Posted April 23, 2014, 4:27 pm
Dakari just released a statement announcing his return to UK for next season. The Cats will be LOADED in the frontcourt like no team has ever been. Here's what Dakari had to say,
"This year has been for me a year of transition, growth and so much fun! I’ve learned a lot about myself personally through adversity and triumph which I know made me a stronger individual. I would like to thank my brothers (teammates) for pulling together and stepping up and taking the road that many don’t travel. What memories! I would like to thank Coach Cal and the staff for trusting and providing me the opportunity to grow and build on my skills. I’d like to wish Julius Randle and James Young all the best and personally let them know that they have a group of brothers who will always support them.
With that being said, I’m excited about having the option to either enter the 2014 NBA Draft or return to the University of Kentucky. After looking at the information provided to me by Coach Cal and the NBA committee, my family and I made the decision for me to return to UK for my sophomore year. Returning to school allows me to build on my leadership skills, improve my individual basketball strength and conditioning skills, and have another opportunity to accomplish one of my individual goals: winning an NCAA national championship in college. In addition, it will give me the opportunity to continue my studies because the ball will stop bouncing one day (shout out to Mike Stone). Big Blue Nation, I can’t thank you enough for your support, and I look forward to representing UK next year.”
Now we await the Twins' decision...
Posted April 23, 2014, 3:10 pm
As we all expected, Julius Randle declared for the NBA Draft yesterday, but today brought the BBN great news when Alex Poythress announced his return via press release:
" Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine, but I want to make sure that I’m NBA-ready before I make that jump,” Poythress said. “By coming back, I’ll be so much closer to earning my degree in business and it will give me another year to prepare my game and my body for the next level."
That's three down and three to go!
Posted April 14, 2014, 6:35 pm
Willie Cauley-Stein Tweeted that he is returning to UK for his Junior season (take that Harrell and Loserville). Marcus Lee has also indicated that he is returning (no big shocker there but some people thought he may transfer). So that's two down with six left to decide. Right now the popular belief is that Randle and Young are gone, Poythress will probably return to UK and the Twins and Dakari are all 50/50 and could go either way. Personally, I think this news increases the chances that Dakari declares for the NBA because we are going to be super stacked down low with a forest of bigs. If the Twins do decide to come back it will be time to start printing the 40-0 shirts again (No, we didn't learn our lesson and never will.)
Posted April 11, 2014, 10:06 pm
photo credit to ESPN.com
Now that the season is officially over and I've had a few days to get over the agony of losing in the championship game, I'd like to reflect on the season as a whole. Here are eight thoughts about the end of the season.
- We should never question Coach Cal again. Ever. I've never seen so many fair weather fans in my life who completely gave up on this team and then jumped back on the bandwagon in the post season. I'm guilty myself of giving up hopes of a title after the South Carolina game. (However, I did have them winning it all in my bracket). The truth is the Big Blue Nation as a whole let this team and Coach Cal down. Not only did the BBN lose faith in this team, but the players and coach were blasted in comments sections by hundreds of idiot fans and they were dragged through the mud by the national media all season long. Supposed Big Blue fans were blasting Cal for his "one and done" methods and saying that he was ruining our tradition and that the players didn't care about Kentucky, only themselves. Ultimately they were proven wrong, but it was a blemish on the loyalty of the BBN. Overall, I'm ashamed of the fanbase and a little bit ashamed of myself for throwing in the towel on this team too early. The players deserved to win the National Championship, but the fanbase did not.
- Rex Chapman is a complete moron. I don't care what lame excuses Rex Chapman has come up with. His decision to Tweet out rumors about Cal going to the Lakers an hour before tip-off was one of the most unloyal, self serving, idiotic things I've ever seen a player do. Whether he believed it to be true or not doesn't matter; it was his decision to Tweet it out before the game that was despicable. It ruined the game for thousands of Kentucky fans. Luckily, the players and coaches didn't know about it until after the game but what if they had heard about it? That would have been a huge distraction. It also could affect recruiting with some recruits losing confidence that Cal will stick around Kentucky. Rex is to big of an egomaniac to apologize, which makes him even worse in my book. I will never like him again after this incident. People should have been talking about the players after the game, not Rex Chapman. He even bragged that he got 3000 new Twitter followers because of it. Hopefully he lost many more than that due to his arrogance, his being wrong, and his lack of being apologetic.
- Aaron Harrison is the biggest hero in the history of UK basketball. That's a big statement, but I stand by it. Nobody has ever hit THREE game winning three pointers in consecutive games in the tournament before. I think it was the most clutch series in the history of all sports, not just college basketball. Whether he leaves or stays another year, he has etched his name in Big Blue History forever.
