So, how many of you this week felt vindicated? Got to stand tall and show your Wildcat Pride and say, "I tried to tell you, you can't win with these kids'? For what it's worth, the Louisville bandwagon is loading up now as we speak, and they are taking all comers.
See, they get it. They have been down for so long at times, they had to learn to live with good players. They had to learn that if a player comes to your school and makes a difference, that's something special. We don't have that problem at Kentucky. Special is such an everyday occurrence here that we expect it. I made a comment earlier about our hubris, and this being a reminder of how deep that is. How we take everything for granted at times. The Gillispie Era should have taught us better. We all thought that Mitch Barnhart was an idiot, did we not? He hired this guy without thoroughly checking him out. He didn't do his homework and look what it got us. Yeah, right.
You think that Calipari and Co. didn't do their homework? You think that they just phoned this class in? I don't think so. You know as well as I do that every recruit is researched to the nth degree. Cal knows the exact quantity of ice cream they can poop before they arrive at UK for the first visit. He knows them better than he knows himself. Sometimes, however, a funny thing happens on the way to the forum. Things go wrong. The USS Wildcat gets stranded on a reef somewhere and has to wait for the tide to turn before it can right itself.
We sit on the shore, watch and giggle and snicker when a little miscue happens. When the water gets rough, we start getting a little nervous, but we scoff at it and proclaim our superiority in the face of adversity. Humor is the answer though. After all, if you cannot laugh at yourself, then everyone else is going to. They are laughing down the road a ways. They are belly-laughing at our little predicament. That's OK, too. They need to laugh. They earned the right to laugh. Adversity makes you want to enjoy the victories.
We have had our share of adversity haven't we? We have seen our name splashed across every tabloid headline in the country at one time or another. Sports Illustrated is still not allowed in most of our homes. Jerry Tipton is a household name here. You don't speak it, of course, but you know it.
Mark Pope, Anthony Epps, Tony Delk, Antoine Walker. Are those names any more memorable than Chris Mills? Should we remember Ritchie Farmer as a kid with a cheesy mustache and the ability to sink a free throw under pressure, or as a politician with a cheesy mustache with the ability to sink a government agency under pressure? Is Kyle Wiltjer going to be remembered for his ring, or his bullfighter defense? Will Archie Goodwin go to the NBA being known as the player to be named later?
Ahh, it's only a game anyway. We don't have to worry about any of this effecting the outcome of the next U.N. meeting. this is just for fun. These kids are here to go to school, play a little ball, and enjoy growing up along the way. Let's be honest, we just love to cheer for our Cats.
After all, even an NIT title would have been a hollow victory wouldn't it? But y'all knew that already, didn't you?
Look folks, let's have a little fun. Laugh this one off, start up the "Wait'll next year!" chant, and relax.We are still Kentucky, and we own all that blue. Seems a shame to waste the opportunity to show it off. We have the #1 draft class again, we are still the winningest program in the history of the game, and we will be back to set another record. Has any team ever won it all, didn't make the tournament the following year, then came back to win it all again the next?