Kentucky Fan Encounter...

  • Well, working at a Wichita hospital this week, I happened to overhear a 50-something respiratory tech mention to someone how he was a “big Kentucky fan”, and doubting he was talking college ftball, I assumed basketball. So a couple of hours later, I saw him again, and asked him about it, and sure enough he is a dyed-in-the-wool BigBlue KY fan. He has liked them since Pitino was there. This guy is a Wichitan, a Kansan, and did not attend KY, nor ever live there.

    He saw me with the long sleeve royal blue T-shirt under my scrub-top, and asked if I was a KY fan, as he saw a license plate with “UK” logo out in the parking lot. I told him I went to KU for professional school, so he asked me what I thought about “KU and Lawrence”. Since I did not attend undergrad in Lawrence, I had to tell him that I wasn’t sure what he meant…so he tells me the usual Wichita line about “snob hill”, etc. That’s all par for the course around Wichita, and since I grew up in Wichita, I’ve heard that phrase since the 80’s. I did tell him that the KU campus is beautiful in Lawrence, and that originally before I chose my career field, I was either going to go to WichitaSt or KU for aerospace engr, and likely would have picked WSU due to Wichita “air capital” industry/obvious connections, but who knows now…I told him I cannot truthfully have any “feel” for snobbiness or not at KU main campus.

    Now, what he said that is kubuckets-discussion-worthy is that he says he “lost all respect for Bill Self after he saw 2 different KU players do jock punches, and Self just watched the monitor, and didn’t bench the players! (in each separate case)”

    So, I assumed the first instance was Elijah’s “stiff-fisted screen” on Mitch McGary in the E8. He said “yes”. Play was stopped, EJ got a Flagrant1 by the refs. I told him Self is a gamesman in many ways: he isn’t going to sit his lead guard, especially that season when we didn’t have a 2nd lead guard ready. In a March Madness game, Self isn’t going to cut his own hand off like that. ALSO, I asked what he thought of Tom Izzo (he respects him), so I mentioned that everybody considers Big10 ball to be bruiser-ball, and he agreed, saying that those Big10 refs allow such play. I reminded him that Self coached against Izzo in the Big10 for 3 yrs at Illinois, so knows firsthand the “toughness” and “not soft” a team needs to be to play a Big10 game. I told him Mitch McGary’s reaction was mostly “theatrical”, as I cannot imagine a Big10 bigman not wearing a cup. Additionally, I told him Self likely told his team pregame “what kind of toughness” Big10 teams play with, and KU had been beat 3 times straight by Izzo prior to our 4th mtg, which KU won last year in the Champions Classic. Finally, I told him, as KU fans we had never seen Elijah Johnson get physical like that in his entire 4yrs at KU. Personally, my take on the whole incident is EJ took Self’s pregame talk about “toughness”, and tried to do something very similar to 180lb Kevin Young’s “stiff screen” on Marcus Smart, that put Smart on his ass, and he really was a non-factor the rest of that ku-osu game. I truly think that was the plan. Self may even have said, set some stiff screens, even if you foul once, just to set the tone/make em think. I see that as within the realm of “Bill Self”, and personally, I love that toughness. Maybe I’m not condoning EJ’s execution of that concept, but I don’t want us to be shrinking violets, especially to a Big10 team. I loved when we out-toughed UNC in the 08 F4. That is classic Self against classic Roy. Loved Roy at KU, but give me Self anyday–and maybe, for me the most guttural reason is that Self’s philosophies jibe totally with my own basketball beliefs and playstyle. And he delivered a NC by his methods.