- Coach Cal absolutely OWNS Rick Pitino. Lousyville was the hottest team in the country before the Cats mowed them down in the Sweet 16. That win gives Cal a 6-1 record against Pitiner since taking over at UK. He's knocked them out of the tournament twice and beaten Loserville with all kinds of different line ups. The ONLY time Lousy beat Kentucky was with Louisville's BEST team of the past decade, their National Championship team, and that was against Kentucky's worst NIT Team. And it was at the YUM Center. And they only won by 3 points!! That has to be humiliating to Pitino and the Little Brother Nation. To all the scorned Lousyville fans out there on social media congratulating UConn, you need to step back and realize that now UConn has more championships than Loserville, and they still only have HALF as many as Kentucky. So you can run and tell THAT, Homebirds.
- This was the funnest tournament run I can remember in my entire life. To be an 8 seed in arguably the toughest bracket in the history of brackets, and to knock off a 35-0 undefeated team, then upset your arch rival, then knock off Michigan and Wisconsin on game winning three pointers... by a team starting five freshmen with ten losses... and without Cauley-Stein??? truly unbelievable. I watched my 7 year old daughter get engulfed in the games and emerge a die-hard UK fan. I watched my wife finally "get it" about why me and my friends are so crazy about UK basketball. I got to share the joy of beating Louisville with my 86 year old grandmother who is also a die-hard fan. I got my 2 year old to chant GO BIG BLUE! GO BIG BLUE! GO BIG BLUE! It was the ride of a lifetime for this team and I am thankful for the memories. Halfway through the season I honestly didn't even like this team at all, and now they are one of my favorite teams of all time. Five years from now we will all look back and wonder how in the world this team lost 11 games, but we will never forget how awesome it was when the Deuce got loose... 3 times!
- Even though there were a lot of losses this season, this was a very special team. There were ZERO off the court problems. There were ZERO academic problems. Coach Cal even said this was the best team to coach he's ever had. They wanted to listen; they wanted to learn. It took a while but they proved their unselfishness by losing themselves in the team. Randle didn't care how many shots he got, Poythress and WCS didn't care if they started. They just did their jobs and it paid off in the end. These kids were humble and they represented UK will integrity even though they were often criticized throughout the year. They were humanitarians off the court and heroes on the court.
- Why was it not a bigger deal that we played the last four games without Willie Cauley-Stein? It was hardly even mentioned by analysts and announcers. It's true that we actually played great without him and we had guys like Marcus Lee step up and contribute, but don't you think it's a HUGE DEAL to lose your 7 foot lottery pick Center? Don't you think he'd be worth more than an extra 6 points against UConn? He blocked 110 shots during the season. He would have blocked several against UConn and altered several shots as well.
- Now for the big question, who will come back and who will leave for the NBA? Did the tournament run actually cost us some players? It think it could go either way. Yes, the Harrison Twins' stock rose during the tournament. They were probably returning to UK for sure before the tournament and now they are probably 50/50. However, they also got to experience what it feels like when you become a hero to the BBN. These players probably didn't enjoy their time at UK the first two thirds of the season but they got to feel the love at the end. Maybe getting that close to a championship will leave just enough taste in their mouths to want to return and cut down the nets in 2015. If I had to guess I'd say Randle and Young are 100% gone, WCS is probably 70% gone. The Twins are probably 50/50 and Dakari and Poythress are probably 40/60. It wouldn't surprise me if we lost five of them and I wouldn't even be shocked if all seven declare for the Draft. (Nothing would shock me after Daniel Orton.) The Twins are the key to next year. If they come back we could lose the other five and still be title contenders. If the Twins and a combination of Johnson and/or Poythress come back we will be one of the pre-season favorites. We have loads of talent coming in with Towns, Ulis, Booker and Lyles, and let's not forget our emerging talent in guys like Marcus Lee. The Big Blue Train will keep on rollin' and as long as Cal sticks around it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. GBB!!
Posted April 4, 2014, 5:17 pm
The Gator fans are already out en masse trolling UK fans to death with their "we're gonna beat ya'll 4 times in one season and win our 3rd!" Their claim is that the SEC / college basketball world is owned by Florida with Billy D and his (would be) three championships. I'll be the first in line to congratulate Billy D and how he has made Florida into the ultimate two sport school. The problem is, I can count Florida Basketball fans on two hands. But would their argument hold any water. It depends on their definition of "recent history." Going back to 2006 (convenient for them) then sure, they have us beat. But let's try a round number of say 20 years if you are an old enough fan like most of us are. That takes us back to 1994, and Donovan arrived in 1995. Let's compare resumes shall we?
1995 - Lost to Iowa St. 1st Rnd.
1996 - Missed Tourney
1997 - Missed Tourney
1998 - Missed Tourney
1999 - Lost to Gonzaga in Regional Semifinal
2000 - Lost to Michigan St. in National Championship
2001 - Lost to Temple in 2nd Rnd.
