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Where did it all go wrong?

Photo by Victoria Graff

One of the hardest things to do as a Kentucky fan is give up on your team. After yet another disappointing loss, many fans seem to have thrown in the towel in on this season, content to relive last year’s Championship and look forward to next year’s epic freshmen class. Can you blame them? It became very clear last night in the second half that many players on this squad have given up. After the game, Archie Goodwin said he wouldn’t blame fans for doing the same, and that if things hadn’t changed for the better yet this season, there’s no reason to think that would change in the next week. Simply put, Archie said “We’re not giving [fans] a reason to believe in us.”

This team has had issues all season, but as fans, we’ve had that blind faith that they would come together with time. In year four of the John Calipari Era, we’ve been conditioned to think that despite massive roster overhaul each season, these talented freshmen would magically fuse into a cohesive unit capable of making a deep tournament run. This year, we’ve discovered just how crucial some of the ingredients are to achieving that final product. Where did this year all go wrong? I’ve come up with five factors that led to this season’s demise, in no specific order:

1) Nerlens’ injury

Even with Nerlens, this team had problems, but he was able to mask most of them with sweltering defense and non-stop hustle. More importantly, Nerlens was the team’s anchor, both physically and mentally. When the going got rough, Nerlens got tough. More than any other player on the roster, he has an iron will to win (ala MKG), and while not the most vocal of leaders, did everything possible to keep the Cats competitive. Losing Nerlens may have had more of an impact than any of us realize. Not only did Kentucky lose its defensive presence in the middle, but it gave some players an excuse to give up. Without Nerlens, Kentucky’s weaknesses in the post are exposed, and without the extra effort they did show against Missouri, they’re lost.

2) Collapse on defense

Poor shooting killed the Cats last night, but defensive breakdowns didn’t help. I think that a lot of players on this team relied on Nerlens’ defensive presence and once it was gone, weren’t capable (or willing) of stepping up to fill the void. Willie Cauley-Stein tries, but he is a year away from having the defensive skills he needs to go the NBA. We’ve seen glimpses of Alex Poythress’ potential inside, but too often he reverts to passively watching plays happen instead of being aggressive. While Kentucky actually outrebounded Georgia last night, there have been few things more frustrating than watching the Cats’ opponents get endless second chances because they fight harder for boards.

3) Lack of Maturity

You’ve heard Cal and the players say it time and time again: certain guys just don’t give the effort they need to for the Cats to win. At this point, with only one game left in the regular season, you can’t blame that on youth. Cal said that players giving up in close games shows a lack of discipline. Last night, Archie Goodwin was downright blunt about it, calling out his talented teammates for their lack of effort: “It just hurts, because we have the talent and we have the players and everything we need. The athleticism, everything. But as long as we don’t fight, then what’s the point of having the people that we have on the team.”


4) Lack of team chemistry

That lack of effort seems to have led to some dissent in the locker room. It’s the players who don’t want to give up on the season (Archie, Willie Cauley-Stein) vs. those who have already packed their bags (Poythress, Harrow). While Willie said that Alex is still “his brother,” his recent play has been frustrating: “You can be mad at him on the court, but you have to pick him up outside of the court and try to get him back in to regroup and get your mind right for the next game because we gotta have this win against Florida.”

5) Defeatist attitude

Cal took the blame for this team’s struggles after the game last night, but I don’t buy it. His staff has tried every single thing in the book to get some of these guys motivated, even resorting to dodgeball to try to recapture the joy of the game. You can coach, guide and push players, but ultimately, it comes down to how much they want to win. Whether due to personalities or frustration, several of these players look like they’ve given up. A few weeks ago, a team meeting helped them regroup to beat Missouri, but I’m afraid that the snowball of depression from the past two losses will be too much to overcome. I hope they prove me wrong.

As for the rest of us? Like Willie Cauley-Stein said, all we can do is have faith. And alternative plans for the rest of March.

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.

81 Comments for Where did it all go wrong?

  1. Laker Cat 18
    11:29 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Things were already “wrong” before Noel’s injury. The injury just highlighted it because it forced everyone else to play. Or not play, whichever way you want to look at it.

  2. HellofromTexas
    11:34 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Agree with #1…even with Noel in the lineup this team lost to Baylor, TA&M and ND…played close games against other teams as well. This isn’t about Noel it’s about not have a PG and no PF. Harrow and Poythress just haven’t played their role to help our the other guys.

    Every player has a weakness (Wiltjer is defense, Archie is decision making, etc) but if you have players who take up some of those weakness with their stronger play, then you get a balanced team who pick it up when someone does something.

