Monday, March 30, 2009

Bye, John - - It's Been Great--Oh, and You Have No Idea What Pressure Is Until You Play in Adolph Rupp's House

Let me say at the's UK...ready or not, you gotta go.

I don't begrudge you, John. In fact, of all the programs I feel best about you going to from here, it's UK (cue "My Old Kentucky Home.")

I'm from there, and brother, you have no idea what you're about to say "yes" to. As the ascendant High Priest of the Order of Wildcat Basketball, you'll find it a stage fitting for your ego. But make no mistake--it matters not how significant you impact on UK will or will not'll never be "the man" at UK.

Sure you'll leave us, and you'll take all that we were counting on to make another run next year with you. Just the nature of the game, right?

In many ways, you're far better at playing the game around the game of basketball, than you are the X's and O's on the court.

I mean no insult. Just a fact. A recruiter par excellence. You can make somebody believe. You surround yourself with great talent to make up for your technical deficiencies.

A good quality for any leader, methinks.

In my observations, though, based on many a Tiger game attended and watched, when we got beat, it was because you got outfoxed, and great talent needs great technical skill for the moments when it all counts.

Mike Anderson
Bruce Pearl
Bill Self
and, of course, Rick Pitino, whose presence in the Bluegrass State makes this all the more intriguing. He is the one whose respect you want most and will never get in the way that will satisfy. It is the stuff of Holmes/Moriarty. The battle is rejoined.

But there's this. If the reports are right, and you're about to get a salary package equal or greater than the anyone in college basketball, how is that right?

Other than some C-USA rings, and a National Runner Up Ring, where's the national championships you've won to merit such a thing?

More than Coach K? More than Roy? More than anybody? Really?

Local reports showed Memphis put a package together that met and in some ways exceeded UK's offer. Unbelievable. It's take a lifetime to get Memphis to do anything of meaning, but if we're about to lose our coach, watch how fast we can get things done. And I would have said that had he stayed.

No question, while Cal was here, there were exciting times. And I'm thankful for that.

By about 3 this afternoon, I found myself ashamed by how many times I was checking to see what Cal's decision was going to be. Just leave, already. Quit playing around.

Let your yes be your yes and move on.

What's next for those of us left in Tigertown? A revisitation of old feelings thought locked away for ever. But here they come with relish.

I have some thoughts about the Tigers, Memphis and what's next. That'll come in my next post, but the overall thought is this--"GET INTO A CONFERENCE, WILL YA?" Until that one is handled, we're just playing games with guys on borrowed time looking to hit the big time.

Sometime next fall or winter, though, I'm going to see UK playing on ESPN with a Coach I recognize, and evidently a few players I once knew wearing a different shade of blue and I'm going to feel cheated, if only for a moment.

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