    The second example my new KY friend gave was in the NC game, when Thomas Robinson “absolutely wound up and gave a roundhouse uppercut to a guy’s crotch” in the '12 NC game vs. KY. Honestly, folks, I don’t remember that play! I don’t recall any discussion about it, the refs evidently didn’t call anything. He states that there was an immediate timeout, and Self was looking up at the monitor replay, but “didn’t yank Thomas Robinson”. Man, as much as we have discussed EJ, and the Marcus Morris, does anyone remember such an act of violence from Thomas Robinson??? I recall as a soph, when he got an elbow in the throat at the bottom of a dogpile (by that ponytail 6’6 Gutierrez punk of California), and simply got up and walked away with both hands on top of his head. I reminded this guy of that self-control, and that I just did not recall any visual, nor any fan discussion about TRob’s supposed act. All I recall about that game is KU’s cold 1st half shooting, about 2-3 missed FTs more than should have been, and 3 missed point-blank dunks. And we closed to within 5pts…(sigh…)

    So, my question to my fellow 'Hawks is this: does Self deserve “loss of respect” for this? What does everyone recall about these events. He also said Simien stabbed someone twice and got kicked out halfway through his Sr. year…??? Of course, I’d never heard anything about that. We all know about Giddens, and my theory is Self was tougher with fellow Okie Giddens, and simply used him as a convenient “example” to establish his coaching authority over what was a bunch of RoysBoys, perhaps a bit at Giddens expense. The accounts by Self and by Giddens even 8-9 yrs after the fact still widely differ, and alarmingly so…

    Maybe this is just the sort of talk that opposing fans tell amongst themselves…? But I definitely did NOT like this guy’s perceptions of KU and of our basketball program and of Bill Self. He also said the same of Coach K, after that 30-for-30 program on Laettner, and intentionally stepping on the downed player, with no foul called and “no action by Krzyzewski, lost all respect for him”. He also said “KU asst coaches were taking exams for players, but NCAA only made them attend a class…”.

    Thoughts? I think its misinterpretations mixed in with opposing fan load-of-crap…

  • A guy with a closed mind is how I interpret him. He’s right and nothing anyone else says will change him. As if Kentucky has all golden boys? Yeah right. Each to their own. I for one won’t worry one bit about his “perceptions.” Notice I didn’t even mention their coach - who has had titles taken away?

    Now something that is really really important: Anybody know if ESPN3 is going to broadcast LateNight?

  • @ralster

    If this is the case, he must surely have conveniently looked the other way for some of the Shockers play. I’m not slamming the Shocks… they play tough, gritty basketball… but they’ve never been called for a flagrant? And the players that were given a flagrant, did Marsha kick them off the team?! Wow… he should have… in order to keep the respect of this guy. Gheez… what a joke! Oh wait… does he disrespect Marsha, too? But respects Cal?!

    I think I wouldn’t talk basketball with this guy, I’d talk life. Tell him to “grow a pair” and give you a call when he does. Perhaps you can then go out for a beer some night and talk real basketball. But not until he realizes that life comes with a few cheap shots to the nuts, and you don’t want to go to a bar with a guy who thinks the bartender will call “foul” while he lays there in a pathetic victim role while you get teamed up on because he can’t hold his own.

    Sounds like a mama’s boy. I bet she called “foul” and saved him from growing up.

  • @ralster I think you just experienced the IQ of a Kentucky fan!

  • @ralster

    Simien was a Consensus 1st team All-American, Big 12 Player of the Year and the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner recognizing him as the nation’s top senior men’s basketball player…all of this in his senior year. Hard to get all these awards if you have been kicked out from the team half way though the season for stabbing someone…really laughable.

    Giddens left KU after his sophomore year under a mutual agreement …and he he did not do any stabbing as much as he was at the receiving end of one.