    MKG wasn’t the greatest shooter last year but the rest of the team opened the floor up for him so he coudl drive and finish at the rim. Wiltjer wasn’t a liability last year he was the spot up 3 point shooter and played that role awesome. Everyone has to do their part and this year not everyone is doing their part! It’s not on Cal…this is a couple players who have failed to be apart of this team or unwilling to make the changes.

  3. I'm Just Sayin
    11:38 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Some of this is correct but the BIGGEST reason for this season’s lack of success is poor guard play. You cannot be succesful in College Basketball with poor guard play. Even lastnight when Goodwin scored some and seemed to play hard his decision making was bad. And Harrow is just not a high D1 point. He’s not. They miss open cutters routinely. I believe Poythress’s season would have been a lot different playing with good guards. Even last night when it seemed Poythress was out of it again he was missed inside open time after time. This wears a player down. Simply put Cal made a rare mistake in turning this season over to Harrow. And Goodwin’s terrible decision making at the 2 only made things worse. thank goodness for WCS and Noel or this season would have been disastrous.

  4. Jerry
    11:39 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    agree with 1 and 2, the order should be 5, 4, 3, 1, 2

  5. anthony
    11:40 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Alex Poythress is the laziest player I’ve ever seen. He’s damn near impossible to watch. He doesn’t go hard after rebounds, he doesn’t demand the ball on offense despite being able to shoot from 3 or physically backing down his man. Just hard to watch a guy with so much talent be so disgustingly lazy. If he comes back next year, which he should, hopefully he’ll come back and learn that even with all that talent you have to have a work ethic. Which is also weird because he’s an excellent student and that takes hard work for most.

  6. Mark Liptak
    11:45 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Mentally weak, physically soft. Some of these guys will get to the NBA when pigs fly. They need to understand that right now.

    Mark Liptak

  7. Matt
    11:46 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    There was a play in the middle of the first half that sums up the problem Poythress has. He worked his butt off and actually got in great post position and was open for about 2 seconds. Whoever had the ball on the wing on his side didn’t pass it to him and his man recovered and fronted him. After that he started pouting and disappeared for the rest of the game. The first time he works hard and doesn’t get rewarded for it he shuts down for the rest of the game. The games where he plays well he is fed early and often and stays focused. It’s that attitude from him and others that is killing this team.

  8. jumpman78
    11:47 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    You know where this season went wrong? When Miller graduated and the other 5 left. No solid upper lass players to steady the ship and show leadership. Hence the results.

  9. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    11:48 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Poythress, has Randolph Morris syndrome. Archie, selfish. Harrow, lacks the hunger. Wiltjer, also lacks the hunger and couldn’t guard a chair with a badge and a gun.

  10. BA
    11:50 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Fact is folks…not every allstar recruit is going to transition well from an enviroment where they are taking 30 shots a game…to one where they get to take 10. Not to mention going from scoring and dunking on kids that a majority of won’t even make it to the NCAA level..let alone the NBA.

    Some rise up and achieve greatness…and some peter out under the pressure.

    We just won the national championship…and if our recruiting is any idication we will have a shot at it again next year. But don’t be too hard on our kids…because they are just that…kids. As long as they are wearing a Kentucky uniform…they have my support and they should have yours too.

  11. i'm Just Sayin
    11:51 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    7 The who goes to the NBA question even looms over next season. With the guards and wings that seem headed this way there is no room for Goodwin and Harrow at all. They both HAVE to go somewhere or will likely be riding pine. Poythress just needs to mature. He’s a kid who has not lived upt o anyone’s expectations and is now openly showing frustartion on the court. WCS would get drafted top 5 if he goes but just as Teague would have been beter off to stay one more year so would he. He has to learn how to play rather than sitting on an NBA bench like Orton did.

  12. Brad
    11:52 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    This team wasn’t any good before Nerlens got hurt. Where it all went wrong was in the recruit of Goodwin and Poythress to be the primary offensive weapons. Harrow would be serviceable if he had better players around him, but this team brings out the worst in him not make him any better.

  13. saltycat
    11:53 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Matt——I saw the moment you were talking about. It actually happened more than once though. At times, he would fight to develop post position only to look up and see the guard had moved the ball away instead of letting him get set up. He was missed on a decent cut or two. During this time he also made some smart plays like pulling up in a 1 on 3 and hitting open cutters. He grabbed a few tough rebounds. He even dribbled up the court with a bit of intensity. After he tried all this and still wasnt getting the ball, he checked out.

  14. Well Done
    11:54 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Well done article Mrs. Thompson!

  15. BigSteve
    11:55 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I understand BA, problem is that Poythress usually takes about 3 shots per game. It baffles me, when he does score in the twenties he’s taking 8-10 shots a game. Last 2 games he’s taken 3 shots each game….unbelievable!

