Saturday was a tough day.
The basketball season came to an end for the Cats a little sooner than we had hoped, and now the BBN will have to wait patiently while our guys make their decisions about what their next steps are. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the season and just why it was so special.
This team will hold a special place in my heart because they were the first team I got to cover as what I consider an actual member of the "media". Being able to go to the game against Ole Miss was a surreal experience for me, and was really a part of living out a lifelong dream of mine.
I got to witness the first of 8 double-doubles for Tyler Ulis. I got to sit in the second row of a post game press conference (thanks to Larry Vaught) and see the awesomeness that is Coach Cal first hand. For me, it was a pretty great season.
For the BBN as a whole, it was sort of an emotional roller coaster. We started the season on a positive note, with a top 5 preseason ranking, high hopes for all of the players coming in, and the comfort of knowing we had players coming back from that stellar 38-1 team last year.
While basically everyone had flashes of greatness, in the end, inconsistency from our big guys was the thorn in our side that really sent us on the wild ride fans went on this season.
The Cats did make plenty of history to take us to those high points. Tyler Ulis broke John Wall's single season assist record, ending the season with 246. The Cats as a whole took ownership of the record for consecutive games with a made 3-point basket at 975.
Jamal Murray was the guy that took over the record books this season. He broke Tony Delk's record for consecutive games with a made 3-point basket, ending the season with 36. He also became only the third player in UK history, joining Jodie Meeks and my friend Travis Ford, to make more than one hundred 3-point baskets, finishing with 113. He also crushed Brandon Knight's record for most points in a season by a UK freshman with 720 points.
With all of the accomplishments of those two, it may have been easy to overlook the mostly consistent play of Isaiah Briscoe. He ended the season averaging almost 10 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. He kept the Cats in quite a few games with his physical play.
And of course, it's impressive for me to have gone this long without mentioning my favorite player, Alex Poythress, He came back from a devastating injury, and even missed 5 games this year with a different knee issue, and averaged 10 points a game and a team-leading 6 rebounds.
As is normal for Coach Cal, he brought in a class of kids this year that were not only good players, but they're great kids as well. They were fun to watch, and were great people of character. I don't know about the rest of the BBN, but I'll definitely miss this group of guys.
Thanks for the memories, and just remember, once a Wildcat, ALWAYS a Wildcat.