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Closing the book on the season that could have been

As we close the book on another season of Kentucky basketball, the inevitable question becomes, how will this team be remembered?

If you go by results, the Sweet 16 finish puts this team ahead of the 2013 NIT group and the 2016 Tyler Ulis/Jamal Murray squad that lost to Indiana in the second round. A month ago, I think all of us would have gladly accepted that fate; however, a strong SEC Tournament run and a suddenly easy path to the Final Four skyrocketed our hopes for something more, making last night’s loss even tougher to swallow. The past week felt too good to be true because it was. The reality is, this team never really had all the pieces in place to make a run, a realization that’s finally settling into place.

Flash back a year to the aftermath of Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight. De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, and Isaiah Briscoe were off to the NBA, Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, and Mychal Mulder graduated, and Isaac Humphries decided to return home to Australia to play professional ball. That left Wenyen Gabriel as the only returning player who logged significant minutes. Freshmen are the norm at Kentucky, but this kind of inexperience was unprecedented, even for Cal. For the first time since 2013-14, Kentucky didn’t have a veteran guard to help mold a freshman backcourt, and it showed.

Not helping matters were the injuries. In the fall, news broke that both Jarred Vanderbilt and Jemarl Baker would miss an extended amount of time, robbing Kentucky of arguably its most versatile player and the sharp-shooter they so clearly needed. In December, Quade Green got poked in the eye and a few weeks later, went down with a back injury, forcing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to take over at point guard. Shai’s hard work and ability to get to the rim became Kentucky’s identity, but once Quade returned, he assumed Shai’s old position off the ball, making for an odd role reversal that only worked when Quade was able to hit threes. Meanwhile, Kevin Knox showed glimpses of the elite talent that he is, but lacked the consistency to be the star the team needed to rise above its youth. Hamidou Diallo reverted before our very eyes.

After Vanderbilt returned and knocked off the rust, the team had to reinvent itself once again. Just as they were finally getting into the flow, Vanderbilt got hurt again, prompting another shuffle. Thankfully, that one resulted in an SEC Championship, the unexpected confetti moment most fans had given up on. Between Wenyen Gabriel’s historic three-point performance and Sacha Killeya-Jones’ awakening, hope suddenly bloomed. The win over Tennessee in the SEC Championship seemed like a trustworthy sign that this team was capable of something. The top four seeds in the South Region fell like dominoes, illuminating the path to another great story few of us could have imagined.

Sadly, this story didn’t end with a Final Four. Instead, it ended with a frustrating loss to a team that isn’t that good but managed to expose all of Kentucky’s worst traits. Injuries and inexperience prevented this group from reaching their potential; however, the growth that we witnessed is truly remarkable. For a team that looked so bad early on, especially on defense, to morph into the one that won the SEC Tournament is proof of Calipari’s genius. He’s better than anyone at getting a young group of guys to surrender their egos for the greater good. Now, he doesn’t always manage late game situations as we would like, but Kentucky’s turnaround this year is something to be proud of, even in the light of last night’s disappointing finale.

What now? As the McDonald’s All-American Game billboard outside the hotel in Atlanta reminded me, time marches on. Some players will stay, some will go. Unlike last year, more will do the former than the latter. The cupboard will not be bare; in fact, it could include the ingredients for Calipari’s most successful squads: veterans and freshmen (with two pure shooters in Tyler Herro and the returning Jemarl Baker) along with the extra time to make it right thanks to the foreign trip in August. Now that? That’s something to get excited about.

This season will be viewed as a disappointment by most, but the image I’m left with is of Calipari embracing Nick Richards during last night’s game. Richards is a good example of a kid who just couldn’t escape his insecurities. Watching him struggle this season was hard, but Calipari never gave up on him, something we could all keep in mind in the bleak light of the morning after.


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.

72 Comments for Closing the book on the season that could have been

  1. maximumscott
    5:40 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Thats a great moment captured. Cal loves these kids. We should have a great squad next year with all the pieces. Get Montgomery and we got lethal front court and backcourt. PLATOON!

