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Ten Leftovers from the Bahamas Trip

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The Big Blue Bahamas trip is finally over, and before we completely shift to football, I thought I’d share some of my final thoughts now that I’m back in the land of reliable wi-fi and reasonably priced food. Here are my ten takeaways from three nights in paradise and six unbelievable exhibition games.

Being stranded at a gym in the Bahamas will bring out the best in people

We’ve told you all about the setup at the gym, which was about a thirty minute ride from the Atlantis. You had your microwave popcorn, enormous boiled hot dogs, and regularly changing prices at the concession stand, which was still so much cheaper than the Atlantis that people would bring coolers to load up on $1 Cokes and water to take back. The gym itself was a hoot, with no boundaries between the players and fans so that if you wanted to play photographer for the day, go right ahead. Plop right down on the baseline. The postgame interviews (with five reporters) took place in the VIP Lounge, which also served as the referees’ changing room.

After the Friday interviews, my husband and I went outside to catch the fan shuttle back to the Atlantis to find that all of them had already left. We tried to get on the UK team and staff shuttles to no avail, and the bus driver taking the Dominican team back offered to let us ride along, but there weren’t any open seats left. Around this time, Jerry Tipton and Kyle Tucker joined us as we contemplated getting a taxi or simply walking back with Dakari Johnson’s mom, and things got a little desperate. Jerry Tipton had the line of the day about UK not letting us ride the staff shuttle when he puffed his chest out and said “They should know better than to piss me off.” Finally, we spotted one lone bus leaving the parking lot. The four of us–KSR, Courier Journal, and Herald Leader joined together–chased it down, and the driver agreed to take us back. Hurrah! We jumped on, and headed to the back, where none other than Jay Bilas was stretched across the back row. It was a hot but memorable bus ride, and I feel like we all bonded a bit, to the point that towards the end of the trip, my husband and Jerry were even buying each other $1 Cokes at the concession stand.

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Hum-Diddy-Diddy, yes we’re really giddy

You’ve heard it ad nauseam by now: we are really, really good. Yes, exhibition games, and yes, August, but we are damn good. So good that Jay Bilas told the team they have “an extraordinary opportunity” to make history. So good that John Calipari was reduced to “hum diddy diddy!” after a Derek Willis dunk. Everyone in the BBN is giddy, and while it is important to keep the lessons from last season in our minds, it’s really hard not to get excited for November. This group has talent AND experience, especially at point guard, where they’ll need it the most. Hum diddy diddy.

I am #TeamPlatoon

What makes this team so special? The quality of the depth. The fact that John Calipari can rotate two platoons throughout the game is what makes this team better than any other in the country, and that’s even without Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles. The platoon system was the talk of the trip, and solves that “too much talent” riddle the national media’s been dangling over the program. The platoon system gives the Cats two completely different looks; Team 1 (the Harrisons, Booker, Poythress, and Dakari) is much more physical, and can pound the ball inside with ease, while Team 1A (Ulis, Hawkins, Willis, Lee, Towns) brings the energy, moving the ball the length of the court in a blink of an eye and pestering defenses into quick turnovers. Not only does the platoon system allow Kentucky to attack opponents in two different ways, it keeps the legs fresh, completely wearing other teams out. Calipari said he’s considering using the platoon system at times during the regular season, and I’m all for it. Like Willie Cauley-Stein said, it’s “genius.”

The token "shoefie" with Karl Towns

The token “shoefie” with Karl Towns

Karl Towns is the BBN’s new BFF

I know we’ve been saying it for the past week, but Karl Towns is pretty much the nicest person ever. Whereas some of the players seemed a little shy with fans, the Big KAT embraced all of them, taking pictures and “shoefies” with anyone who asked. He’s by far the most outgoing player of the bunch, and after a simple conversation with him, you feel like he’s your new best friend. After we learned that he changed his name from Karl Towns to Karl-Anthony Towns just so he could have the initials KAT, I can see why it was so hard for Drew Franklin to stop hugging him.

On the court, he’s just as good, and despite the loaded roster, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the starting five by the end of the season. The thing I took away from watching Karl is how competitive he is. You heard him talk about how his missed free throws were “unacceptable,” and when you watch him play, he celebrates each basket he makes and chastises himself for each miss. He’s right up there with Tyler Ulis as one of my early favorites.

