Kenny Smith said “It’s Not Who You Come To See, Its Who You Leave Talkin’ About.” Truth.
Going into last night’s marquee matchup between UCLA and Kentucky, all the attention and media concentration was on the consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. But another lesser known freshman sensation changed all of that by playing the game of his life.
Lonzo Ball and the UCLA Bruins may be a great team, but last night they played a better team. I turned on the TV expecting a basketball game and a track meet broke out. It was a fast paced, up and down, back and forth affair, and that’s how life is sometimes. And last night, a better player, in De’Aaron Fox, at least last night, broke out too.
Fox, a lesser known Kentucky freshman guard outplayed fellow freshman phenom Lonzo Ball with one of the best scoring nights in Kentucky’s vaunted NCAA Tournament history.
Fox scored a career-high 39 points as Kentucky beat UCLA 86-75 Friday night in a Sweet Sixteen showdown between two of college basketball’s goliaths for a spot in the South Regional final. Fox not only turned in the best NCAA scoring performance since Tayshaun Prince had 41 against Tulsa in 2002, it was the best by a freshman in tournament history.
Fox fought and scratched and clawed his way to a 39 point night because the matchup was personal. Fox took the game right to Ball, and last night, Lonzo wasn’t the baller that he’s been billed to be. And the Kentucky Wildcat played like a fox and took full advantage of the fact that he wasn’t expected to have a great, spectacular, sensational game while on the court with the fan favorite from UCLA.
It just goes to show ya, it’s not how you start, its how you finish. And now De’Aaron and his Wildcat wonder boy buddies will play North Carolina for the right to go to the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix. So don’t put all your money on the favorite or the front runner. Because they may not be as good as you when no one gives you a chance to be the best you can be.