    • syrin23
      6:58 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Unfortunately, I am coming around to the thought we will never win with Cal. He made the EXACT same mistakes at Memphis, and he has not learned. How many times are we going to hear him speaking out both sides of his mouth? “I should have called a TO”. yeah, you’ve said that a dozen times before. When are you going to ACTUALLY DO IT? “We have to play fast” amd “We need to score 70 points in the tourney to win”. True, so then why do you let Shai LAZILY WALK UP THE F’ING court when we are down by 8 and turning the ball over every other possession? Is that the formula to scoring 70 points? Of course not. If you have thoroughbreds, you RUN. If you have slow untalented players you slow it down, grind it out and kill the clock like we did even though we are awful in that sort of game.

    • 4everUKblue
      8:39 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Code you of all people should be an expert on being played by your coach (ex-coach, sorry), if we never win another NC we will still have 6 more than your dumpster fire program and coach. Wait, you don’t have a coach. You have been elected as president of the LittleBrother Idiot Society. Just Sayin’.

    • 4everUKblue
      8:43 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Night Code sleep tight with your fake DVD. You really should ask Slater for a date, he’s lonely and you two are a match made in heaven. Just Sayin’.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      12:09 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      I disagree completely. This article should have been titled “closing the book on the season that was…” 1.frustrating. 2. Exciting! 3. Filled with ups and downs 4.That had a chance to be amazing… 5. But ultimately just got bit by the injury bug. (No guard depth due to baker injury, Vanderbilt flashed and fizzled with injury, and the biggest impact of all… Hami ankle twist. Ultimately it was a freak accident that wasn’t anyone’s fault.

    • 4everUKblue
      8:20 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Code, so you’ve seen all 2 of your NC? Bravo for you, cause that’s all UofLittleBrothel has ever seen in any sport. So tell me again how you are not just a basketball school, it’s the only sport you’ve won anything at, and your program’s wins doesn’t go back far enough to remember the Korean War so no wonder you’re not bragging about that….wait, the only bragging rights you have is being the first and oops, ONLY program to be stripped of a NC. But then again stripping is you’re specialty. You and Slater hook up and do your thing, you’re two peas in a crazy pod….LMFAO ! You and Slater love abuse so go abuse each other.

    • callitlikeiseeit
      2:13 pm March 24, 2018 Permalink

      this book closed after the blue/white scrimmage game. I drove 3 hours to go to this and left at halftime knowing our season had no title shot. What a disappointment knwoing we were in the same boat as EKU, Miss St, Tenn Chat, and over 300 other schools that making the tourney would be the high point for the supposed to be “Gold Standard” of college basketball. Sadly I see little chance for next year unless we get a transfer or 2, but will wait till ebginning of year to be sure as maybe more of these kids come back than I expect.

  2. bbnboy2012
    5:49 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I’d argue they had substantially more pieces than K-state or Loyola and one of them is going to make the run. Pieces were there given the way the tournament played out. They just failed to execute.

    • Luether
      7:06 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      More specifically, one guy, PJ Washington, failed to execute – completely choking – missing 12 FTs in a 3 point loss. This is not complicated or difficult to understand. Ky was, by far, the best team remaining in the regional…

    • callitlikeiseeit
      11:48 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      “The reality is, this team never really had all the pieces in place to make a run”.
      Well holy cow….I said this in November after I went to the blue/white scrimmage and I left at halftime. I said on here this team with Cals coaching had zero chance at a title and for me the season was already over, sad to say as a UK fan since the late seventies. This is UK and we should be in the hunt every year but I knew then we had no shot, too young and not talented enough. All on here bashed me and called me a U6 fan and troll etc. NO, I just simply saw the obvious and you would to if you look at reality. Why did it take till now to see that?

    • BigBlueNationDude
      2:39 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Call it is a cards fan…

  3. mhs1964
    6:00 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I still don’t understand the optimism about next year, particularly with the talent Duke has signed, and what we have inked.