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Two favorites from my trip: The Poop Deck and Bush Crack

If you’re ever in the Bahamas, you must do two things: eat at The Poop Deck and try Bush Crack beer. Both have ridiculous names, but are delicious. The Poop Deck, across the bridge from the Atlantis, had the best seafood I ate on the trip, and Bush Crack is by far the best Bahamian beer over Sands and Kalik.

The team that hangs together wins together

Even though I’m technically considered “media” now, I’ll always be a fan first. And as a fan would, I geeked a bit over just how accessible the players and coaches were throughout the trip. From seeing the coaches in the casino, the players around the hotel, and being able to sit as close to the action as you wanted at the games, it was truly an all-access trip. It was also great to see how close this team is on the court and off the court. It’s early, but they really do seem like brothers, hanging out in packs each night and cheering each other on during the games. I haven’t seen this many smiles around the Kentucky team since 2012, maybe 2010, and after a rough regular season last year, it’s good to see that the fun times are carrying over from the postseason. Fittingly, during the warm-ups on Saturday, Pharrell’s “Happy” came over the loudspeakers, which immediately reminded me of Dallas, and when I looked over at the team, they were all smiling and mouthing the words right along with me.

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The hype behind Alex Poythress is totally real. He’s a different player.

I’ll admit it: I was a little bit skeptical when I read all the practice reports claiming that Alex Poythress was a changed player. Been there, heard that. But Poythress proved himself in the Bahamas, leading all scorers with 71 points for the tour and showing off an unwavering confidence we’ve only seen in glimpses during his career at Kentucky. Alex has the tools to be a special player, and with a chip on his shoulder, he’s finally using them. Let’s hope beast mode stays engaged.

The Preclearance Customs at the Nassau Airport is awesome

The Bahamas is one of a few airports in the world that has US Border Preclearance facilities, so that you go through your customs before you get on the plane back to the US. We had a really tight connection in Charlotte, so this was much appreciated. Wikipedia tells me that airports in Bermuda, Aruba, Ireland, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates also do this, and more places should join in. Looking at you, Cancun.

A special start to a special year

This season is one we need to cherish. I don’t think the Cats will ever have this many talented, experienced players again, and two months before the season even starts, they look damn good. Sure, they may have lost the last game, but six games in eight days would wear out any team, and as several people have said, a loss could be the best way to keep the team humble and hungry. Besides, it’s August. Hush up, trolls.

Basketball in August is nice, but it’s time for football

The Bahamas were awesome, and it was a trip I’ll never forget, but it’s time to get ready for some football. I can’t wait.

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.

23 Comments for Ten Leftovers from the Bahamas Trip



  1. Creepy
    8:17 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Mrs. Tyler has some nice feet…:)



    • Dem toes
      8:52 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      That tomato sauce polish has to go. We need UK blue on them at all times, please.



  2. Megan
    8:35 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Nice wrap-up article on the Big Blue Bahamas. I’m so excited about basketball but trying to set that aside for a couple months and focus on football! (which I’m anxious for to get started). It’s a good time to be a Wildcat fan!!!



  3. Bunny
    8:35 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks, Mrs. TT. Great post…



    • Luther
      8:36 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      Ditto! Go Cats!!



  4. Chaz
    8:47 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Welcome home MTT and welcome home to all the KSR staff and to all the UK people. It’s nice do know you’re back in Kentucky, Tennessee and God knows where else safely

    Nice article, especially enjoyed “Jerry Tipton had the line of the day about UK not letting us ride the staff shuttle when he puffed his chest out and said “They should know better than to piss me off.”
    Silence speaks volumes sometimes, especially when you quote JT.

    Ya’ll get a good nights sleep and get ready for some football.



  5. Policy
    8:58 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    I kind of dig it when Tyler talks about Bush. Even if I know it’s just a beer.



