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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: 10 Years of John Calipari Edition

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John Calipari has been at UK for a decade, and what a decade it has been. One championship, two NCAA championship game appearances, four Final Fours and a partridge in a pear tree.

Wake Forest vs. Kentucky Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

The Lexington Herald-Leader has begun a series looking at the first ten years of John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky. The first installment of the series is called “Kentucky isn’t for everyone,” and to date two more installments have been written, “Ranking the 10 most thrilling wins” and “Ranking the 10 most agonizing defeats.”

It’s fitting that we look back on Calipari’s tenure after ten seasons, as they have been filled with amazing highs and a few lows. I’m not going to rank them, but I’m going to drop a few memories from Calipari’s tenure that rush to the fore whenever I think about it.

The white door

When Kentucky was searching for a coach, and Calipari was learned to be one of the candidates, the reaction was… interesting. A good number of the Big Blue Nation was unhappy, considering Calipari’s reputation at the time of being a coach who looked askance at NCAA rules.

But many looked at the agony of the Billy Gillispie Experiment and the late Tubby Smith production, and decided that they had just about enough of being a punching bag. They wanted a winner, and if his reputation was a little tarnished, well, he could rehabilitate it here at Kentucky as long as he did what we hadn’t been doing – win.

The white door was a symbol of Calipari’s wooing by the University, and it stands the test of time as a meme today whenever someone at UK is waiting for the other shoe to drop.Here is an open thread about the white door from way back in time. Check out the comments, I think you’ll really enjoy them.

Also, here is the piece I wrote in the immediate aftermath of Calipari’s hiring. How many of these observations turned out right, and how many… didn’t stand the test of time?

The Derek Rose Scandal

Not much to say on this except it was … scandalous. But we made it through. Here’s a sample from way back when.

The 2010 Loss to West Virginia

That 2010 season was an amazing comeback from an NIT embarrassment in Gillispie’s last season, but losing to West Virgina was a major disappointment.

It’s funny, but the biggest reason for that loss, perimeter shooting, has continually been a source of contention at UK ever since.

The 2011 North Carolina Victory and Indiana Loss

Anthony Davis blocking that shot at the buzzer is something I’ll never forget about Kentucky basketball. It was one of the biggest highs I’ve ever experienced from a basketball game.

Then a week later, we lose at IU on a buzzer-beater by Christian Watford. It was the only blemish in Kentucky’s otherwise flawless regular season, and it came along with an IU fan overreaction that has poisoned the relationship between the two schools to this day.

The 2012 Return to Glory

I was there, in New Orleans. I’ll never forget it.

The 2013 Regression to the NIT

I’m trying to forget it to this day.

The 2014 NCAA Tournament

The toughest road a UK team has ever faced with any kind of success. I’ll never forget Aaron Harrison’s huge performance in that tournament as long as I live.

Two Losses in the NCAA Final to UConn Late In The NCAA Tournament

How does that happen, exactly? And to two different coaches. And take a look at UConn now.

Okay, I’ll give them the first one with Calhoun, but…

The 2017 Loss to North Carolina

Ouch. That one really hurt, and it was the second year in a row we got taken out by a major rival.

That’s enough, there are so many I could go on forever. Feel free to add your own.

Tweet of the Morning

Yeah, you knew this was gonna come up.

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