Last updated: March 04. 2014 11:00AM - 430 Views
Ira D. Combs Tri State Sports Media



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Never saw this coming folks.


Before or after the Florida game two weeks ago, does everybody realize this UK team, this pre-season No. 1 ranked UK team is just one measly Julius Randle tip in away from being on a four-game losing streak with three of them coming in Rupp Arena.


I’m stunned folks. It’s 2 a.m. Sunday morning, and I’m literally stunned, at a loss for words, stunned, can’t sleep, stunned.


But with the assistance of a minor case of sleep apnea here it goes anyway.


Cal said it, most—but not all—of us media pundits said it, all of Big Blue Nation thought it but few said it. Actually, most of the Big Blue Nation really thought this was a 40–0 or 38–2 team, at worse similar to the 2012 NCAA champs.


What everybody with a rational thinking cranium did think was that this team would improve thru trial and error over the first four months of the season and be prepared to make a deep, serious run at another NCAA championship.


All of the above people mentioned also thought deep down inside that this team would have developed some type of consistency in all phases of the game, shooting both FT/FG, defense both inside and on the perimeter, individual roles in sync, team chemistry solid, and leadership responsibilities fully defined.


As we enter the first week of March and the last week of the regular season, I ask you, has any of the above questions been answered?


Absolutely not.


Now, where does the fault lay or is a 21–8 team stockpiled with 18 and 19-year-olds realistically a real serious problem?


If this team is a definite underachieving team, who or what is the problem? Is it (A) Coach Cal’s practice and in game tactic’s, (B) to much player individualism, (C) unrealistic pre conference scheduling for a freshman laden team, (D) the impact of intangibles a player nor coach can control poor officiating that very much impacts wins and losses, (E) all of the above or (F) none of the above.


Once again, in my humble opinion, I think it lays to a small degree with (E) all of the above. But to a much bigger degree, to the continued mystical and, to me, unbearable impact that the modern day recruiting service gurus have on the American college basketball fan and especially on the nationwide media’s train of thought on college hoops.


Translated, just because these so called recruiting services say a player is the best player in his class or at his position doesn’t mean it’s the gospel truth. As a matter of fact, it’s simply a personal opinion based solely on how they witnessed these particular UK recruits as high school players compete against other high school players.


The fly in the ointment here is they don’t play against those type players once they step foot onto the Rupp Arena floor as freshmen. Also, just because they have Kentucky written across their jersey doesn’t mean they are any more special than another supposed high profile recruit at another school.


Let me let you in on another inside trade secret having been personally involved in recent years in the recruiting service business on the regional level. Many of the national level recruiting services, because they are so competitive in recent years for the Internet dollar bill, wait an extra day or sometimes weeks to see how their competition is rating certain high profile players before they publish their thoughts on the same player.


Why you ask?


Because they don’t want to be wrong in the evaluation process so they jump on board with their competition. Then, they all sink or swim together in the evaluation process on the same player.


What looks bad at the end of the day or the end of a college player’s career on his accomplishments is the college coach takes the chance and decides who he will extend the scholarship offer to, then he alone either reaps the dividends on the court for the one-and-done type player or fights his way through however many college years he can get of implementing the player’s talents, whatever impact they may be in hopefully a positive way or as Coach Cal is starting to learn, answers to his own critics for bringing certain kids into the program.


Not every team is going to have the ingredients the 2012 team did. Not every recruit is going to have the talent and impact that John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did for their respective teams.


But that’s what Cal is paid a tad over $4.5 million a year for, and crazy as it may sound to some, especially this week, many college basketball insiders think that’s a bargain for UK.


Whatever the reason is for the collapse or even if there is going to be a resurrection of some sort on the horizon, you have to ask the question: Did we just experience the most disappointing two weeks of Kentucky basketball in the last 25 years, definitely at least in the Calipari era?


Did we? Or, heaven forbid, is it over?


UK Baseball and Softball Best Sports Ticket In Commonwealth


Most sports fans in Kentucky know how to deal with the weather elements when they attend outdoor sporting events and as we all know the winter weather annually does not break into true spring weather on a consistent basis until early if not at least mid April.


With that being said, I suggest those folks living within close proximity of Lexington check into UK baseball and women’s softball season ticket’s ASAP because they are both the best bang for your buck in the Commonwealth as far as watching as a spectator any high school, college, or professional level competition.


UK baseball season tickets are only $55 on field level directly behind home plate as well as behind first and third base. The upper deck level behind first and third base are only $35 for a season ticket. UK women’s softball season tickets in all sections of their new state of the art facility are $35. You can go online to www.ukathletics.com or call 1–800–928–2287 if you’re interested and you can still purchase season or individual game tickets. Each team is just a few days into their spring season with over 25 home games left on each respective schedule.


The skill level of the player’s in these two sports are just a tad below the professional level and very entertaining. The effort given by the players, well, let’s just say I’ve never witnessed a college baseball or softball game that every participant on the field didn’t give it that old college effort both physically and emotionally.


You can go online at www.combsbrothersonkysports.com for more coverage of UK basketball, football, and baseball as well as KHSAA basketball and football.


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