. I’m sure someone will say; “They are who we thought they were.” These are AAU basketball players that need time to develop and grow up. They may or may not, but that’s really on them. Kentucky and Coach Cal are providing an opportunity, now let’s see if they take advantage. I can get through this year by reviewing last years accomplishments and looking forward to football season. May the force we with us through March, it may not be pretty with out Noel.

  34. Nerlens Noel's Cat
    11:56 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    13…I cried. And I’m a cat. Yeah, bet you didn’t know that cats can cry huh? Douche.

  35. fatcat
    11:58 am February 13, 2013 Permalink

    This team is done, the rest of these guys is a bunch of PUNKS! Noel been packing this team the whole year. WEAK!

  36. DeFunk
    12:00 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Wow, embarrased to be a UK fan with all of the obnoxious and insulting comments I see posted on here. I, for one, will remain positive and contiunue to support the program. We’re never out of gas, just a little low in the tank right now. All is well BBN, keep the faith…..and get better Noel.

  37. Red headed blue blood
    12:02 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #30- spot on. Love them or leave them. Be in or get out. Shit or get off the pot
    I scream at the tv because I want to win every game
    But when that clock runs out whether we are national champs or get put
    Out in the first round of the NIT I am a ky wildcat fan period

    Stand behind the team 25% foul shots, Archie’s predoomed comakazee drive to the basket, harrows timid time—-yes I scream at my big screen as if they were my kids. At the end of the day even if the football blue go 2 and 10 and even if THE Defending National Champs
    Miss the tournament — I wear blue. Those who post all the negatives need to realize
    Those kids are reading this. If you are gonna break them down follow that with building them up

  38. Babyblues
    12:04 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    A little off topic but did anybody else notice that Nerlens shoes were tar heel blue? My friends and I thought that was weird for him to wear that color.

  39. fatcat
    12:08 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #30 i agree with all!

  40. jaws2
    12:08 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I still can’t understand how a D1 school of FL’s stature cannot have a rolling stretcher on site. I’d be embarrassed if an opposing team had to carry an injured player off the court. What a joke of an athletic program.

  41. AWAT
    12:09 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    You got to support your team through the good and bad. These guys on here talking crap will be the same ones who are hyped up next year and were die hard fans last year. We are STILL 17-7 (you guys need to think back a couple of years before we had Cal and count your blessings now) and have the opportunity to win 4-5 more.

  42. DiggerPhelps
    12:11 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Listen to me…listen to me!!! With fans like some of you, who needs rivals. I BLEED BLUE when things are up and I bleed it when things are down. The past is great, future is bright and the present is a battle. I have a feeling that the CATS are gonna somehow circle the wagons. I am just going to enjoy the ride and pull for our team.

  43. DiggerPhelps
    12:13 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    By the way, I will be using a yellow highlighter for the rest of the season. It will match my teeth!

  44. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    12:15 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #32 – That’s the best description of this team that I’ve ever seen on this website, including the actual writers. It’s nice to see someone who actually gets the game and understand what is possible and what is not. I hated on Archie and Alex for the first part of the season but figured it out a while ago – they just are not very good basketball players, simple as that. It’s really not their fault that they simply are not as good as we thought coming into this season.

  45. fatcat
    12:18 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    keep pulling, all the way to the NIT!

  46. random goober
    12:21 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    UK and the SEC should lead the way by moving the stanchions a couple more feet back from the court. As someone posted earlier players are more athletic now than years ago when arenas were designed. Let UK lead the way in preventing, hopefully, the next injury on the stanchion. This is not the only time this has happened this year.

  47. 100%
    12:21 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I stand behind the Cats 100%, win, or not, but as #44 puts it, these guys are not as good as we thought they were as as good as they think they are. They are average Division I players, but we are use to very good, and above average. It is difficult to watch after last year, but we will continue to turn on the TV, scream at the TV and defend this team to every other non BBN person out there. That being said within the inner circle of BBN, we’ll continue to call them out and hope for an improvement.

  48. Sources confirm cal and mcl tear
    12:30 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Bad news BBN it has been confirmed ACLU and MCL tear you heard it hear I have very reliable sources! God speed to you Nerlens we true fans love you and all the BIG BLUE! God luck young man

  49. Nooooo!!!!
    12:35 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    American Civil Liberties Union tear…..(ACLU) oh, my!

    Prayers with Nerlens regardless of injury. Still praying for him.

  50. Some Random Thoughts
    12:43 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll express a few of my thoughts and concerns towards Noel and this team as people rather than athletes.

    I am prior military so I can spot a true leader when I see one. Noel is much more than a terrific basketball player. He is a selfless leader. He humbles himself to care for others around him. Taking the trips to the hospital or playing basketball with the mentally handicaped is a true testiment of his character. The injury last night is damn shame. He was injured doing what he does best. All season he has put this team on his back going to the extra mile and leading them to victory in a few close games.

    I’m putting basketball aside. Yeah I’m a true blue fan but trying to figure out this team at this point is a lost cause. I could care less if Archie “figures” it out or if Alex finally “mans up” because some things go beyond the realm of a game. Noel’s entire future is in jeopardy so I’m not concerned if KY makes the tournament at this point. He laid it all out on the line for those guys and they should respond to that well. But, win or lose, the NBA may of not only lost out on a potential blocking phenom last night they may have lost out on character and leadership in their organization.

    Good luck to Nerlens and a speedy recovery. LIke I said, I am more worried about his health than I am this season right now.

  51. @48
    12:49 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    “I have reliable sources” Why would it matter if you broke any news or have sources? A knee injury is a knee injury. Whether we find out today or in June its a knee injury. Obviously by watching the replay we determined he wont be back this year.

  52. Bus
    1:07 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    I should always ask myself: “Do I reeeeealy want to go read the comments section of this article?” each and every time I come to KSR.

    But then, it’s like a passenger train wreck. You know it isn’t right, but you just can’t help but look.

    And I tore my ACLU once. Couldn’t figure out why everyone else was suddenly really racist and bigoted towards me.