Okay Big Blue Nation, we gotta talk.
So last week, our beloved Wildcats marched their way to the 8th national title. It didn't matter what obstacles were thrown in their way-ridiculous charging calls by the refs, Louisville's ugly-as-sin uniforms, or even Thomas Robinson's whining about how he should have gotten Player of the Year.
We enjoyed it for all of Monday night, either down on Bourbon Street in NOLA or setting fires and shooting people in Lexington (don't even get me started), but Tuesday awoke with that dreadful feeling.
What now? Will they or won't they?
I'm not referring to the 9th championship (we know that's just a matter of time), but to that sensation of hand wringing over the super talented freshmen. What're they gonna do? Stay or go? (To be honest, I'm still rubbing my eyes that we had that much talent...on one team...and they played cohesively. Wall & Co. from '10 were talented, but...I digress.)
Don't they love us? Didn't we nurture them, cheer them on in the meanest confines- Memorial Gym (thanks a lot, Digger Phelps)- or even the ever exalted (but mind you, it's smaller than Rupp Arena) Madison Square Garden? Could they really come to leave us after just one year? Don't they value education? Don't they care about US? Could they seriously consider wearing something other than the hallowed "Kentucky" across their chests?
I've come to weigh in on this philosophical conundrum. And as much as I'm going to choke on the words about to be written: Go! Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb, Teague, and Jones. Go and seek your fortunes else where.
But what about their education? Newsflash, y'all. As an elementary teacher, I've taught in both wealthy schools and Title I schools. It doesn't matter which environment you're in. Whether you're dealing with a five year old or a fifth grader, if you ask them why they come to school you will get the same response, "So I can learn so I can get a good job and make a lot of money." Even at the tender age of five, these babies are focused on bringing in the dollars. Um, and let's be honest. That's why most people go to college-they want to earn a bigger paycheck. When's the last time you heard, "I just want a so-so job with mediocre pay, benefits, and retirement?"
They've played by the NBA rules. After the Kobes and LeBrons the NBA had to atleast look respectable in terms of asking its members to seek higher education. Enter the "19 and 1 Year 'o'Schooling" rule. Although the older I get the more I'm trying to figure out how much more mature and ready a 19 year old is, but that's not my business. If you could do what you loved- getting a hefty paycheck for it- you know you'd be doing the same. And you'd start as early as you could. So these kids have done what was asked of them (including going to class, interacting with fans, winning a championship) and they did it well. Pick a fight with the NBA-it's not these guys' fault.
What a Camelot year. I went to Coach Cal's women's clinic in the fall. Even then we all knew this was THE team. Despite that heartbreaking loss to Vandy and that, "Did that seriously just happen?" loss to IU, we are all well are aware this was our Camelot year. We knew two years ago there was too much vanity to win a championship, and last year we knew Knight was practically in graduate school before he set foot on UK's campus (and I can't comment on the Kanter deal-trust me), but this was the year that had both talent and work ethic to do what it would take. Plus, I don't want Davis and Teague in a sophomore slump.
All that being said (if you're still reading this far into the post, thanks) I would be thrilled if AD and MKG and the rest of the crew said they were staying. But I cannot imagine telling an adult (especially ones who have good people advising them-such as their FAMILIES) to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime.
So when they announce it, let's wish them the best and be sincere. They're members of our family and though we hate to see them go, we want the best for them. They have good things ahead.
Plus, we know what's just around the corner. Championship 9...is divine!