    11:59 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    On a positve note i thought Hood got after it and went to the rim TRIED, i would sit Mayes and play Hood, i think he has played hard enough to get the minutes…..and at this point what the hell is it going to hurt! This class wasnt anything like the other classes Cal has brought in so maybe he was expecting an off season and maybe just maybe he recruited some kids in this class that would be here for more than a year….even though the media built them up as one and dones……these pups are nowhere as mature as the freshman who cam in the other Cal classes and to beat it with a stick no Senior Leadership doesnt help at all…… this team was the perfect storm!

  17. UKBlue
    11:59 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    The only person that can answer this question is the man upstairs. Things were screwed as soon as Teague said he was going to the draft; this set off the boom & put the wheels in motion. Cal system runs on a good point guard; Teague left, there were no other good point guards to go after, and Cal made the gamble that Harrow would work. Harrow is way to trimmed; maybe when his balls finally drop he will get better. As for Archie & Alex, they are just way too immature, and you can tell they have never been truly pushed. Say what you want, Shawn Woods was dead on with his statement about this team.

  18. jumpman78
    12:00 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    12. If WCS goes, he is not getting drafted top 5, no matter how weak this draft is. If you watch the NBA you know that the league is becoming more and more guard / wing oriented. No way UK gets 2 big men in the top 5 of the draft.

    12:00 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    17 in the Mizz game they could not stop Alex and then he has a bad game no consistency in his game at all.

  20. Dano
    12:07 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is giving himself the blame for the complete lack of team effort. I give him credit for acting like a coachi. Harrow folds like Karen Syphers defense, and the Archie and Alex show is pathetic. They COULD be so good. Which is sad. They will enjoy the bench next year.

  21. hey, jack!
    12:08 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    why in the world arent we running the dribble drive anymore? Some might say its because our personnel is different, but im not buying that. obviously slowing down the offense isnt working. they play 75% of every possession beyond the three point line, just passing the ball around without dribbling. this team is too patient. when we get down they act like they have all the time in the world. Cal needs to step back and let these kids play street ball for us to have any chance.

  22. TheBigConderosa
    12:14 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    i personally believe that Cal’s two color oxford hes been wearing has a lot to do with this season. STICK TO THE SOLIDS JOHN!

  23. CatGrad7072
    12:15 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    It went wrong LAST year because last year’s team made it look easy.
    This year’s thought it would be easy. Big mistake.

  24. MeGawtGame
    12:15 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    it all started downhiLl sometime during the 2011-12 “recruiting” season, when — for some reason that likely shall remain a mystery for ALL time — Cal commenced to recruit sub-par talent (can U say Harrow, Wiltjer, Stein, & Mays???? — & let’s Neva 4get the “talented” Stacey Poole fiasco???)….
    in summary, Cal has been Xcellent @ convincing/luring the very-top-shelf talent to campus (e.g. Wall, Cousins, Knight, Davis, etc.)…..
    however, when it comes to “judging” the neXt-level (down) of recruits to round-out the squad & foresee as contributors 2-to-3 yrs/seasons down the road, Cal has failed miserably @ this aspect, & in reality, THIS is THE mark of a (so-called) “good” recruiter!!!

  25. UKnumber9willwait
    12:20 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    none of these are the real issues,it’s basic human nature, win a title and let up, even though Cal talks about learning to turn the page from Saban, it didn’t happen, this new team enjoyed the spoils of victory (attention, ESPN show/documentary, high preseason ranking) without earning them…it’s basic human nature especially for kids their age, Cal pushed all the wrong buttons with this team, still love the Cats, these kids are going to figure it out (over the summer), and Cal will be better next year as well, them is the facts

  26. Laker Cat 18
    12:24 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I haven’t been able to watch a full 40-minute game from these guys in a long time. Some of you aren’t going to be able to defend these guys forever. You preach this youth. These guys are 18 years old. It’s time for them to realize that you have to work for what you earn. That’s not basketball, that’s life. It’s not about talent, these guys have talent. It’s about effort, heart, and having a passion for the game.

  27. 3 fan
    12:33 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I think Poythress has become a cancer on the team. Harrow came in with a reputation for being a wus and has lived up to it.

  28. KY Girl
    12:33 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    You know why this season sucks? Because Jarrod Polson SUCKS.

  29. Patches O'Hoolahan
    12:36 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Time to pull out the bag of wrenches Cal! DODGE, DUCK, DIP, DIVE, and DODGE!

  30. kingrex
    12:38 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    This is not a good team, but I still love them. It was truly a train wreck from the beginning. For some reason Cal did not seem to want Bennett and Shabazz looks like a problem child, but once Teague left and we had sub par elites coming in during an off year in talent then it was pretty much over. I remember the rumors saying Teague left because he honestly did not believe he would play much because of Harrow. Now I see that was absolutely not true. I wonder if Cal was truly shocked by Teague leaving.

