Ira's Weekly Column
By - Ira D. Combs
Director / Syndicated Columnist
Tri State Sports Media & Promotions Service Inc.
Slide Continues Cats Bigger Mystery Than Ever
(Senior Night Vs. Alabama Tues. at 9:00 ESPN and Final Regular Season Game at Florida Saturday On CBS at Noon)
Before or after the Florida game two weeks ago . Does everybody realize this UK team , this pre season # 1 ranked UK team is just one measly Julius Randle tip in away from being on a (4) game losing streak with (3) of them coming in Rupp Arena .
Iím stunned folks , itís 2:00 a.m. sunday morning and Iím literally stunned , at a loss for words stunned , canít sleep stunned .
But with the assistance of a minor case of sleep apnea here goes anyway .
Cal said it , most but not all of us media pundits said it , all of Big Blue Nation thought it but few said it . Actually , most of Big Blue Nation really thought this was a 40 Ė 0 or 38 Ė 2 team at worse similar to the 2012 NCAA champs .
What everybody with a rational thinking cranium did think was that this team would improve thru trial and error over the first (4) months of the season and be prepared to make a deep serious run at another NCAA championship .
All the above people mentioned also thought deep down inside this team would have developed some type of consistency in all phases of the game ( shooting both FT / FG , defense both inside and on the perimeter , individual roles in sync , team chemistry solid , and leadership responsibilities fully defined ) .
As we enter the first week of March and the last week of the regular season , I ask you , has any of the above questions been answered ?
Absolutely not .
Now , where does the fault lay or is a 21 Ė 8 team stockpiled with 18 and 19 year olds realistically ÖÖÖ. a real serious problem .
If this team is a definite underachieving team who or what is the problem , is it : (A) Coach Calís practice and in game tacticís , (B) to much player individualism , (C) unrealistic pre conference scheduling (for a freshman laden team) , (D) the impact of intangibles a player nor coach can control ( poor officiating that very much impacts wins and losses ) , (E) all of the above or (F) none of the above .
Once again in my humble opinion , I think it lays to a small degree with (E) all of the above . But to a much bigger degree to the continued mystical and to me unbearable impact that the modern day recruiting service gurus have on the american college basketball fan and especially on the nationwide mediaís train of thought on college hoops .
Translated , just because these so called recruiting services say a player is the best player in his class and / or at his position doesnít mean itís the gospel truth , as a matter of fact itís simply a personal opinion based solely on how they witnessed these particular UK recruits as high school players compete against other high school players .
The fly in the ointment here is they donít play against those type players once they step foot onto the Rupp Arena floor as freshman . Also , just because they have Kentucky written across their jersey doesnít mean they are any more special than another supposed high profile recruit at another school .
Let me let you in on another inside trade secret having been personally involved in recent years in the recruiting service business on the regional level . Many of the national level recruiting services because they are so competitive in recent years for the internet dollar bill wait an extra day or sometimes weeks to see how their competition is rating certain high profile players before they publish their thoughts on the same player .
Why you ask ?
Because they donít want to be wrong in the evaluation process so they jump on board with their competition . Then , they all sink or swim together in the evaluation process on the same player .
What looks bad at the end of the day or the end of a college playerís career on his accomplishments is the college coach takes the chance and decides who he will extend the scholarship offer to then he alone either reaps the dividends on the court for the one and done type player or fights his way thru ever how many college years he can get of implementing the playerís talents whatever impact they may be in hopefully a positive way or as Coach Cal is starting to learn ÖÖÖÖÖ. answers to his own critics for bringing certain kids into the program .
Not every team is going to have the ingredients the 2012 team did . Not every recruit is going to have the talent and impact that John Wall , DeMarcus Cousins , Brandon Knight , Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did for their respective teams .
But thatís what Cal is paid a tad over $4.5 million a year for and crazy as it may sound to some , especially this week , many college basketball insiders think thatís a bargain for UK
Whatever the reason is for the collapse or even if there is going to be a resurrection of some sort on the horizon . You have to ask the question , Did we just experience the most disappointing (2) weeks of Kentucky basketball in the last 25 years , definitely at least in the Calipari era .
Did we , or heaven forbid is it over ?
UK Baseball and Softball Best Sports Ticket In Commonwealth
Most sports fans in Kentucky know how to deal with the weather elements when they attend outdoor sporting events and as we all know the winter weather annually does not break into true spring weather on a consistent basis until early if not at least mid April .
With that being said I suggest those folks living within close proximity of Lexington check into UK baseball and womenís softball season ticketís ASAP because they are both the best bang for your buck in the Commonwealth as far as watching as a spectator any high school , college , or professional level competition .
UK baseball season tickets are only $55.00 on field level directly behind home plate as well as behind 1st and 3rd base . The upper deck level behind 1st and 3rd base are only $35.00 for a season ticket . UK womenís softball season tickets in all sections of their new state of the art facility are $35.00 . You can go online to www.ukathletics.com or call 1 Ė 800 Ė 928 Ė 2287 if your interested and you can still purchase season or individual game ticketís . Each team is just a few days into their spring season with over (25) home games left on each respective schedule .
The skill level of the playerís in these two sports are just a tad below the professional level and very entertaining . The effort given by the players , well , letís just say Iíve never witnessed a college baseball or softball game that every participant on the field didnít give it that old college effort both physically and emotionally .