  6. bigbluetruth
    9:15 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    The best advice I can give anyone is don’t always listen to Matt Jones. Lets face it, he’s young, went to Duke and he’s a die hard liberal which put them all together he’s full of himself and wrong quite often. One thing he always tells his listeners is not to listen to the LOSERVILLE talk shows. How stupid can he be, they come on later in the day than his show and after working a real job (something Mr Jones knows nothing about) it’s nice to have some laughter in your day. If you’d listen to the LOSERVILLE talk shows you’d learn that all the teams we played on the islands were not as good as BBN would want to believe. None of them use their main players and when they did everyone watching (except us dumbass hillbillys knew they weren’t giving it their all). And when it was announced that all 3 officials were from the SEC and Kentucky they decided the outcome of the games, (they couldn’t help the last one with the team being a little worn out how bad we were just couldn’t be helped). I wonder why when 2 officials from the Big East call the final 4 game and only called 1 foul on LOSERVILLE in the last 8:43 against WSU that was legit. The twins are no better than last year and Alex still sucks. Johnson should’ve fouled out in every game but thank God for our home cooking. Ulis will fall apart when he plays against a real back court and Towns is too soft. Lee can’t shoot and if we’re banking on WCS and Lyles to make us even better we will be lucky to get invited to the NIT. So, don’t tell me not to listen, some of the best laughs this CATS fan has had in a long time.



    • Joe
      9:27 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      You poor, diluted soul



    • BillyJoeJimBobJr
      9:31 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      Mr. Bluetruth, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this comment section is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your line beard.



    • pseudonym
      9:55 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      It looks like Bigbluegoof quit taking his meds again!



    • njCat
      11:14 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      12/28/13 UK 73 – UL 66
      03/28/14 uk 74 – UL 69

      # of UL players currently in NBA developed by Pitino – 4 (zero starters)
      # of UK players currently in NBA developed by Calipari – 16 (8 starters)

      Cal record at UK vs Pitino 6 wins, 1 loss

      2014 / 2015 – UK much improved / UL lost everyone that mattered

      Should be another fun year!



    • You mad, bro?
      10:36 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

      Or just getting SCARED!!



  7. inside info
    9:36 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Mrs. TT,

    very nice wrap up post. thanks. but was Jerry being serious when he said that? or was it said tongue-in-cheek?



    • Charley Reasor
      9:45 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      I am sure Turd Tipton meant it. He takes himself very seriously.



    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      9:57 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

      Pretty sure it was tongue in cheek. We all laughed.



  8. Micki DeMoss's Mustache
    9:38 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Bush Crack is my favorite beer as well



  9. bhtxcatfan
    10:19 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Tyler and thanks to all the KSR staff for all you do for the Big Blue Nation world wide and the trolls who have no site worth a damn that covers their sports teams.



  10. Shocka Khan
    11:14 pm August 18, 2014 Permalink

    UK sports and pretty feet….. life is good! 🙂



  11. mike
    12:11 am August 19, 2014 Permalink

    I’d say after a few games, your be looking forward to basketball again lol.



  12. Jim
    7:52 am August 19, 2014 Permalink

    Re the Tipton comment: Jerry Tipton had the line of the day about UK not letting us ride the staff shuttle when he puffed his chest out and said “They should know better than to piss me off.” Finally, we spotted one lone bus leaving the parking lot.

    Even if he was joking, it describes his mentality to a tee. It is one of the weird things in life that just can’t be explained. Why does a newspaper, in a college town, have a beat reporter who writes with a negative slant about the hometown university athletic team? Even though they are the only local newspaper in town and advertisers have to use them for ads, I have had many UK fans and alum that have told me that they cancelled their subscription because of that beat writer. Now that the internet has become the standard way of receiving the news, the newspaper industry has become even less relevant. Yes, it still amazes me that the the local newspaper seems take pride in having a beat writer who enjoys taking his shots at the local team, and diminishing subscribers and readership be damned!



  13. fairplay
    8:15 am August 19, 2014 Permalink

    Nike is gonna love that shoe picture of Towns.



  14. Chevy Chase Kent
    6:46 pm August 21, 2014 Permalink

    Mrs. Tyler Thompson…..your critique of the Poop Deck was spot on! Great spot to eat and outstanding choices of seafood dishes.

    However, for you to say Bush Crack beer is better than both local beers Sands and Kalik makes me think you might have been drinking a Kalik or a Sands in a Bush Crack can. As far as taste goes, it ‘aint close.