  31. Doug Showsoff
    12:38 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    22 hey, jack! Says: Jack, I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the dribble drive. That said, FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND OF IT, the entire premise of the offense relies on the ballhandler’s ability to break down and ‘blow-by’ his man. When the ballhandler (whether it be a PG/1 or a SG/2) has the ability to beat his man off the dribble, its like playing 5 on 4. If the wing defender falls off his man, its a kick-out for open jumper from the mid-corner or far-corner. If the help comes from the defense’s 5-spot, its a little alley oop to an athletic center like Davis/Noel. (Heck, even jorts can catch one next to the rim and send it down.) If no help comes, the ballhandler needs to pull up and take the 3 to 6 footer. (I think Bknight did this best.) But everything comes from the ballhandler forcing the defenses hand by being “that good”(see: tyreke evans, dRose, Wall, Knight). The issue with these 3 guards is that while Bledsoe can consistently beat his man (the reason he is still desired by the NBA), he makes terrible decisions within 7 feet from the hoop. (IE- bowls over help defender, throws bad lob, out-of-control layup attempt). As for Harrow and Polson, they just will never be in same conversation as evans/rose/wall/knight…which is why Harrow & Polson are not Top 8 NBA draft picks (like all those others). I love Cal, and everything he has done for Kentucky Basketball (on-court, fundraising, recruiting, everything), and I hate being the person questioning a potential Hall of Fame Coach (10-15 yrs from now). But you have to wonder what has happened to the Wiltjer back-to-the-basket game that saved us a couple times earlier this season. I don’t know what happened to the high screen and roll and the pick and pops. Its 25 seconds of guys standing around looking somewhat confused, seemingly not knowing what the plan is, then 10 seconds of mayhem trying to get a shot off.

  32. kingrex
    12:42 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    And if ONE person from this team goes Pro, they are idiots and have the wrong people talking to them. If they could not handle playing in Lexington then the NBA is going to absolutely destroy them. And yes this includes Noel.

  33. The maturity level will always rear it’s ugly head when there isn’t a calming force within the team. Last year we had Miller and Jones, this year we have………Polson and Hood and maybe Wiltjer. If I were a betting man I’d bet Cal will never have this bare of a bench the rest of his time at UK. WE ARE spoiled plain and simple….I’ll take a rebuilding year every 4 years…..GO CATS!

  34. H.A. Milton
    12:44 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Where did it all go wrong? When Teague entered the draft…It really seems that Cal had planned for Harrow to be Teague’s back up, and not for Polson to be Harrow’s. Also, Ryan Harrow is weeping ballerina.

  35. you being serious?
    12:45 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    kingrex Says: Couple questions for you Kingrex: How is the NBA going to “destroy them”? Do you even watch the NBA on a regular basis? Do you live in an NBA Town?

  36. 33, I’ll agree with you 100%. There isn’t a soul on this team that could take the rigors of the NBAs 84 game schedule. If the league takes prospective talent (Alex and Archie) then this really would have to be a very weak draft. Personally, I think if AA do decide to come back they would be 4 times better of getting a better shot. Also I would LOVE to see WCS come back for another year….As Tom Leach said today at the end of KSR….Do you want to visit the league or do you want to stay in the league? The choice is theirs.

  37. H.A. Milton
    12:53 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    @kingrex: Archie Goodwin will be another Eric Bledsoe in the NBA…the kid is hardwired for the NBA game. Love his ‘fight’ too! Noel will have a better rookie season than Davis if he is healthy. Playing in Lexington is much tougher than the NBA, I bet money AD would agree with that…Also, I hope Cal pulls Harrow’s scholly!

  38. 36, are you saying A&A are better than Teague,Terrence Jones or Liggins? Hell they’ve LIVED in the D league this year, and they’re a lot better than they are at this point.

  39. kingrex
    12:54 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    The only reason Cal won anything was the combination of insane talent and the veterans of Miller, Patterson, Lamb and Jones. I just think coming here in this system where the next team is literally signed before the current team gets to Christmas Break, if not before means they almost feel as though they are supposed to leave. Is that okay? I do not know the answer, but I think there was a lot of peer pressure for all those guys to leave with Kidd and Davis.

  40. you being serious?
    12:56 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    If Poythress and Goodwin stay, they potentially risk having MORE warts exposed. That would push back their second contract, leave money on table, and plat themselves down in stock. As Mason Plumlee gets consistently better with each year he stays, his draft stock hasn’t changed very much. If Cal’s info is that they are 1st round picks, and they don’t feel they will start next year, they are better to go now and get the two years guaranteed money. (life changing money)

  41. kingrex
    12:58 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    #39- Not anytime soon. He absolutely is a three or four year player. He ends up stretching his body one he drives, attempting to extend across the lane and shooting at a horrible angle and low to the ground. This does not work in the NBA. He is totally lost and painful to watch. It is fine because he is a freshman, but he is a 3 or 4 year guy.

