Monday, April 16, 2012

Two New Content Pieces

Here are two recent content pieces posted on skyd. I have been meaning to post them here, but I wanted to give my Cats first billing for a while.

Interview with Jeremy Norden

Thoughts on the first weekend of the AUDL

Match Diesel

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Won and Done

Thats right ladies and gents, the Kentucky Wildcats are your 2012 NCAA Tournament CHAMPS! The drought has been painful for the BBN (big blue nation), but it is finely over and we can now celebrate one of the most dominate single season performances in Mens Basketball history.

However, I get the sense that people outside the BBN don't share my enthusiasm and are more of the hater variety. For that we can thank ESPN and their bias for Duke and North Carolina.

In any event, as a rabid UK fan, here are 6 story lines you won't hear on the sports news outlets, but maybe after reading a few you'll realize that UK's run in 2012 was actually a pretty compelling story and the phrase "one and done" is not the only one that can describe this past season.

Two and Done?
That's right. Last year's improbable UK final four team (2-6 on the road in SEC play) actually only had 1 freshman leave (Brandon Knight to the Pistons). In the year following our crushing loss to UConn, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones took it upon themselves to stay back and win a National Championship. How admirable is that? I only wish Kyrie Irving and Duke had the same principles. But that's cool, I am sure he was more the exception not the rule. Wait, Austin Rivers is leaving after 1 year too? Hmm...that complicates Cal bashing.

Say what you want about Calipari, the guy is a junk yard dog when it comes to college hoops. Not the prettiest beast out there, but he gets the job done and is only loved by his master. Memphis and UMass may have lost their final four banners (as if that is even a real punishment), but what no one can take away the infrastructure that Cal's presence built. You think athletic complexes finance themselves? And when the NCAA decides who to pick on, do they take back your gym and training rooms? Their corrupt reach isn't that far and for what its worth, Memphis and UMass were made relevant, if only for a short amount of time.

Talent =/= Success
Yes, Kentucky was the most talented team this year, but no, that is not why we were successful. Saying a team is the most talented is a nice way of saying, "They should win without trying." It totally undermines the committment all of our players and the sacrifices they have made to become a singular unit that is now a champion. What is worse is that UK has not been here in a long time, 14 years. In the same time span UNC and Duke have won 2 titles and UConn has won 3. Where was the "they're just more talented than everyone else" then? They won because they wanted it more than everyone else and Kentucky has done nothing less. Give us our due.

The 5-fector
Anthony Davis put together a season that will never be topped, never. In a single season the guy will likely complete the 5-fector and earn the 1) Player of Year, 2) Defensive Player of the Year, 3) Freshman of the Year, 4) NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and 5) Be picked #1 (more than likely). That has never happened before (or at least I couldn't find an example) and cannot be bested. It can only be matched. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

#1 and done
My favorite Wildcat has got to be Darius Miller. The guy is the glue that keeps the cats together and when all of these youngsters go pro, he has stayed back and stuck it out. As the only Kentucky native that saw minutes this year, Darius won Mr. Basketball and a state championship his senior year at Rupp Arena. He then went on to play for his dream school, UK. However, life has a way of throwing us curve balls and by the end of his freshman year, all he had to brag about was a quarters loss to ND in the NIT and a vacancy at head coach. So, Calipari comes in and Darius does what he can to become part of a new era. Elite 8 in 2010, final four in 2011 and now he is a national champ. What is even more impressive is that he didn't seem to care when he didn't start. He just hung back and did what he could to help us win and boy did he come in handy. BBN loves you Darius, UK would be wise to hang your jersey in rafters Rupp.

Our own violin story
Throughout the NCAA tournament, no game involving Kansas could occur without the story of Thomas Robinson being told. For those unfamiliar, Robinson lost his grandparents and his mother all in one month. To complicate matters, Robinson has a little sister who he had to adopt so that she could live with him in Lawerence. You wouldn't be human if this story didn't tug on your heart strings.

But Robinson is not the only player out there with tragedy. Michael Kidd Gilchrist's father was killed by multiple gun shot wounds when he was 13 and to pay omage to him, he verbally committed to UK on what would have been his father's 44th birthday (April 14th, 2010). However, MKG's tragedy would not end with his father. His uncle (Darrin Kidd), the man that took care of him after his father passed, died the day MKG was set to sign his letter of intent (July 7th, 2011). To pay his respects, he changed his name from Michael Gilchrist, to Michael Kidd Gilchrist, but few seem to know that.

I don't claim that MKG's story is better or worse than Robinson's. However, it is similar and as such, it should be just as commonly heard as Robinson. But UK's the villian and this only complicates the story telling.

Regardless, we are champs and no one (not even the NCAA) can take away our pride. BBN is back in full force and our junk yard dog is scarier than yours.