    • syrin23
      6:41 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Here’s the thing about Duke. Eitehr Cal or coach K will get exposed next year. If Coach K wins or advances really deep, then Cal’s “this team is young” crap doesn’t hold a lot of water as that team will be as young. If coach K flames out, then he will be exposed, and Cal will be vindicated to SOME degree, because Cal still keeps losing to worse teams.

  4. Smyrna_Cat
    6:02 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    On to Football season!!

    • Jiminy Crickets
      6:14 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      So we likely return Washington, Gabriel, and green, along with Richards and SKJ. Plus 3 freshmen and a kid coming off knee surgery. Good team? Yes. But elite? No
      A healthy Vanderbilt makes us good. He is the wildcard between good and really good

    • makeitstop
      6:43 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Crickets is right – with Vando, they are very good (IF they stay healthy, and you’re talking about 2 kids in Vando and Jamarl that have injury problems) but who knows if they are elite? IF they get a big man… IF Wenyan learns to handle the ball, IF SKJ gets stronger and Richards beefs up and learns to rebound with two hands and not fumble the ball in the paint, etc. But real question is, will the guys coming in be that good? I’m less convinced the ratings are right once you get outside the top 4-5 guys (and remember Skal was the number one recruit. Wow.) plus, Duke has the best class by far and they won’t lose everyone. K always cons some kid into coming back bc he cares first and foremost about winning Duke basketball games, not creating dreams. That’s not a shot or a compliment, it just is and we have to deal with it.

    • Lip Man 1
      7:32 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      God help us.

  5. BonnieTayshaunBilly
    6:27 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    This team didn’t overachieve or underachieve. They just were. Somehow, that stings. Players showed flashes, but never were consistent. We lost to a team who played a guy with a broken foot while we had a player who sat out half the season with a mysterious sprained ankle. It was an underwhelming season. It wasn’t exciting until the end. But, the team that showed up for the last game was the same team that played the majority of the season. We had some good wins. Go Cats! Give me a little more to cheer about next year.

  6. BBNParkerCO
    6:30 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Optimism comes from knowing that we’ll have some experienced players to help the freshmen through the difficult times and Cal won’t have to work so hard to get the attention of the youngest team in NCAA history. For those of you that post on a regular basis, please remember that these are young kids and not paid NBA millionaires. Enjoy the fact that we have great kids that play hard, go to class and stay out of trouble off the court. Cal does a great job of recruiting talented, quality individuals. Unfortunately, we are not able to keep them at UK for 3 to 4 years like most of the schools, but I’m proud of the kids that go through the program regardless how long they stay.

    • Lip Man 1
      7:31 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Well to be fair Duke is in the same position. How is it working out for them?

  7. Underdog
    6:32 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    The reaction of the guy on the right illustrates how sweet and priceless a moment that was. That man understood.

    Cal’s love was manifested. He cares. He tried to console Nick.

    Nick will get better. He just needs experience. He was rattled mentally. Too much to absorb.

    Our biggest recruit will be Vanderbilt. He’s special. Hope he stays and stays healthy.

    Green will provide Briscoe-like leadership.

    Gabriel is turning into an asset. Jones may really blossom to new heights.

    We get one sharp shooter next year who is a gym rat. We get another J. Vanderbilt type of workhorse in Johnson, which has a jumper. The biggest question mark will be Quickley. How good is he???

    We could use a Bamba type of recruit, who could have blocked that last layup attempt by Brown.

    But the real need is to have a guard like Alexander or Fox. I hope Quickley fits the bill.

    • makeitstop
      6:48 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Hell I could’ve blocked that last layup! They were riding around on circus scooters, biggest guy is 6’2″ and we couldn’t out-rebound or block. Apart from that, you’re right – we should be optimistic but I’d temper that with the fact we’ve underperformed for one reason or another the past 3 years. I’d say we were due but the basketball gods would say “I GAVE YOU BUFFALO, K-STATE AND LOYOLA AND YOU SCREWED THAT UP?! How much more ‘due’ can you be?”