  42. Jughead
    12:58 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I assign the blame as follows: 25% to Poythress for not caring; 25% to Harrow for wearing panties; 20% to Goodwin for playing stupid; 20% to Wiltjer for going AWOL; and 10% to Jerry Tipton because he’s a d-bag.

  43. Sammydog
    1:00 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    They don’t do what Cal wants them to do. Coaches have a game plan and strategy for every game but they go off the grid and try to improvise. Cal tries something new and it might work for one game. Then the opponents see that and easily shut it down. Both Wilcher and Mays can be easily shut down due to lack of athleticism. It is not Cal abandoning what works. Nothing works with this group for very long. They are exposed. For whatever reason, this team has not bought what Cal has been selling. Must be very frustrating for him but as usual he handles it with class.

  44. Jughead
    1:00 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Is Poythress still a projected lottery pick?

  45. catsantonio
    1:03 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I believe alex, archie, ryan, and kyle will be around for two more years. They just arent ready this year and they wont play enough next year. Noel is the only one who will leave this summer.

  46. kingrex
    1:04 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    The question is what have the scouts scene from Poythress and Goodwin which would excite them? Poythress is clearly a great shooter in the making with a soft touch, but he cannot handle the basketball, cannot guard anyone, cannot rebound and is lazy. There are plenty of really good shooters and they can do at least 2 or three of those other things. Goodwin cannot shoot, cannot pass, puts his head downs and just hurls himself into the lane, cannot guard anyone and has no arc on his shot. If next year’s draft is loaded then they need to think of their junior year as the their focal point because they have no idea what they are doing. I am not mad at them; they are simply regular freshmen who should have been getting 5-8 mins a game.

  47. atlantacat
    1:05 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    We can all do what I’m doing – rooting for the UK Hoops team. These gals are fun to watch, play with fantastic energy, currently ranked #7,having been in the top ten all year. They play tonight at 6 in the SEC tourney. If the guys have this much energy, they would only have a couple of losses.

  48. Greg
    1:07 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Starting lineup for Florida needs to be 1-Polson 2-Mays 3-Hood 4-Wiltjer 5-Stein. Bring in Goodwin as the sixth man and have a six man rotation. Harrow and Poythress not only need not to start, they need not to play. Maybe that’ll send them the message. And if they do their crap in the SEC Tourney, pull them and don’t put them back in. I would rather lose with kids that are at least trying.

  49. you being serious?
    1:07 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    AL- Neither Alx or Arch are better than teague, jones, or liggins on the day they get drafted. (I never said they were…i haven’t had that many drinks yet today.) However, the NBA (ESPECIALLY the NBA Draft), IS NOT about who is better today or on draft day. The NBA teams draft based on potential 80% of the time. Heck, they draft high school aged kids from europe…kids who haven’t even played against decent competition…yet they draft them just to own the RIGHTS for years, only in the hopes the kid reaches potential (then they bring them over). As for your other question, nearly every NBA and College Hoops writer/”expert”/reporter has stated this is the WORST draft in many years, and that next year’s draft could be the BEST in years. As for the guys you mentioned: Teague was playing behind Nate earlier in the year (both total mins and end-of-game mins). Now, he is stealing a lot of those minutes and has developed nicely. If he continues, he’ll earn a nice second contract by the time he turns 21. Jones is on a Top10 NBA team. Nearly 30 players drafted last year have spent time in the isn’t *that* bad a situation. Liggins is a defensive specialist (relatively rare in NBA) and its tough to compare him with many other. That said, he got a start or two as recently as a couple weeks ago and is stacked against a team loaded with talent (a TOP5 NBA team).

  50. Stickman
    1:09 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    How much of it is certain players just “putting in the time” until they can go pro (where they will fail, given what they’ve shown us this year), and how much of it is Cal being a great recruiter but only a fair to middlin’ gametime coach? I think it’s a combination of the two. I don’t care for this year’s team, but I like Cal. But liking a guy doesn’t make him a real good coach. I hope some of it is only his stubborness in not changing things when they aren’t working, and not that he is unable to adapt to the game as it evolves over 40 minutes time.

  51. stop smoking this early
    1:11 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    46/catsantonio: I hope you are joking. Unless you are trying to convince yourself of something. Its very rare for a guy to walk away from Lottery money. WCS is gone. No reason he should come back. Good kid…we’ll miss him next year.

  52. DHo
    1:12 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Need three guys to play at an elite level with a strong point guard.

    Noel…. check.. elite
    Proythrees….. not elite
    Goodwin…… not elite

    Harrow…. not a strong point guard.

