By Josh Kramer
The past few days in sports have been anything but ordinary. In fact, it has been an extraordinary past few days in regards to sports, just the way we like it. Here are the items that have caught my attention.
Have no fear, UK is here
-Any of you that know me personally are well aware that I am not the biggest advocate of the Big Blue Nation (University of Kentucky). By no means am I a guy that you will find at Rupp Arena for a showdown on a Saturday afternoon. But I will admit one thing; this year’s version of the “Calipari All Stars” is the real deal. Yes, I realize it is ironic that I am talking about this team following their first loss of the year. A heartbreaking defeat at the hands of an Indiana program that finally appears to be back from the dead.
-Now I am not going to give Big Blue Nation a “moral victory” like I gave Thad Matta’s crew on Saturday. Matta’s crew took on a tough opponent (whom UK dismantled at MSG) without their star player (Jared Sullinger). But there is no need to panic in Ruppville. This year’s version of UK is Final Four bound. They already handled business at home against arguably the second most talented team in all the land not too long ago, and were proclaimed by Kansas Coach Bill Self as, “The best team he has ever seen.” And Self is a guy who has won a National Title and coached some pretty strong teams in his own right.
-First of all, Saturday’s shocking loss came at Assembly Hall. Which quite honestly may be the toughest road venue UK plays at all season long. For a good portion of UK’s roster, this was their first ever “true” road game at the collegiate level. Shockingly, Terrence Jones, one of Calipari’s savvy veterans (sophomore), put on his “Cloak of Invisibility” for the majority of the evening. Any time a consensus preseason first team All American has more turnovers than points, you know you are in trouble. Plus, Indiana shot an astonishing 60% from downtown. Lastly, in typical Calipari fashion, UK shot a less than stellar 58.8% from the charity stripe (IU shot 82.4% from the line). Despite all of that though, Kentucky would have won the game if it wasn’t for a crazy buzzer beater.
-The loss hurts Big Blue Nation. Nobody likes to lose. Many were under the false pretense that arguably Calipari’s most talented group ever could run the table. Well there is a reason no team has done the unthinkable since Bobby Knight’s 1976 version of the Indiana Hoosiers. There are way too many good teams out there these days to dream of running the table. College basketball represents what parity is all about. But there is no reason for panic in Lexington. This UK team starts three freshman and two sophomores. Have no fear, UK will be here come the end of March/early April sadly.
Botched attempt number two
-It once again appeared that Chris Paul, arguably the best point guard in the game today, would be taking his talents to Los Angeles. Only this time, he would be joining forces with the “Human Highlight Reel,” Blake Griffin, rather than the “Black Mamba,” Kobe Bryant. Initially, when I heard the murmurs regarding this blockbuster trade, I figured that CP3 would be a Clipper by the end of Monday. I was wrong again.
-This past Thursday, I remember thinking that there was no way that Chris Paul would not be a Laker by the end of the weekend when the three team blockbuster between the Lakers, Hornets, and Rockets was announced. Even after Stern and the League vetoed the deal, I still thought it would happen. Sadly though, the Lakers could not handle the insanity anymore, pulled out, and inexplicably shipped off Lamar Odom to the team that swept them out of last year’s playoffs for next to nothing. Stern’s decision to listen to one of the biggest haters of them all, Dan Gilbert (Cleveland Cavalier’s owner), was a monumental mistake. Yesterday though, he made another critical error. The Clippers had put up a fair deal to acquire the Hornet’s star player. Yet it once again wasn’t enough. Well enough is enough. Chris Paul may be stuck in New Orleans for at least a good chunk of the year. And if anyone remembers what the marriage between Melo and the Nuggets was like before the trade, this could get even uglier.
-Chris Paul is a great player. He has waited his turn and been fair during all of this chaos. The man deserves to play for another team. Just like most other star players, CP3 wants to play for a contender. Sadly, New Orleans is nowhere near contention, especially after losing star big man David West. If another trade for Paul comes together before the season, or the Clippers somehow manage to salvage a deal, the NBA better let it go through. If they do not, it may be three strikes and out in New Orleans. Things could get very ugly in a hurry.
-Overshadowed by yesterday’s NBA shenanigans and Tim Tebow worship was the firing of two coaches in the AFC. Both Tony Sparano and Todd Haley were fired. It is that time of the year sadly. For some it is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Or at least people are in that mentality. For NFL coaches, if your team is not performing, this is commonly the time when you get shown the door. Yesterday, two were shown the door.
-“If you believe, then unbelievable things can sometimes be possible” (Tebow quote). If you looked up unbelievable in the dictionary. You would see a picture of Tim Tebow these days. Somehow Tim Tebow continues to get the job done. I am not sure how any team wins a football game (especially in the NFL) in which their quarterback is 3 of 16 for 45 total yards and an interception after three quarters. Tim Tebow has literally thrown football logic out the window on his way to a 7 and 1 record as a starter. I really wish I could explain what is going on. For the past two months, Tim Tebow has “Tebowtized” the entire NFL.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.