Sunday Morning PG: Some Play Smart, Some Don’t

If Kentucky fans think the dysfunction that plagues this year’s woefully immature squad couldn’t get any worse, I must disagree. It could have been.

Think how the presence of Shabazz Muhammad might affect the chemistry of this edition of the Cats.

In a game recently, UCLA beat UDub on a last second shot by Larry Drew2. During that last possession, Muhammad kept calling for the ball, clapping, waving his arms, generally acting like a Biddy Basketballer, who is supposed to be the star of the team because he’s grown a couple inches taller than his peers.

When Drew’s game winner went in, the Bruins rushed the court to embrace the shotmaker in celebration with charming youthful exuberance. Except for Muhammad, who sullenly headed straight for the locker room.

Seems like he’d be a perfect fit for Goodwin, Poythress, Harrow and Cauley-Stein, who performed in Knoxville yesterday with all the maturity the 3d graders on a class field trip to the zoo, who didn’t get the flavor popsicle they wanted.

* * * * *

I’d forgotten how rotten things had gotten in Lexington when Billy Clyde roamed the sidelines. So, as I couldn’t take my eyes off of yesterday’s meltdown, I kept wondering if it was the worst loss ever for the Wildcats? Apparently not.

At least not by sheer numbers.

While I have not watched Kentucky as closely as I do my Cardinals through the decades, I do pay attention. And I cannot recall a UK team more immature, less ready to play, more petulant and downright disinterested as the Wildcats were yesterday.

If the Vols had hedged Wiltjer to the left when he had the ball with his back to the hoop, UK might not have made it to 40. Wiltjer, Mays and two Kentuckians, Polson and Hood, were the only ones who showed any willingness to win the game.

It was rather dumbfounding, frankly.

I’m not sure if there’s anything even a master psychologist like Calipari can do with this bunch?

* * * * *

It was probably just coincidence that the story ran in the this morning’s C-J, but the presence of Adam Himmelsbach’s puff piece on Andrew and Aaron Harrison, UK’s next saviors, was certainly prescient.

They can’t get to Lexington soon enough for the Big Blue Nation.

* * * * *

Given how splintered the Kentucky team seems to be, it was interesting to watch a BTN show on the 2000 Michigan State national champs. Mateen Cleaves. The Flintstones.

During the interviews with players, Izzo and writers who covered the team, all they could talk about was how close they were on and off the court, what a family they were. Including both players and their families and the coaching staff.

Izzo recalled walking out of the locker room, in a bad way, head down, after an early season loss. Cleaves mother called him out. “You think you’re gonna walk by me after a game, win or lose, and not give me a hug?”

* * * * *

Team connectivity is a necessary intangible for success.

Which is why I think this post-game locker room moment from Thursday night might be Russ Smith’s best play of the season. He gets all the players involved.

* * * * *

Of course, I rooted for Maryland last night.

The Terps were playing Duke.

And, their abdication to the Big Ten opened an ACC spot for U of L.

I also love what the school did when building the relatively new arena in which the team now plays. The student section behind the basket at one end is built appreciably steeper than the rest of the arena. Visiting teams who want to be at their bench’s end on offense in the second half, have to play into what appears to be a wall of sound.

Looks mighty intimidating.

* * * * *

If I had my choice of any player in college now to pick first in a shirts and skins game, I’d go with Okie State’s Marcus Smart.

This is a kid who plays with a maturity beyond his years. When he missed a shot yesterday that would have beaten rival Oklahoma in regulation, he merely shrugged, and moved on, leading his team to victory in OT. An assist for a game leading deuce. A blocked shot. Two FTs to close the deal.

Did I mention Smart’s a freshman?

* * * * *

Detroit won at Valpo last night.

By 10 points. After being down 15 with less than 10:00 to play.

Outscoring an opponent by 25 on the road in the last quarter of a game. Now, that’s a comeback.

* * * * *

Is there a more schizophrenic team in the land than Villanova?

* * * * *

The yin and yang for IU.

Will Sheehey went 9/9 from the field off the bench.

Victor Oladipo hurt his ankle.

– Seedy K


  1. gnash001
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    What was the deal with all the visiting teams wearing the school’s nicknames on the uniforms instead of the player’s names this weekend? I noticed it Friday in the Georgetown/Cincinnati game then yesterday in the UK/UT, Duke/Maryland and Texas/Kansas games.

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