The “thud” that you heard Tuesday night was the sound of the 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats basketball season coming to an end at the hands of Robert Morris, 59-57, in the first round of the NIT. A game that was played in a 3,056 seat arena compared to the 24,000 that Rupp Arena holds.
The Big Blue Nation has groaned at the Cats' 12-13 season, questioning the heart and commitment to the name on the jersey they put on when they were recruited by Coach John Calipari.
Sound familiar? There is one familiar name that questioned that when the season began: Morehead State Men’s Basketball Coach Sean Woods.
Woods was on a teleconference call just a few days before Morehead State went to Lexington to take on these brands of cats.
“They didn't seem like Kentucky basketball players to me,” Woods said after his observations of the UK players during the Hurricane Sandy telethon on WKYT-TV. “And I'll leave it at that. I'm a Kentucky basketball player through and through, and there's just a certain aura about you.”
“These kids nowadays are just so different. When I was coming up, we were humble. Very humble. I think because of the success that Cal has created - which is not a bad thing, it's a great thing - it just lets you know what Kentucky basketball is right now. But I'm just one of those kids really, really am a blue blood Kentucky guy at heart. There's just a certain way and a certain look Kentucky basketball players should have, and not have such a sense of entitlement. I think today, it's still an honor to wear that uniform.”
Woods also added, “They don't get it. They play basketball, but they don't know what basketball really is. And they're very, very fortunate. We live in a microwave society now, and it's a shame that kids don't know the history.”
Of course Woods clarified his statements on Twitter, commending the success of Cal, and teams before them and after, which of course was the right thing to do when the Lexington and national media caught wind of the comments.
But was he really wrong in saying what he said? If you are like me, you watched the game. The players looked half-hearted, and like they really did not want to be there. I feel like there were times when ESPN did cutaways to focus on Cal that showed even he did not want to be there.
In his post-game comments after the Robert Morris game, a question was raised about Woods’s comments toward his players at the beginning of the season, if he was right.
“Maybe,” Calipari said. “I told the guys, ‘Look, I love every one of you, and I’m going to look after you, but you’re going to hear the truth in your individual meeting. You’re going to hear the truth.’ And we will be a tough ball team next year. We will be a tough, hard-nosed, fighting team next year. I promise you, we will be, because I can’t sit through that. I can’t take it.”
Sean Woods wears many hats. Former Kentucky player, Morehead State coach and proverbial soothsayer. He saw it from 65 miles away. Why did the Big Blue Nation not?