    TRob was a physical player but not a dirty one and I do not recall anything like that happening in the finals. Obviously your co-worker subscribes to the theory that you don’t get facts get in the way of a good…make that a poor story. 🙂

  • @RockChalkinTexas Last 2 years, the Late Night has been televised live on KS ch.22 for those who have Cox cable (I am in the Wichita broadcast area/cable service area). I am not sure about in Texas. I, personally love Late Night, and the anticipation it brings…but the event has been whittled away to limited seating, and many sections roped off for corporate sponsors, etc, many of whom never showed up, leaving several dozen first-10-row seats empty the whole night. As the comedian says: There’s yer sign…" (when they also turned away several thousand fans…picking the corporate clients over the family fans). If the Univ of KS needs money so bad, just sell tickets to the event, and price them based on seating desireability…simple. If we are schmoozing some corporate partner, I thought you give him (& his VP & wives) a ticket/inivite, not 30 of his sales and offc cubicle staff also?

    I’ll try to watch the 20min of men (& women’s) scrimmage if I can, otherwise I’ll wait to judge the teams in their actual preseason live action–> what’s better than an exhibition actual game? You know Self will play just about everybody that is able. He’s got a lot of combinations to judge. WUG/Korea helped, but redshirt decisions have to be made.

  • @ralster

    I made my peace with XTReme Muscle ball after the first season of Self Ball. I oppose XTReme Muscle, but I believe in playing by the rules being called. I am satisfied that Self is the lepper with the most fingers in the last ten years of the longest reign of butcher ball I can recall in college hoops.

    I don’t frankly care what a guy from a school playing 10 OADs thinks.

  • @ralster

    The first question to ask a Kentucky fan is “where did Adolph Rupp go to college?”

    Seriously I haven’t had one person ever know the correct answer.

  • When I first saw the title of this article, I was SURE that the encounter happened at Wal-Mart - or a drive through liquor store.

  • @ralster

    As a UW supporter I would remind him of the Kentucky’s big cheap shot on Josh Gasser in the semifinals last year.

  • I did indeed remind our Wichituckian fan about Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, & “shared DNA”, etc.

    The cheap shot by KY on Wisc’s Gasser is a fact, as is Joey Dorsey of Memphis/Calipari trying to intimidate frosh Cole Aldrich. The NICEST thing that happened to Dorsey in that game was: 1) getting dunked on & teabagged by Shady Arthur, and 2) fouling out late in regulation, trying to set a running screen on Chalmers out on the left wing that wasnt even close. Thus **Mr.**Dorsey was MIA for OT. Oh, lets add fact 3): Russell Robinson jumped completely over Dorsey in yet-another low moment for Dorsey in that game.

    My point is I dont think Cal has changed his spots since Memphis days. I actually think he has the luxury (for him) of running a cleaner program from recruiting standpoint, because of his overall successes.

    I guess the most peculiar thing about Wichi-tucky is that he was very quick to say he wasnt the biggest Calipari fan–> to which I unloaded my current curveball belief that “actually Cal HAS proved his system. Eventhough its life on the knife-edge, it works for him. And I truly do like Cal’s funny, candid press conferences in a Frank Martin kind of way”. I actually dont mind Calipari. Of course, I’d pick Self over Cal, as I dont like the OADs in college ball (let the top10 go pro like LBJ/Kobe).

    I told Wichi-tucky that many KY fans “miss rooting for their guys for multiple yrs”, he agreed. The feel “used”.

    I took the higher road & didnt bring up UMass & Memph vacated wins, as it seemed to clearly be about KY more than about Cal. I also said its “great to see a fellow royalty program back in the top 10 regularly”. I called Cal a worthy competitor.

    If he’s truly a KY/blue-blood fan–> then there’s zero reason to whine & bitch like a WSU or KSU fan. He needa worry bout stacked LSU more than he does KU.

    KU beats KY in AFH this January, for multiple reasons, chiefly because THIS is Self’s most veteran roster since the E8 loss to Michigan. And we know which Self teams have been his most dangerous: tough+experienced. Now if some of the soph/jr/sr’s happen to be MickeyDs or top30 guys, thats just icing on the cake, as those guys are primed to be PTPers on big stages (think Rush, Chalmers, RussRob, Sherron, Arthur, TRob, Cole, Ellis, Wayne, Svi, Greene…). Has Cal been back to AFH since the 80’s?

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