Thursday, November 25, 2010

That BLOWS, a/k/a UK blown-out by UConn

It's fitting that the color of disappointment is blue, because the disappointment of Kentucky's 84-67 loss to UConn has left me feeling blue ... BIG time. On the bright side, though, the loss did give us Cat fans an opportunity to learn a few things about our young team:

1) We need a center. Oh, wait. We already knew that.

2) We need to learn how to shoot free throws. In three games in Maui, we shot 50%, 61%, and 75% from the line. This is not only embarrassing, it's inexcusable. It reminds me of my Intro to Theatre students. Every semester, there are 100 of their 500 total points that they earn just by showing up to Theatre Lab. I don't care how well they perform in Theatre Lab. I just care that they're there. Still, every semester, there are kids who get only 10-20-30% of these points, because they simply don't spend the time to show up. This, to me, is mind-blowingly stupid. THESE ARE FREE POINTS, PEOPLE!

I feel the same way about missing free throws. There is absolutely zero excuse to miss 1 out of every 2 shots taken, unguarded, from the stripe. As Coach Cal should know better than anyone else, championships are won and lost at the line.

3) Cleveland ... er, Miami ... may have a "King James." UK has a "King Jones." His name is Terrence. Two games into the regular season, he'd already won SEC Freshman of the Week, and deservedly so. Through five games, he's averaging 21.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. With him on the floor, we look really good. With him on the bench - as he was for most of the first half tonite - we wonder when he's gonna get back on the floor.

Rumor has it that one of the NBA scouts here in Maui said Jones is the best pro prospect in the tournament. I'm assuming that that means that, as we said goodbye to four of our fabulous freshman last year, we'll end this year saying goodbye to this fabulous freshman.

Though I love the thrill of watching these kids play - and Heaven knows I wouldn't trade our time with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins (and, alright, Eric Bledsoe) for all the cotton candy on the planet - I still feel like they're gone too soon. They profit from it - but what about the program? Isn't there something to be said about recruiting guys who are gonna stay around long enough to acquire the poise that it takes to win big?

That's what they always say - "Poise wins championships." There's a lot to that, I think. Given that, can a coaching model built on a foundation of one-and-dones win championships? With the necessity of "reloading" every single season, it seems like what's sacrificed is the camaraderie of playing with the same group of guys for an extended period of time.

Watching our current group of guys play over three days this Thanksgiving week, it's clear that we have a lot to cheer for - and a lot to work on.

Go, Big Blue.

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