-2011 Sam Henson
With another draft night done, and some more Kentucky Wildcats entering the NBA, I have really become confused. As a Kentucky Wildcat fan , my problem is a really good one to have. Who should I pull for in the NBA? The former CATS representing so many different teams, I am having a very hard time deciding on what jersey to buy this year, and who I want to “really” root for next season.
I’ll start with the Utah Jazz, who just picked up the most mysterious and loved Kentucky Wildcat to never play at Rupp Arena. Enes Kanter will always be a legend at UK , even though he didn’t play a single UK game. What makes it harder was his speech moments after he got drafted. He said that he dedicated the evening to all the Kentucky fans who supported him all year long. If I do pick another team to cheer for, it will be very hard to root against Enes Kanter when Utah plays them.
Next up is the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons are packing not 1 but 2 former beloved Wildcats. Tayshaun Prince has been with Detroit for awhile now. Tayshaun became an iconic Wildcat during his NCAA performances and going on to win a NBA championship. Now, you have Brandon Knight playing alongside him. Brandon Knight became one of our greatest clutch performers during last years final four run. Arguably, he was the leader of the 2010-2011 Kentucky Wildcats. Can I really root for against two Wildcats if I don’t pick Detroit?
One of Kentucky’s all time most explosive and entertaining players to ever wear the Blue and White makes his home in the nation’s capital. John Wall has become the Washington Wizards franchise player. Wall helped bring Kentucky back to the top of college basketball, along with others, from the brink of the NIT tourney a year before. He is the only Kentucky Wildcat to be drafted as the # 1 player in the NBA draft. Would I really hope Wall gets shut down if he plays the team I pick to cheer for?
Houston, we have a problem. Another double team appears in Houston, Texas. 2 of the most loved Wildcats of all time wind up on the same NBA team. Who would have thought this would happen. Chuck Hayes was the leader of our team during the Tubby years. He was a hard worker with excellent skills that I loved to watch. Patrick Patterson may be the single move like and admired UK player of all time. He came to UK and stuck with us through thick and thin. He could have left after the Gillespie debacle, but decided to show he bleed blue and stayed the course. There is no way I can cheer against these guys, right?
Is there a Kentucky player with more charisma than DeMarcus Cousins? “Boogie” became a fan favorite for many on a team that included Patrick Patterson and John Wall. Big Cuz was one of the most dominant big men to play at UK in recent history. Sure he had a few off the court issue, but nothing major. I think it showed he had heart. I don’t know if I could ever cheer at DeMarcus or a team he is on.
One of the most storied franchises in NBA history calls it home in Boston. The Boston Celtics have had a long history with a huge connection in some way to Kentucky and its’ fans. Rick Pitino left UK to become the Head Coach of the Celtics after the 1996 National Championship. Somehow, he took several players to Boston with him. Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, and Antoine Walker all wore the Celtic green. Fast forward to today, and the PG for the Big 4 is non other that Kentucky’s own Rajon Rondo. Rondo has proved himself to be one of the best and purest point guards in the league. Should I cheer against Rondo and the Celtic history when my team plays them at home? How can I?
Have I left anyone out? You bet I have. You have Eric Bledsoe and the LA Clippers. How about Jamal M’glore and the Miami Heat? We were all witness for Jodie Meek’s 54 against the Vols. Now, he’s draining three’s in Philly. Keith Bogans is playing the Chi-Town, playing along side last years league MVP. Kelenna Azubuike plays with Melo and Chauncy in Madison Square Garden for the Knicks. Plus, as of the writing Liggins and Harrellson have not been drafted yet, but that could and hopefully will change in the next couple of hours. That will add two more teams to the list.
So, as you have ran down the list that I have just created, you can see the dilemma that I am in. I’m not alone either as I’m certain that many other true blue UK fans will have a hard time deciding on who to pull for during the upcoming NBA season. The decision isn’t going to get any better any time soon either. With the talent that John Calipari has brought in for the upcoming season, I’m sure next year’s draft will add yet more Wildcats to the NBA. Again, truly , this is a great problem to have.