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By LARRY VAUGHT
Sometimes the best part of Kentucky basketball can also be the worst part of Kentucky basketball.
I still remember Joe Hall telling me that almost 30 years ago during a period when he was being roasted by fans when his team was having a Ã¢â‚¬Å“January slumpÃ¢â‚¬Â and fans thought it was his fault.
Apparently some UK fans that were upset by the WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ sluggish play in TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 68-62 loss at South Carolina have been venting today, too, and have upset both players and their families with comments left on various Internet sites, especially Facebook pages.
Here is what UK junior Patrick Patterson, who had a season-low five points and did not score in the second half posted on his personal page: Ã¢â‚¬Å“People please get a hold of yourselves … this is insane… To the entire Big Blue Nation. Do not talk to me or message me about the performances of myself and my teammates OR question our talent, pride, or love for this University.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On his fan page, Patterson left this update: One loss doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean anything. It was a learning experience and we now know anything can happen. We got to stay focused and get ready for the next game against Vandy. Lets stay on top Kentucky!
I checked with the parents of several players today and while they were as upset with the loss as any fan, they also were a little hurt that a team that started the season 19-0 was being blasted by some fans even though one parent managed to keep a sense of humor and suggested maybe the critics were Ã¢â‚¬Å“undercover Louisville fansÃ¢â‚¬Â trying to create trouble.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what another parent said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“People forget that they are kids. These boys go through enough. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not okay to dog them out.Ã‚Â Please tell the fans to back off. They are leaving negative comments on Facebook pages.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tywanna Patterson, who regularly posts on vaughtsviews.com, was on her way back from South Carolina today. Like many, she was disappointed and not happy with the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s play. However, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also a mother. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Win or lose, I love my son and the Cats,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
My guess is that is how most UK fans feel, and always will.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what Dale McCue Castle posted on Facebook: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am so proud to be a Cat fan despite the loss last night. Downey was awesome, and we get another chance at him at Rupp. We will grow stronger because of this setback, and remember, we have the longest winning streak of any team in the country this year. Go Cats!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Or here is one from Matt Davis: You find out who your true fans are when you lose your first game of the season and everyone starts freakin out on you. UK was in the NIT last year people! CALM DOWN. They are still the best to wear KENTUCKY across their chests in a LONG time!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Even John Calipari, who went on a recruiting trip Wednesday since UK had the day off, had a calming message for fans on his Facebook page that he posted at mid-afternoon: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Let me remind every1 of something: It’s never quite as good as it seems & it’s never quite as bad it seems. Somewhere in between lies reality. In 2008 we were No. 1 & we lost at HOME. But we used that loss to catapult us to the final game. Our challenge now is to have this loss do a similar thing. As long as we can all accept that we got out-coached, out-hustled, out-played and out-toughed, we can move forward and grow.Ã¢â‚¬Â