    Lead dog (only elite level player) goes down…. it’s over.

    Buddy texted me during game “If this team were a horse, they would have shot it in Knoxville”

  53. Flux Capacitor
    1:20 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Do we even WANT these guys around next year? Let’s see what the future potentially holds…

    — They’ll FOR SURE get less minutes than this year
    — They’ll FOR SURE resent having to come off the bench
    — They’ll POSSIBLY resent the new freshmen, which will create bad chemistry
    — Bad attitude could rub off on the new freshmen

    Yeah, let’s get these guys outta here.

    Also, the Chicago Cubs win!

  54. stop smoking this early
    1:26 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    45jughead: poythress is definite first round. as high as 15. If he goes end of 1st round, he’ll have Zero expectations from fans for first year (he’ll be with deep playoff team). It’ll be 5% of the media and fan attention/criticism that he gets in Lexington. great situation for him. Last pick of 1st rounds gets 1.8 mill guaranteed over 2 years. That 900K/year would take him 18 years working a $50K/year job. Good work if you can get it.

  55. asdf
    1:28 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    If this time just had a really good point guard, most of the other problems would not matter so much. Guys like Wiltjer and Mays are great when they don’t have to create their own shots. Goodwin is held in check when a point guard controls when and where he gets the ball. Even Poythress shines when all he has to do is go to the hole and receive a pass for an easy dunk. If Teague had stayed one more year, this team would have less than five losses, even with the injury to Nerlens.

  56. tankercat
    1:31 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Just my 2 cents but our offense looks terrible, its stand around-pass around, doesnt look like we have a clue out there. Our outside shooting is awful, so teams pack it in, when they do that it closes off the driving lanes for Goodwin and Harrow. We dont have the dependale shooters to open space on the floor for the drivers, notice how when Mays and Wiljer are hitting it opens up everything else ? I havent seen any improvement since the first game, but when we rely on a one and done system we are gonna have down years. One thing i did expect was for Kyle to take on more of a leadership role similar to Miller last year but he is a different personality and that never came out. As for Alex, he really needs to find himself as a player, he has all the tools to be great but seems to me to lack the drive to impose his will on lesser players. I figure some of you are alot closer to the program than most of us, is there an ego problem with the guys ? As for next year I think WCS stays, Nelens goes, and I expect either Alex or Archie maybe both to transfer. I really dont see anybody on the team that is NBA ready, they say its a weak draft so who knows. Im keeping the faith for a win over the Gators this weekend and a big dance invite.

  57. STEVE!
    1:31 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I’m as disappointed in this season as anyone, but please stop with the “cancer”, “selfish”, “stupid”, “lazy”, “sub-par” et al descriptions of OUR TEAM’s players. They are teenagers, and teenagers don’t always do what you would like for them to do, and they don’t progress at the same rate. From all accounts, they’re good kids and students off the court. We’ve just been blessed the past three years to have some unusually gifted teenagers (Wall, Knight, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist) in leadership roles. From published quotes, Nerlens, WCS, and Archie have all been very upset and disappointed themselves in the way the season has gone. Hopefully, they’ll stick around, think about how to get better in the off-season, and be key parts of winning #9 next year.

  58. there you go flux!
    1:35 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    flux- smarter words were never spoken (or typed). I absolutely agree. Its impossible to understand how the same Kentucky Fan that rips Poythress or Archie for 1) not being as good as projected or 2) not being team player or 3) not being an effort or energy guy or 4) not doing hundred things, will then criticize the player for realizing their dream and leaving while still projected in first round. I’m not gonna say ill words of them (they are still kids), but I don’t think them staying makes sense (for them, or for Cal/UK). You can’t tell me Archie will be thrilled about the 9 mins a game he gets next season behind the harrisons and young. If anything, it potentially scares off future 4 and 5 star kids because a “can’t miss” guy ended up ‘missing’. (For that reason, they should go if projected first round.) Cal will be able to Sell that 19 have been drafted in 4 years at UK; and we just gotta cross out fingers that the future 4 and 5 star recruits will mesh better. I just don’t get ripping on them for leaving to make life-changing money. I’ll still root for them to succeed in the NBA cause its in the best interest of Cal and UK to do so.

  59. there you go Steve
    1:41 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    STEVE! Says: VERY WELL SAID! We need more fans like you Steve. I read the comment boards for 5 mins after last night’s game and I was ashamed to be a UK fan/Grad. (More ashamed from the comment boards than the play on the court). I wanted to puke (once again, from the comment boards, not the players). Some of these “fans” should do us a favor and walk into traffic. [I know some are trolls, UofL or IU fans posing as UK fans…but we didn’t need the help of the trolls to appear as a disgusting fanbase last night.]

