I've been a UK Hoops fan for more than 33 years now and I've never been this excited about a UK team. WOW. These kids won't quit. What can you say?
I told Joey UK was done with 4:45 to play after they gave up six consecutive points and looked absolutely exhausted. With so many careless and unforced turnovers, I just didn't think they had anything left in the tank. I'm a fool. This team has a spirit that is impossible to crush. You can't keep them down.
Brandon Knight although still not a point guard, played out of his farking mind. He kept making huge back breaking, Roy Williams tear-jerking three pointers. Every time UNC got close or even tied, he made a huge shot.
And then there was the Supernatural Force. The WARLOCK. First, with the game in the balance and UK up one, he swats Marshall off the glass on his drive. And then seconds later he steps up and hits a three pointer that few players would have the courage to even shoot let along make. Just when you thought he had done enough, he then blocks Marshall one more time to keep UNC from getting any closer. Let me say this. DeAndre Liggins is my favorite UK player ever. He has now surpassed Cliff Hawkins by a wide margin. I've never seen a UK player come so far in such a short amount of time.
When he came out of the HS ranks Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports said he would be the #1 impact player out of that recruiting class. He had compared him to Magic Johnson with his "do it all" type of game. And then DeAndre met “the Curmudgeon,” Billy Gillispie. The foolish drunk who didn't deserve to be the UK Coach. That farce tried to destroy him psychologically. And he did a damn good job. Thank Zod that Coach Cal didn't give up on him. Thankfully he had recruited him when he was at Memphis and knew what kind of player he was and could be. Almost everybody at UK (and many silly fans) were ready to boot DeAndre onto the streets. With the recruiting class coming in, even DeAndre wondered where he'd fit in? Thankfully he didn't give up. Cal sat him out for the entire first semester and made him buy into the team. Somewhere along the way, DeAndre decided to utilize his length and athletic prowess to become a lock down defender. Once he committed to becoming UK's defensive stopper and outworking everybody for every 50-50 ball, his talent gradually evidenced itself. And now we've all been witness to the WARLOCK. Seeing him embrace Coach Cal on the sideline and then witnessing Cal's post game presser when commenting on Dre was something most UK fans will remember for the rest of their lives. Both brought tears to my eyes.
And let's not forget about JORTS. Guy is a living UK legend. Right up there with Richie Farmer, King Rex, Jeff Sheppard and Scott Padgett. And nobody has a story like his. This is a kid who played 88 minutes the entire season last year. And now he's a guy the other team has to focus on stopping. IMHO, there is no way he doesn't get drafted. And if NBA GM's are foolish enough to not draft him, he will definitely be signed to a Free Agent Contract. On the right team, he'll play 10 years. Of course JORTS needs to stay in shape and hire a conditioning specialist (and probably a nutritionist) but he has the talent to be solid NBA contributor for years to come.
Darius Miller, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones also all played integral roles in the game. I could go on and on about what each did, but UK would not be advancing if not for their contributions. As many others have said, UK has great freshmen, but they are led by the WARLOCK, JORTS and Darius Miller
Many, many more words will be written before we take on UCONN next Saturday night. Right now UK is 8-5 in Vegas to cut down the nets. I will honestly not be sad if we lose to UCONN next Saturday. This is pure gravy and we're still playing with the House's Money. But it would be one of the greatest stories in UK History if this team wins it all. And remember, UK is still a "Year Away" from a potential "team for the ages" next season.
I will leave you with this. Coach Cal was hired to restore order and bring the Big Blue Nation back to its rightful place at the top of the college hoops food chain. In less than 24 months, he's already done it. Say what you want about him as an X and O's guy, he's done what he was hired to do. And for that I'm incredibly thankful. It's been 13 years since UK has tasted Final Four celebrations and excitement. And it feels damn good.
And if you're a UK Fan, this photo might make you stand up and dance. And just think what kind of recruiting advantage this photo brings:go back