April 2, 2014

Direct Kick: Patience was all that was needed with this young group of Wildcats

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — In today’s society, it’s not what have you done for me lately, it’s what have you done for me now.

Prime example: The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team.

The preseason No. 1 team in the nation underachieved all through the regular season, to the point where many in the Big Blue Nation were ready to write them off while others wondered if this would be John Calipari’s last season at the helm of the Wildcats.

Then came “the tweak.”

Whatever Calipari and his staff did turned the Wildcats into the team many were predicting would go 40-0 this season. Their newfound swagger began to show itself during the SEC Tournament, where had it not been for an unfortunate slip in the finals against Florida Kentucky might have been crowned champion.

When the seeding for the NCAA Tournament was revealed, Kentucky ended up a No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region with the likes of Duke, Louisville, Michigan, Tennessee and Wichita State. Things weren’t looking that great for the Wildcats.

Then Duke was upset in the first round, which was one obstacle out of the way. Kentucky beat Kansas State, setting up a showdown with the unbeaten Shockers of Wichita State. The Wildcats downed the Shockers in a thriller, 78-76, and suddenly those who were questioning the heart of the young Wildcat team not two weeks earlier were back on the bandwagon.

Then came the showdown with in-state rival and No. 4 seed Louisville, and once again the Wildcats prevailed, 74-69, though the win came at a price, as Willie Cauley-Stein injured his ankle and would not be available for the region final against No. 2 seed Michigan.

But guess what? The Wildcats didn’t need Cauley-Stein, disposing of the Wolverines, 75-72, and this team that many predicted would be a bust in the tournament now finds itself in the Final Four and a date with Wisconsin this Saturday, the No. 2 seed out of the West. By far UK had the toughest road of any of the final four teams left. Heck, it might have been in the history of the tournament.

What can we learn from this run?

As Guns ’n Roses sang, “Patience.”

We all knew going in that Kentucky would be a young team, just like every other team Calipari has had at UK. Freshmen need time to grow. It’s just that they didn’t mature quickly enough for the fan base.

I remember reading posts on Facebook from Big Blue Fans who were moaning about the one and done players that Cal recruits every year. Many of these fans had given up on this team and were already talking about next year.

But guess what? Now those same fans are singing nothing but praises for the freshmen and Cal. Funny how winning does that. It’s just taken a little longer than today’s fans are used to.

Can UK win the national championship? At this point I wouldn’t bet against them. But even if they don’t win, they have given us a thrilling three weeks.

One final point: Fans, don’t burn couches and celebrate like crazy just for advancing to the Elite Eight or the Final Four. You’re the University of Kentucky. Only celebrate like that after winning the national title.

Text Only
  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: An almost completely true fish tale

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: Did Lana cross the line with her remark?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: All Star Game less important than Wiffle Ball

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: A very eventful week in sports

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The shining kingdom

    The drop in gas prices locally is a welcome sight for most residents in the area with gas falling under $3.60 per gallon.

    July 16, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks, Sentinel-Echo

    In the July 4 edition of the Sentinel-Echo, (last page, section 1), the entire page was given to quotes of references to God, the Declaration of Independence, and our constitution by our founding fathers, former presidents, Supreme Court judges, etc. 

    July 14, 2014

  • Zamperini's story was inspiring

    I had never heard the names of Louis Zamperini and Russel Allen Phillips until my pastor gave me a book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” a few years ago.

    July 11, 2014

  • The tales of Dr. Robert E. Pennington

    When Dr. H. V. Pennington began to practice medicine in Laurel County times were hard and medical methods were primitive, compared to today. 

    July 11, 2014

  • Where did that red truck go?

     We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a  big, red, late- model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown.  It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun  

    July 7, 2014

  • A change for Pace

    Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

    July 7, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
     View Results