  60. LazyAlexPoythress
    1:50 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    58- Great sentiment in that thought, but sometimes it helps to be honest. By all accounts he’s a great kid off the floor, and a great student, but Alex Poythress is an incredibly lazy basketball player. I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to call him a team cancer, but when you have the attitude that he seems to of just giving up when things don’t go your way it can definitely rub off. I find it hard to believe that he’s an ideal teammate.

  61. Thanks 50…if we have many more games like last night I may not stop drinking until noonish the next day ha ha ha.

    But on a positive note if we do lose to UF tomorrow all we’d have to do is put together a string of 7 games to get to the NCAA Championship game. GO CATS!!!!!!!!!

  62. this blog
    1:58 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Wow!!! I can’t believe BBN is this loaded down with Dbags. You message board nerds are PATHETIC!!!!!!! Most of you ass clowns can’t even dribble a basketball. Now get off the computer and go look for a job…CLASSLESS BUMS.

  63. yo tankercat
    2:00 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Tankcat- I agree with almost everything you said. Shots aren’t falling, it changes the whole dynamic…your spot on. But I don’t believe this is about our guys being freshman or the one-and-done philosophy. I’m tired of all the losses being blamed on “freshman play” or “one-and-done” or “inexperience”. This would come across as blasphemy to most UK fans, but I’m an aboslute diehard for 2 teams…syracuse and kentucky. I grew up 10 miles from Cuse campus, going to games and Jimmy B’s Summer Hoops camp. I spent best four years of my life at UK. Having not missed a single minute of a Syracuse or UK game in many years, I think I can speak with perspective to both. My opinion, for what its worth –> Very experienced teams in college hoops make the exact same mistakes as our Freshman-laden teams: defensive lapses, droughts of inefficiency and looking confused/lost on offense, missed open jumpers. This year’s Cuse team has: 2nd yr PG that is projected Top10 NBA pick, 4th yr SG that has started 100+games, a 5th year Sniper off the bench, plenty height down low. But the shooters have gone ice cold the last two weeks and the point guard is making terrible decisions, so they lose. When Wiltj can’t knock down one open 3s in first half last night, UK has little chance to win. If he knocks down a few of those open looks, it becomes a completely different game. When we win versus Maryland in opener or versus a tough Mizzou team, its because of talent. But whenever we lose, its because of one-and-dones. I don’t buy it. Its because we make bad plays…the same bad plays that juniors and seniors make. (see phil pressey, blowing game after game in crucial situtions.)

  64. hey there THIS BLOG
    2:04 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    this blog Says get a job: I’m at work. thats the best part! Please feel free to stop over at stubhub and buy my overpriced nba and concert tickets. daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

  65. tankercat
    2:04 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Good post #58, this season should be a learning experience, its not high school and I think alot of us froget that. The players are bigger and faster and not impressed with our guys HS clippings. I really hope they learned this year about what it takes to be a winner at the D1 level.

  66. Litig8tr
    2:06 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    58-60. Your points would be well-taken if the players were trying hard, but simply weren’t very good. They can’t help their talent level but they can control their effort. Apart from WCS and the subs, these guys refuse to play hard and refuse to keep their heads in the game. The lack of effort is fair game and cannot be blamed on immaturity. Nor will it improve with maturity. That is why Harrow, Poythress and Goodwin should transfer or have their scholarships pulled. They won’t get much PT next year and will be a bad influence on the new guys.

  67. why transfer
    2:27 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    i don’t know if i’ll ever understand what passes moderation and what doesn’t, and why. no profanity, no racism, no threats used, yet doesn’t get put on the page. just confuses me.

  68. keeneland
    2:28 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    how long til keeneland and football season? ugh. cats need a big win tomorrow!

  69. Big Bear
    2:45 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Guys the problems with this team started prior to the season start.

    Lack of Point Guard – Either the selection or development of. Ryan Harrow.I think that’s why Cal tried like heck to get Mark Lyons.

    Lack of a true physical 4 – I think if we would have had a scholarship available back in January 2013, Jarnell Stokes would be wearing blue. Cal could not have anticipated him leaving high school a semester early. He was going to be the 4 for this class. Then Cal missed on Bennett and Oriachi.

    Small Forward Development. – When we missed on Shabazz, I thought we would be ok because I thought Poythress would be great. He just hasn’t developed into the man at this point. I honestly thought he would resemble MKG. He is not comfortable at the 3 and is more of an undersized 4.

    ESPN All Access. I believe it was positive for 2014, fans, and future recruits and possibly detrimental to this team. Sean Woods spoke of entitlement. Maybe he was right.

    Team Chemistry / Toughness. Largely due to Point Guard Issues and lack of leadership.