    • henderblue
      8:47 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Yes of course you could have. With you playing and syrin23 coaching, what a ride we could have went on.

    • syrin23
      7:00 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly, and how many times did we throw it in the post or alley oops when they had no one over 6’2″ in there? NEVER!

    • catsarerunnin
      8:28 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      When have you coached college basketball? NEVER!

    • Underdog
      8:47 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      You can’t make alley-oop passes easily when there is aggressive on-the-ball defense. IU played the same style two years ago. The refs could have blown another 15 fouls on KSU, and fouled out 3 more players by the 5-min mark.

      This is what Cal was saying at the press conference when he said it was a “physical game.” He is saying that KSU, as was IU, as was Wisconsin, fouling the crap out of us. And as proof that is what he meant he followed up by saying, “if the refs are going to allow that style of play, you have to adjust and play through it. Plus, you don’t realize how much it takes out of you. It wears on you physically.”

      To keep getting fouled and bumped and driven from the lane ultimately caused Shai to alter his game. In the final 6 – 8 minutes of the game, how many times did he do his patented drive and score? I don’t recall any. We were feeding PJ, successfully. And that WOULD HAVE worked, had he shot 60%, but shooting 40% KILLED us. Nazr Muhammed went 0 for 6 back in 1997, if I recall correctly. Just one hit and we win. PJ had an off night at the FT line, but he was otherwise the player of the game (wish he could have blocked that last layup attempt though….but it was Alexander who got beat by Brown, but it was Wenyen who went to double team 4 seconds too early…if he had waited, the Brown likely would have had to pass the ball and SOMEBODY ELSE would have been forced to shoot the ball, rather than Brown. Everybody knew Brown would take the shot).

      Bobbum, it wasn’t that Shai got rattled. He was wore out because of the abuse he took. No legs. Probably just 80% of the fouls on KSU’s backcourt were called. They were reaching in AS PART OF THE GAME PLAN! They were bodying him and the ref let 20% of the calls go. Eventually, you think, “Hell, their killing me every time I drive, so I’m just gonna adjust my game to avoid the abuse.” Plus he was tired. And 00 was very quick (McGurly or something like that).

      Look, KSU played the old “foul them every possession and just hope we have enough players by the end of the game” strategy. Wisconsin used it. The refs obliged BIG TIME. IU used it (refs obliged), and KSU used it, with the refs obliging. There’s a psychological barrier in a ref’s mind to keep calling all the fouls. They start to feel guilty. I think that game plan is “cheating”, but it works.

      And truth be told, our talent was better, and our effort was at least equal, so it shouldn’t have mattered about the refs if PJ hits 60%…we win in regulation. But he didn’t.

      If Shai could have done what he did in the first half, we win comfortably. I really think he got tired. We needed one more guard who could score off of penetration. Didn’t have that guy. Shai was required to do too much. In this game, it caught up to us, due to the gamble KSU took by committing to the fouls. It worked.

      That strategy explains our loss in the 39th game a few years ago. It explains how Murray and Ulis were beat, and explains last night. It is THE formula. I think Coach Cal knew it was coming, and tried to prepare, but we just didn’t make enough plays to compensate for PJ’s missed FT’s.

    • Le Docteur
      9:12 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      First, Mrs. Thompson, that was some great sports writing. Very well done and thank you. Second, Underdog has it exactly right.

    • syrin23
      10:10 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Hey dumb f’s. Let pretend you are bball team and you and 5 of your friends who are 6’7″ and TALLER show up to play a YMCA team that has no one over 6’2″. they CANNOT contest the entry pass OR the turn around jump shot. Physical impossibility, and we NEVER posted up and threw it inside. Hell, Nick Richards of Kalaiya Jones would been huge in those last 4 minutes. A quality coach can set a play up to get the ball in the post. You all seriously have excuses for everything. So why recruit bigs if you can’t use them against a MUCH smaller team? At the end of the game, that was the SMALLEST line up we faced ALL F’ING YEARS you idiots. Good grief.

