[Moderated by Matt Jones]
If you listened to the post game show yesterday, or the KSR Radio show this morning, you heard a fan call in and say that Kentucky’s current players don’t respect the name on the front of the jersey. I was just as furious about what he said as Matt was, but I’m taking my frustration out in this post so Mrs. Jones won’t yell at me. Let me start by saying some Kentucky fans have gotten greedy. Take a moment and remember where this program was 4 years ago and where Calipari has brought it. We expect to have “perfect” teams every season because that is what Calipari has been known for. Sometimes when you have the top talent, people forget how young they are and how big of a transition it is from high school to college basketball.
It’s frustrating to watch, I get that; but it seems like fans forget the glimpses of greatness this team has displayed so far this season. Anytime Kentucky is playing bad, individual players are always picked out and criticized, and ridiculous accusations are always brought up. For example: the players don’t respect Kentucky.
I have never been so proud to be a Kentucky fan as I have since Calipari has been here. I always thought that a good Kentucky team is one that is “winning”, but since Calipari has been coach my opinions have changed. The pride I have for my team is no longer based on a winning or losing season, but the character of our players and the way they represent my school. I have never cared very much about the team’s GPA or what they were doing off of the court as long as they were putting a W on the schedule. Calipari’s attitude and goals since he’s been here has changed that completely.
I first realized this when Daniel Orton failed to finish out the semester and hurt the team’s APR. I was infuriated. Previously, I wouldn’t have cared nearly as much as I did, but Calipari made me care. To me, not finishing the semester was disrespecting the name on the front of the jersey. How are players who have received some of the highest GPA’s, or players who go out in the community and visit a nursing home or a child with cancer disrespecting Kentucky? They’re not.
When people make ridiculous accusations they do so based off of what they are seeing on the court. These guys are more than just basketball players, they’re freshmen in college. These players have a busier schedule than everyone who is criticizing them, yet they still take the time and go the extra mile to help out in the community and get good grades. You know who I don’t think respects the name on the front of the jersey? The fans who say the players don’t. Calipari and his teams have given us number 8, a trip to the final four, and a trip to the elite eight, if you can’t respect that and what Calipari has done for this program, then you don’t understand what Kentucky basketball now represents.
It’s more then winning on the court, it’s winning off of it as well and our players do so. Yes, the team has hit a bump in the road; but it’s still a little early and there’s still time for improvement. So to those fans who have nothing but negative things to say when Kentucky isn’t playing, how about you give Kentucky some respect.
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