Adjusting to the one-and-done life

Mrs. Tyler Thompsonover 9 years


Admit it, sometime during the last few days, you let yourself believe those rumors that one or more of the five underclassmen who called today's press conference is coming back, even if for a second. I know I did. I latched on to one of those little weeds of hope that grow in message boards and comments sections. All those "unnamed sources" fanned your fantasies of a sophomore Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or a junior Doron Lamb. Heck, even in the deepest, darkest corners of your mind, you might have seen Anthony Davis walking across the stage in a cap and ridiculously long gown to accept his diploma. Time to come back to reality, folks. With their stocks boosted from a Championship run, these boys have more likely than not (like 99.9% likely) worn the blue and white for the last time. And you know what? That's more than fair. In fact, it's pretty darn logical. The hardest part about accepting that for me? Letting go of all of the attachments I've made to these kids in their short time at Kentucky. We embraced Anthony Davis, that beautiful freak of nature, right down to his big long brow. We turned something that most ridiculed him for into a trademark, proudly taping replicas to our foreheads and plastering odes to it on t-shirts. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Don't get me started. He's a player molded for the college game, with a tough team-first attitude and Jordan-esque ability to hoist a team on his shoulders as if it were second nature. Plus, that could light up Rupp Arena. We welcomed Marquis Teague onto campus with visions of Rose, Wall, and Knight dancing in our heads. We watched him find his way and according to his coach, make this team unstoppable. Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones defied expectations and returned to Lexington with unfinished business, putting complete faith in their coach and freshmen teammates to help them grab that brass ring they came so close to last season. No one likes the "one and done" rule, not even Cal, who the media loves to point out profits from it the most. They also love to spin these kids as selfish for choosing to leave college early to enter the draft. Since when did achieving your dream become selfish? Some members of the media seem to be so wrapped up in their Bobby Knight sweater sleeves that they can't accept that the problem here is not the players or the coaches, it's the rule itself. Until it's fixed, these goodbyes become as ritual as the banner ceremonies in Rupp Arena. Whichever way it goes, tonight's press conference should be a celebration. This team did something unprecedented: won with young talent. So many said it couldn't be done, that experience wins championships, that the Izzo way would always eclipse the Calipari way. That Cal and his dirty NBA ways were corrupting the pure (ha!) pool of collegiate athletics. Yet, these kids showed that with hard work, humility, and camaraderie, you can achieve anything. Better yet, you can set the standard. After all they've given us, maybe we're the ones being selfish.

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