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As I sit here reliving the season and fighting back the need to scream and curse I came up with this thought. Was this season really “That Bad “? I truly wanted to answer YES. Heck I wanted to scream Hell Yes. Then I did something that I teach the young agents at my office to do. I slowed down and gave it some additional thought and here is what I decided.
We were not “That Bad”. Heck we were good under the circumstances. In fact we may have been as good a replacement team as there ever has been. Ask your self this. Has there ever been a team (in a major conference) that lost it’s entire starting five and the best sixth man in the league and still managed to come in second place the following year in that league? When was the last time any of us has seen something like that?
The Fab Five still had players on the bench who had started before and had been in tough games on the road before and underestimating those players value leaves you in the position UK was in this year. The last team that even comes close to what we went through with losses of key personnel was Rick Pitino’s first year and that team was 14-14. These guys were following a three year JUGGERNAUT that won three SEC championships (regular season or tournament), went to three Elite 8′s, 2 Final Four and Won it all. Those players on this years team had no idea what they were getting into. There was blood in the water from the start and the sharks (media and other teams) were circling.
The loss of Nerlens Noel was the last straw. With him we were poised to make a run (deep into the tourney). Without him we were on the run. Adding the loss of the SEC Defensive player of the year and the nation’s Defensive player of the year to a totally new team was just too much. These guys did more than could be expected under the circumstances. Remove the top six retuning players from any of the current number 1 seeds, then have the top player on that team go down and they would all to a team have a LOSING record! ! Of that I am sure.
So do not worry BBN. This was a VERY good team for what they were up against. I for one truly doubt if any team but UK could have accomplished what this team did under those same circumstances (and I know it wasn’t much by Cal’s or the BBN standards). UNC lost players but still had several who had been in the system to step up. Cal’s recruiting does not provide for that. But a lack of success this season just might.
These guys faced game after game against juniors and seniors that had never beaten the Blue in their entire college careers and they truly had no idea what that means. I know many are already looking to next year. BUT IN MY HUMBLEST OPINION, THIS WAS AS GOOD AS IT GETS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND I AM TRULY HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME (yes I would have preferred better).
GO BLUE AND GET READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL! !