    In all fairness, Cal has had to coach his butt off this year and with the exception of choosing Harrow to run the Point. He has done an amazing job recruiting. Especially when you consider the number of reclassifications. This team was / is being contrasted to last years team and that makes the flaws of this team more glaring. Last years team chemistry was amazing and they were a joy to watch. Given enough time and with Nerlens this could have been a good team. We ran out of time and lost Nerlens in the process. No matter the end result, this is still our team.

  70. well said
    2:49 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    70. gold star. your spot on.

  71. apr?
    2:49 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    apr? testing

  72. Durrrr
    2:50 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I keep seeing the name Wilcher and Shawn Woods pop up. Good grief, not to be the grammoor polese but could we learn to spale our own playurs names correcktly? Yep, those were on purpose.

  73. Ctcats
    3:11 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    This season went wrong when Teague announced he was leaving for the NBA. This team desperately needs a point guard….Harrow should not be a starter for any team in the SEC. I’m not sure what Cal was thinking when he recruited him here.

  74. playersfan
    3:14 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    A lot of basketball people make fun of Henderson’s antics at Mississippi, but I liked when he played KY, he helped KY players up, he patted them on the back, and still competed very hard, but what I like most is Kennedy says when they lose, Henderson often cries in the dressing room. I wish somebody at KY would cry, they should, but I don’t think anybody on this team cares that much, even those doing the talking about how much they care.

  75. blind as a bat
    3:29 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Get of harrows back. My god. Apparently you guys don’t remember how awful teague was at times last year. He was a turnover machine. Had no bball iq.He had one of the best teams of all time to play with. The only reason he looked good in spurts last year was because he was left WIDE OPEN. he cant even get on the floor for the bulls without derek rose being there. He will be outta the league in 3 yrs

  76. STEVE!
    3:30 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    61 & 67 – I think Archie plays hard, but is out of control a lot. I think that comes from being about the only guy that CAN occasionally make a one-on-one play, and trying to do more than he should have to. I live in Nashville and watched Alex play in high school. He gave great effort, even though most of the time he didn’t have to because he was so much better. Not sure what has happened to him, but I think it’s possible that he gets frustrated and lets down when he only has the ball passed to him a few times a game, while watching the three guards fire up about 35 shots a game.

  77. you guys are nuts
    3:38 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    75playersfan — were you not watching the postgame interviews? it looked like somebody had just ripped archie’s soul out as he tried to put the loss/effort into words…he looked about as sad/dejected/frustrated as you can look. what else you want..for him to bottle his tears and mail them to your home?

  78. delkfor3
    3:53 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    I am a lifelong UK fan that happens to coach at the small college level in Georgia (my first year down here). I was able to go to the game last night and got to see some of the same problems I had with my team this year play out at the bigtime level.
    You can preach, teach, cajole, beg, threaten, battle, debate, discuss, scream as a coach (and I pretty much tried all of those myself this past year) but, if your guys do not buy in, it’s just not happening. To me, it is mind boggling that ANY young man would decide not to listen to the message of a coach who has had Coach Cal’s success—but I am on the coach side of it.
    Every human being is selfish—it is how you are able to overcome that selfishness that dictates how successful you can/cannot be in a team setting. Our Cats OBVIOUSLY showed that last year, overcoming their own agendas for the betterment of the team. What a special group that was!
    This year—and there was much less margin for error, especially after Nerlens went down—it is simply not the case.
    What this will end up being is a lesson going forward for future teams how not having the proper attitude/effort gets you nowhere.
    Glass half full analysis.

  79. blind as bat, you are
    3:59 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    76 / blind as a bat. Hey there Blind as bat – do you even watch or follow the NBA, at all? Don’t answer- the rest of us that watch the games and follow the former Cats already know you don’t. For the last month, Teague has averaged 22 mins a game. (“He can’t even get on the floor”) With less than 1.65 turnovers in 22 mins (as the primary ballhandler), he’d average just a hair over 3 TOs a game if he played 40 mins. Not bad for a guy who just turned 20 last week. He’s also been getting more and more minutes in crunchtime, and not just garbage mins in 2nd quarter. He’ll probably have a very nice career that adds to the 1.9 million guaranteed $ he has in the bank. Don’t talk out of your behind if you don’t know what your talking about. (How long did it take you to make your first 1.9 million?)

  80. Big Bear
    5:35 pm March 8, 2013 Permalink

    Blind Bat, You can’t realistically compare Harrow to Teague. Yes, Teague had to learn to play within Cal’s system and facilitate the offense for others. I don’t think he ever gave cause to question his heart or mental toughness. Last Years team had each others back. I remember when the kid from LSU tackled Davies. The bench had to damn near sit on MKG to keep him from rushing the court. This years team lacked the fire, the passion, and the feeling for one another. If you are worried about your own issues more then you can’t provide the leadership.