2002 - Lost to Creighton in 1st. Rnd.
2003 - Lost to Michigan St. in 2nd. Rnd.
2004 - Lost to Manhatten in 1st. Rnd.
2005 - Lost to Villanova in 2nd Rnd.
2006 - National Champions
2007 - National Champions
2008 - Missed Tourney
2009 - Missed Tourney
2010 - Lost to BYU in 1st. Rnd.
2011 - Lost to Butler in Elite 8
2012 - Lost to Louisville in Elite 8
2013 - Lost to Michigan in Elite 8
Boy oh Boy there are a LOT of missed tourneys and 1st / 2nd round losses in there Florida. Makes me forget how overrated you were / are at times.
1995 - Lost to UNC in Regional Final.
1996 - National Champions.
1997 - Lost to Arizona in National Championship.
1998 - National Champions.
1999 - Lost to Michigan St. in Regional Final.
2000 - Lost to USC in Sweet 16.
2001 - Lost to Syracuse in 2nd Rnd.
2002 - Lost to Maryland in Sweet 16.
2003 - Lost to Marquette in Regional Final.
2004 - Lost to UAB in 2nd. Rnd.
2005 - Lost to Michigan St. in Regional Final.
2006 - Lost to UConn in 2nd Rnd.
2007 - Lost to Kansas in 2nd Rnd.
2008 - Lost to Marquette in 1st. Rnd.
2009 - Missed Tourney
2010 - Lost to West Virginia in Elite 8.
2011 - Lost to UConn in Final Four.
2012 - National Champions.
2013 - Missed Tourney.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who has the best most consistent performance as a basketball "power." True Florida fans, the 9 of you that exist, you do win more championships when you have a good team, but way too often your coming up short, sometimes remarkably short. Stick to football. You'll have 4 Tim Tebow statues and ZERO Joakim Noah statues, even though they won the same amount of titles.
Posted April 3, 2014, 12:47 pm
(Aaron Harrison Photo courtesy of GMA News)
There have been plenty of big shots and game winning shots made by Kentucky players, but have there ever been two shots any bigger than the two Aaron Harrison knocked down to take the lead against Lousyville and to win the Michgan game?
Cameron Mills hit the most iconic shot in UK history when his three pointer from the top of the key gave Kentucky the lead against Duke in 1998. He also hit a go-ahead three to erase a double digit lead against Utah in the second half of the National Championship game.
You also have Patrick Sparks. His three free throws to beat Louisville were just as huge as any jumpshot, and he hit the unforgettable three pointer at the buzzer to send the game to OT against Michigan State in the Elite 8.
Each of those players etched their names in Big Blue history with their epic shots, but out of this list I would have to say Aaron Harrison's two three pointers were the biggest and the best. After the South Carolina loss, the low point in UK's season, Aaron said this team's story still had another chapter to be written. He was right, and what a chapter it was! Let's hope there are still more heroics to come.
Posted April 2, 2014, 7:23 pm
As I analyze and dissect this UK season more and more, I come to one unapologetic realization. This Kentucky team is Walter White. The titular Breaking Bad character was considered a successful chemistry teacher until cancer befell him. Hmmmm. This Kentucky team was considered by some to be the best ever, a shot at 40-0. Yet just as Mister White succumed to the lung cancer (and he never smoked) this UK team fell to the lowest of lows (despite liking each other). Keep in mind, some may call this team a cancer, a team turmoil. That is the furthest from the truth. These kids are good kids and they like each other. This isn't a case of a team cancer where they can't stand each other.
But think about it: Hank is Louisville / Wichita / Michigan in this scenario. UK is Walt. Poor Jesse is the rest of Americal praying that UK will just die already. And Cal / UK is Walt. The sucker just won't go away and when he's seemingly buried he rises like the Phoenix. He doesn't really want Hank to get shot in the head, but he konws it must happen. Yeah, that's where this analogy falls apart. Because we all know Coach Cal loves it when Ricky P is sent swimming with the fishes.
But the best part of this analogy is poor Jesse. He represents America. He hates Mr. White and just wants him gone and put to his misery. But he refuses to die and is around to torment and create chaos in his life. America loves to hate UK and they can't stand that we are still kicking. Opposing fans toss grenades in the form of insults, and other teams fear us because of what we are capable of. Like Walt, we can blow up an old folks home if it is to the benefit of the greater good (banner 9). And that makes people uncomfortable.
So this UK team is Mister Walter Hartwell White. We refuse to go away, and everybody in America fears us. There is a reason for that. It's because we are so very deadly. Good luck Wisconsin. Bring extra cheese.
Posted April 2, 2014, 6:09 pm
Yes, these twins are what we thought they were. Stone. Cold. Killers. Wisconsin, get ready. The killers are coming for you. And is it any coincidence that The Killers are singing the March Madness theme song this year. I think not.