    • henderblue
      10:19 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      You should know about coaching YMCA teams dumb ass. You’re a legend in your own mind. The greatest armchair QB of all time

    • steeleheart
      1:17 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Well said underdog. Your description of what happened in the K-State and previous games is spot on. Folks either don’t understand or are being intentionally ignorant (read agenda driven) regarding coach speak. Teams that are significantly lower in talent level often employ that style of play in a tourney game. Why not… lose and go home. It’s on the refs till stop it or let it go. They let it go and we still should have.

      Cal has one fault in this though. When you are non chalant speaking about free throws as coach and down play their importance, it’s a given your players will be non chalant in their practicing of them. It’s totally on Cal to change the perceived importance on free throw shooting. Cal has to take ownership of that. Correct that, and we’ll win another.

    • makeitstop
      10:18 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Henderblue, when one says “I could block that” that is called satire. A form of humor, like irony, to make a point. But the failure to leverage a height advantage like we had is pretty glaring even to us casual observers and YMCA coaches. Underdog’s analysis is good, the style wore us down, but the last few possessions, we missed opportunities. PJ could’ve won the game and made them pay but he didn’t and Cal’s lack of emphasis on free throws costs him over and over – he can’t shoot them but he can work to improve them. They’re a big part of the game, ask Vandy. Ignoring it is like saying u don’t put much emphasis on seatbelts on airplanes bc they don’t do much… until u need them.

    • bluecrowe
      2:57 am March 25, 2018 Permalink

      Thank you underdog for your thoughts. It certainly feels true. It has helped me reframe those losses in my mind. If they were doing that all game then perhaps PJ should have brought a foot down hard on their center’s stress fractured ankle as a warning. It is a cheap way to win, because of course the refs will stop calling fouls. It would be human nature. It was a bizarre game to be sure. What are your thoughts on why Shai never seems to push the ball..especially last night. It would have put so much pressure on their defense before they could set up. We lost to a very poor basketball team and it is frustrating.

  8. JustUrAvg
    6:43 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Great read Tyler!!

    • callitlikeiseeit
      9:07 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Well saying we won the SEC tourney means we were playing well is a joke. The SEC is terrible like I said all year. Several ok teams no good teams. Had 4 teams blown out, big time, in the tourney. Also had 4 or 5 lose to lower seeds. Not one SEC team had any hope of a title and only reason we lasted to 2nd weekend is because we played Davidson and Buffalo. At start of Big 12 tourney KState was a bubble team,

  9. Ridge Runner
    6:50 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Again, Ms T… well written and shared comments that show perspective.

  10. Bluebros
    7:00 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    One of the better posts in recent memory. You have a great talent Tyler. Thank you for sharing

  11. Wade
    7:08 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Team did great. Freshman made bad decisions and didn’t hit free throws. It happens like that. It sure is an exciting life being a CAT we don’t win every year. We only have 8 in 100 years. I love the team and all should too. I do want more Kentucky products we have room for 1 or 2 4 yr guys. But stop the negative stuff this stuff is great cals or guy and somepeople should stay making for a great run next year. Who do y’all think will be our starting 5 next year???

  12. timewilltell
    7:17 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    The old saying goes, “if you are riding a horse and it dies, get off of it.” Recruiting players who end up being one n done works well if those players are the elite talent. If not, you have a coach who stands in the “green room” each year. Need one who stands on the podium at center court with a huge trophy in hand. Time to get on another horse. This one won’t win the big race again.

  13. Lip Man 1
    7:20 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    The only players who should leave are Alexander & Knox. What NBA team would take a chance on Diallo (who is inconsistent), Richards (who can’t play) or Vanderbilt (who can’t stay healthy and appears to be soft).

