Assuming hype was what you were looking for in the first place. And I am betting it was.
I know Glenn is travelling so I will try and put up a nice little recap on last night's action.
Last night's Pros Vs. DR game was full of pomp and circumstance, drama and comedy, highlights and embarrassments, and that was just DeMarcus Cousins. Big Cuz was in rare form last night, and unbelievably to most, in much better shape than just about everyone else on the court, but in the end, he was not enough to take out his former coach all by himself.
But Cousins was really not alone, Tayshaun Prince and Jodie Meeks started the show by burning up the nets at Rupp Arena much like they did in days of old, and putting John Calipari's new charges back on their heels for a few minutes. Then Calipari did what he always does, he turned on the lights. The DR squad looked exactly as they should look after two weeks of Two-A-Day's, installation of a pseudo DDMO (like Cal always does until his kids get in the flow of it). They were sharp, polished, and played extremely well as a unit. They defended FIBA-Style, which to me is a much more Wild Wild West type of a game, they were more comfortable with the slicker and smaller FIBA basketball, and they rebounded like a Calipari coached squad.
The Pros, well, they looked like a bunch of superstars that showed up to a charity even ready to put on a show, and that is exactly what they did. Prince, while effective early, dropped off quickly as his legs failed him. He admitted he was not in game shape, not just due to the layoff, but also from allowing his body some extended healing time. Bogans was as he always was, a menacing defender who can get off a good clean shot when the opportunity presents itself, the only problem being it did not present itself often. John Wall looked rusty from outside, a task he improved on greatly in the NBA from his UK playing days, and Cuz was well, Cuz. He jawed back and forth with Coach Cal, his Sacramento teammate Francisco Garcia (which got a little heated, but all in good fun), he hustled for loose balls, was out of position a lot, and still managed to pick up almost 30 points and a bunch of rebounds. Sound familiar?
The legendary coaching duo of Hall and Crum could not overcome John Calipari's squad's practice time and much deeper bench, their squad's obvious lack of conditioning, or their poor defense. All qualities that would have earned you a seat at the end of the bench on either of their squads back in the day. Joe B. with his program rolled tightly in his left hand, seemed completely at ease and comfortable in his role as the sage and wily elder statesman, and Crum pointed out early on that the squad's D was lackluster at best.
But those things were not the show. The show was seeing those players we thought would never return to Rupp again on that floor, throwing it down, making wild passes, and even wilder shots. The visitors from the DR stole the show, Garcia in particular looked incredibly sharp, and Edgar Sosa loves him some DDMO. This game allowed them to showcase their talents in an arena they both had already racked up some memories of. Even Eloy Vargas got in at the end of the show, looking really sharp and seemingly in better shape than ever.
All in all, it was not just fun, it was exciting and entertaining to see players who's skills have not diminished one bit, go at it against a few of the guys they have rivaled against for the last few years both at Rupp and in other venues. This makes two years in a row that Coach Calipari has interrupted the boredom and blase' August heat to bring us Wildcat basketball at its best. No, the Pros didn't win last night, but the fans did.
So, allowing for 1 day of practice, a Vegas 21st B-day party for Big Cuz, and giving Coach Cal a two week head start, we saw exactly what we expected to see. The best of what Calipari can do against some of the best in UK history. Yeah, the hype was lived up to, bigtime.