Monday, February 22, 2010

In Defense of Our Coach

This is in direct response to the ludicrous claims by blogger Matt Jones on that Rick Pitino has lost his luster. Let me preface this by saying I consider Jones a great-friend. We have worked together for the last couple years in radio & print and I have a great deal of respect for him & his work. With that being said, he over-stepped his boundaries this time on a national scale. This is an article that Jones has been waiting for the opportunity to write since Tom Jurich introduced his former hero as head-man of Jones' heated-rival in 2001.

Jones is an avid UK fan/blogger and should not have even been given the opportunity by a national media outlet to absolutely bash his rival's coach who used to coach the program he loves so dearly. This would be the equivalent of a jealous ex-boyfriend creating a profile for a heart-breaking ex-girlfriend - a well-constructed slug-fest that makes the writer feel better about himself for what she did, but forgetting that she was the best thing to happen to him. Sometimes you have to look at the conveyor and what his/her underlying issues are. Unfortunately, most casual basketball fans have no-idea that the writer of this certain piece is a hate-mongerer for everything Louisville and especially Rick Pitino.

UK fans (Jones included) will be forever bitter that the coach that put their program back on the map is now coaching their arch nemesis. They will jump to bash Pitino at any opportunity because they feel he is a traitor. Jones considers himself the talking-head for blue-bloods, thus seizing this liberty of writing on a national site to do just that: Demonize Rick Pitino not for what he has done at Louisville, but what he did to the Kayuts.

In the article, Jones is quick to point out the inconsistencies of this season without a mere mention of the team's success last year and the 2 lottery picks that departed. Louisville was the #1 overall seed last season and in the last 5 years have been prosperous to say the least with 3 Elite Eights, one Final Four, and a conference title in what was the best league college basketball has seen in 30 years. Most teams would dream of that kind of achievement in that span, including the blue-bloods who Jones worships. In that same time-period, Kentucky has only been past the first weekend of the tournament once.

The Syper-incident has become a complete afterthought, yet Jones used his platform to bring it up like a couch-burning, battery-slinging West Virginia fan. The only way the incident affected Pitino's coaching this season was a few scattered chants from opposing student-sections. Jones' attempt to bring this back to the forefront is case-and-point to these mud-slinging tactics. It would be like me bringing up Chris Mills, Eddie Sutton, and Emory packages.

Saying this team has no talent is absolutely proposterous. Just a few examples: Samardo Samuels was the National Player of the Year as a senior. Peyton Siva was named to the McDonald's All-American team just last season. Jerry Smith is the only player to win multiple Wisconsin Mr. Basketball's. Pitino has also been snake-bitten by multiple players leaving for the pros, something he never had to deal with at Kentucky. Imagine if he knew Sebastian Telfair, Jeremy Tyler, Amir Johnson, James Lang, and Donta Smith weren't ever going to show up on campus. Guys like Rajon Rondo would have been wearing Cardinal red instead. Also imagine if players were jumping from prep-to-pro in his Kentucky days. Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker and others wouldn't even know where Lexington is.

Not to mention the Cards have played worlds better than their 18-9 record indicates. The ball bounces a certain way and referees remove their heads from their posteriors, Pitino's team is in the top 10 at 22-5. Two potential #1 seed this year (Villanova & West Virginia) can say that they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Cards. That's no excuse for the inexplicable losses, but Pitino's team has proven they can consistently compete with the nation's best this year.

The world is full of hypocrites. People that are angered when something doesn't support their particular theory, but are pronto to pile on when patronage is helpful in their thesis. UK fans & Jones are a perfect example of this. Whenever a national writer says something critical of their team, they cast them off like a leper. They bashed Jeff Goodman of FoxSports for saying Billy Gilispie was a terrible coach last season and vilified ESPN's Pat Forde for questioning the recruiting ethics of John Calipari this season. Most passionate, knowledgeable college hoops followers would agree what both writers said was true. Of course, not the blue bloods.

Remember, just two short years ago the current savior of UK basketball, John Calipari, was not even considered as an option to replace Tubby Smith because of his seedy recruiting practices and NCAA delinquency. UK was not going to stand for what Cal stood for. They were past buying titles and constantly being under NCAA investigation. Funny how two years changes the opinion of a whole fan base. Now, according to blue-bloods, Cal can do no wrong and everyone else is just envious of what a program a year-removed from the NIT has become. Before projecting our coach as a washed-up shadow of himself, maybe they should think about how the University of Kentucky completely sold what little soul they still had for a quick-fix. if there is a God, it will come back and bite them in their over-indulging ass.

So take this Matt Jones article with a grain of salt. It might as well have been a message board post on Just a bitter UK fan expressing his opinion on the national media stage. However, it has been the topic of conversation amongst many in Cardinal nation, so it needed to be addressed and shot down.

Hopefully one day I will be given the same opportunity as Matt Jones to write something about my beloved team's rival on a website such as And when it happens, part of me hopes Calipari hasn't ditched the Big Blue Charlatans like our coach did.

No comments:

Post a Comment