    Next year should be much better,

    • kjd
      9:38 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Next year should be better you say.
      JV can’t stay healthy. Big ?
      Richards can’t play, bad hands, b ball IQ very low. Big ?
      Gabriel and SKJ will be juniors, but will that translate into major improvement? Neither can play D. Big ?
      Baker recovering from major injury. Will he be the same player post injury? No college experience. What will we get? Big ?
      Will Diallo return? If yes, will he become a consistent contributor? Big ?
      How will new guys develop and fit in? Big ?
      I’m not making any predictions. Hopefully the process will be fun to watch. I know what just ended was frustrating.

    • makeitstop
      10:27 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Kjd right on – no guarantees even w returnees, and no marquee players coming in. The top 10 recruits every year usually have NBA talent but when u get under that it gets spotty. Good years, that first round talent goes down to 13-14 but other years it doesn’t and that’s the pond we have been fishing the last two years. That Fox, Monk, Bam class was great but we didn’t quite make it w them we sure weren’t going to do it w 10-25 signees. Not when Duke is hoovering up half the top 10. We better keep more guys w late first round and second round talent til they develop more fully and our come here get rich quick pitch isn’t a fit for that… cal may have to change that unless someone catches Capel w a FedEx envelope headed to a recruit…. hey Penny is in Memphis maybe he could help w that wasn’t UCLA fans who “caught” Dwayne Casey?

    • CatBlue in LR
      11:40 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      It was an Emory Express package back then.

    • makeitstop
      12:15 pm March 24, 2018 Permalink

      CatsBlue since they’re gone now, it’s UPS or Fedex, and I sure wouldn’t send anything through Louisville if I were Duke… 2 sets of motivated fans for it to “pop open” in front of. (Still a crazy tale all these years later, it just popped open, weird, right?) But Duke guys are smart, who would use a courier service when there is bitcoin… or cattle futures.

  14. Bobbum Man
    8:03 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Still not sure why they let the idiot trolls post here..: but regardless, we just weren’t great this year… not much else to it, our best players aside from Shai lacked heart and will. All classes are different and we just didn’t have the right guys this year, can’t have a center who can’t hold onto a basketball, a star player who disappears for long stretches of time, we relied almost solely on shai creating magic and Kstate shut it down, don’t think I’d seen him rattled like that all year he got passive and it hurt us bad.

  15. slangterm
    8:44 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Please take that negative ish on somewhere. We went 38-1 3 years ago. We lost to the national champion on a last second shot last year. We won a title, lost a title. You cry baby itches are ridiculous. Shit happens.

    • syrin23
      10:12 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Cal appreciates your low expectations. Now go pick out your jersey to wear for the NBA draft. That’s what matters.

    • bigbluehank
      2:44 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Well said syrin23. I have no problem with fans being interested/invested in UK alumni in the NBA. But when the coach puts more emphasis on players making it to the pros than on the season’s outcome, it is concerning.

  16. bluecrowe
    8:52 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    The most awkward part this time of year is how many kids will leave who will not be ready for the NBA and end up in the G league or Greece. This added to the fact we do not benefit at all from the pain of a season like this because so many kids leave rather than return a more mature player the next year. It is exhausting for us so I cannot imagine how Cal feels.

    Unfortunately I do not feel good about the way this ended at all. We were given what you secretly wish for every year, but feel silly for even contemplating as every seed ahead of us got beaten. We were still the best team in Atlanta this year (unbelievably) and should have won that game last night by at least 15. You will not be given such a gift ever again. Not pushing the ball before they set up their defense would have given us easy baskets and helped get flow in our game. I am still confused by why we walked the ball up on every possession. We are not a methodical offensive team.

    It was embarrassing loss and saying they are all freshmen does not help because that excuse only works if most of them return to school and not run off. If you are going to leave to go pro I feel the team needs to do better or else the system is psychotic. I will say everything this team needed unexpectedly left (Australia) or got hurt (baker) We needed a strong center and a shooter. Cal did know what he needed, but it did not work out. I love Cal, but as many of you have expressed, Draft Night means absolutely nothing to me and if you go to Greece or the G League I am not sure that counts as a dream. Those options will literally always be a possibility.

