Why I’m Glad Kentucky Lost  

Kansas State Bruce Webber
Kansas State Coach Bruce Weber and Xavier Sneed

Kansas State just beat Kentucky 61-58 in the 2018 Sweet 16 in Atlanta. And I’m glad.  All week, Kansas State basketball players heard about how they had no chance against mighty Kentucky. College basketball experts said John Calipari’s team was bigger and better than Bruce Weber’s. They said Kentucky steam-rolled through its first two NCAA Tournament games and had an easy path to the Final Four playing in the friendly confines of Philips Arena while K-State got here on luck as much as it did on talent.

 Of all the teams that made it to the Sweet 16, K-State had by far the least respect. So I’m so happy for Kansas State, but not for the reason you think.

I should be glad for a positive and not a negative reason, right? I mean, I should be glad Kansas State won and defeated Kentucky for the first time EVER. But I’m not, at least not really.

I don’t like Kentucky.  I don’t. I don’t like what they represent or what they stand for. Coach John Calipari relishes the fact that he runs a “one and done program”. This year, he started five freshman who will all leave college after only one year.

Blue chip freshman, a.k.a. the best high school players in the Country, fight for the right to play for and wear Kentucky Blue. Why? Because they can and are encouraged to play one year for Coach Cal and then jump to the pros. It’s a known fact and a proven way for some, I said some, to go to the pros and cash in. And the list is long. Nearly 30 former Kentucky players line NBA rosters, with a few teams carrying several Wildcats. And many if not most of them are one and dones, including Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel and DeMarcus Cousins, just to name a few.

 And if that isn’t enough, Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari announced on Wednesday that every member of his basketball team that is eligible — including the walk-ons — will declare for this year’s NBA Draft.

The announcement sounds shocking, even by the much-maligned Kentucky coach’s standards. And here’s my point: while this system may work for Calipari and the players that are successful in the NBA, is this what college basketball is all about? The Kentucky “system” is certainly not the model or the formula for success for your base and basic college basketball program. Period. 

Kansas State may not have one player who will go on to play in the NBA, much less be successful at the professional level. And that’s fine. March Madness, especially this year, is meant to pit the haves against the have nots. This year above any other year in recent memory, the teams with future NBA talent are destined and doomed to fall to the UMBC’s and the Loyola-Chicago’s and the Kansas-States of the world who have their one shining moment in the NCAA Tournament. And I’m glad.

So, let’s end on a positive note. I’m glad that Kansas State, a Nine Seed and understated underdog, defeated a heavily favored No. 5 Seed in Kentucky, with all of that potential NBA talent and all of those NBA factory prodigies. They won a barn burner of a game that went down to the wire. They won with grit and pluck and spunk and coaching. Good for them. I’m glad. In my humble opinion, this Kentucky team was full of egos and hubris and dare I say prima donnas. They felt that they should win just because. 

And so maybe, just maybe, this Kentucky loss will send a signal that staying in school for more than one year is preferable to going for only one year. In other words, what is the real reason you go to college? In sum, the Kentucky system of being an NBA factory is not the preferred solution for college basketball.

Luck Runs Out On the Irish

demetrius-jackson

Kentucky 68: Notre Dame 66.

That was the best college basketball game of the year. The Notre Dame Irishmen gave Kentucky all they had. They gave Kentucky fits and fists and battled and baffled the presumptive champions until the final buzzer. They left nothing in the tank and put everything on the court, and that’s the way the game should be played. Wow.

What a lesson in how both to preserve and give 100% and how to hang in there and give it all you’ve got. You’ve got to give it to Notre Dame, and you’ve got to take your hats off to Kentucky too. It was both an awful win and an unlucky loss at the same time. Both teams played their hearts out, played their guts out, and played the lights out; unfortunately only one team can walk out a winner.

So let’s learn another lesson; let’s not be intimidated by the Kentucky’s in our life. Let’s not be afraid or alarmed or overawed or overwhelmed by unbeaten seven footers or undefeated three-point shooters. Learn the lesson. You can. You can beat King Kentucky. And Kentucky can, and did, abolish the Irish.

Survive and Advance: Getting To The Next Level

Benda Frese

My Maryland Terrapin Ladies defeated Duke today and are now a part of the Elite Eight. GO TERPS! Brenda Frese is the real deal. She’s a great coach and she’s got a great team. But how did they do it? And how can they continue to carry on and keep on and go on to win another title?

Brenda Frese Clapping

How do you advance and ascend and progress and proceed to the next level? Simply put, how do you get from being one of many to being the one ahead of any? How do you beat all comers and best every contender? How do you recapture the flag and retake the lead? How do you win JUST wanting to?

How do you overcome your fears and fight back your tears? How do you mend mental mistakes? How do you modify muddles and mollify messes? How do you play under pressure? How do you rebound and regroup and regain control after falling and flailing and floundering? How do you go from being a “wannabe” to receiving Atta boys?

How do you leave the lower level and rise to the rarefied realm of the upper echelon? How do  you climb the mountain and scale the heights? How do you back out of the bottom and trudge towards the top? How do you surge forward and keep from sagging backward? How do you march through the madness and not lose your mind? How do you stop being a wannabe?

A Wannabe is a poser, a follower, and a fake. A Wannabe is one who copies or imitates all or most of the aspects dealing with their idol. They may wish to have certain clothing, skills, vocabulary, etc., of their idols instead of their own. Most likely a wannabe is lacking in self-confidence and is looking for guidance. Most likely a wannabe wants to be just where they are; an also ran and an almost made it. Because they aren’t willing to put in the time or fork over the dime that it costs to make it to the top of their game. But not you.

You and I want to go and want to get to the next level. You and I want to play in the next round. You and I want to survive and advance. The question is, “How?” The way and the key is to hunger and to thirst, to fight and to fume and to scrap and to scrape. The way is to survive and subsist; to come through and pull through; to outlive and outlast any and all comers and contenders that try to knock you off and knock you out.

So again I ask, “How do you go to the next level?” How do you win JUST wanting to? You don’t.

You don’t settle for second and you don’t concede the lead. Don’t do it. Don’t be satisfied with the way things are. Don’t succumb to the way people say things have to be. You are made for more than “would be” and wannabe status. You were made for more. You weren’t made to flounder, you were made to fly.