    • syrin23
      10:12 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      You would think they would learn from the Ortons, Briscoes, Teagues of the past teams.

  17. archie926
    12:00 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    All of you judging the kids need to shut you f-ng mouths. This team did more than any of us could’ve dreamed of a month ago.

    Nick had a hard year, but he never gave up. He’s a young basketball player. This season was probably 100x more frustrating for him than any of us watching.

    I really want to think that PJ is the type of kid that is going to live in the gym this summer. I think he is. And, I love a PJ with something to prove

    Quade. He’s from Phillly. No one likes us, we don’t care.

    Wenyan/SKG. Each had a moment. Please stay. We need you.

    Shai. You’re in my Mashburn/MKG level. Good luck next year. Please come back.

    Kevin/Hami. Please see what Shai has done this year. If you want to be pros, embrace the grind

    Brad. Shooters gotta shoot

    • bigbluehank
      2:34 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Looking forward to what Richards can do next year. Guy had a rough go of it, but hopefully can make that jump during the off-season.

  18. CatBlue in LR
    12:36 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    Good summation, Tyler. Well done.

  19. blueballs80
    12:40 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    My advice to Cal – your intentions are good, kissing Nick Richards on the forehead ?vWhy? He needs to still grow his game and was non-existent for most of the games played.

  20. bigbluehank
    2:39 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    As for the “not all the pieces were there” sentiment, who will accept the blame for this? In most instances, it falls on the coach. The way some of the writers/media portray it, however, leads fans to believe Cal was a victim of circumstance rather than a reason for the struggles.

  21. 4everUKblue
    8:27 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    All you lazy boy coaches who have ANY experience in coaching an elite college basketball team please submit your resumes. That means you Syrin23, Slater, Callit and bigbluehank and any other delusional commenters who have a clue what their talking about.

  22. 4everUKblue
    8:49 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    How do you negative idiots think this makes BBN look to a top teenage prospect if he looks at this site and reads all the negative idiotic comments? Why would ANY recruit want to play here after reading all this negative talk on this site? KSR needs to either censor the negative comments or totally disable them. I would bet you didn’t see this happening on a dUKe site after they lost last season in game two of the NCAA with all the talent they had, which by the way, was by far the most talent top to bottom in the country.

    • bigbluehank
      1:30 pm March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Wow, thanks for the name-calling…t’s a great look! And seriously, censoring the message boards for negative comments? What is this, “1984”? Should this board consist of nothing but admiration for Cal despite his recurring flaws?

  23. Game Changer
    10:18 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

    I have a very unique take on why we lost the game. Coach Cal’s recruiting came back to bite him. Let me explain. First of all he is a great Xs and Os coach and a great recruiter… you just don’t make it to the hall of fame on your good looks. But this is the problem. We lost because he started Nick Richards, it set the tone very early on, it gave Kansas State confidence that they could hang in there with us. Yes, we came back from being down 13-1 but Kansas state was no longer afraid of us. You see Calipari starts Richards and Dialo not because he has some fatherly love for them, NOPE. He starts those players because he knows if he leaves them on the bench then he can’t go next year on the recruiting trail and tell other kids that they will start at kentucky, however, he can tell them that you will start at kentucky but how long you stay in the game depends on how well you play. So what does he do, he starts a guy like Nick Richards who should not even start for a community college team let alone a top 20 division one team…. that set the tone and we never recovered. By the way look up playing Harrison twins in the Wisconsin game over other much better players…. same thing

    • makeitstop
      10:35 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      Lot of truth to that. Every time he takes the mic he’s talking to recruits as the primary audience. When that pitch lands 3 lottery picks and 5 first rounders that’s okay but the last two classes we’ve missed. That’s what worries me about next year.

    • Not Dan Issel
      10:59 am March 24, 2018 Permalink

      As of right now, our incoming class for next season on paper is the worst that we have had under Cal. Obviously that can change with another signing or two, but right now we are not even close to Duke with respect to next year’s respective incoming classes.