Let's pinpoint some perspective inside the mammoth arena. Few figured Calipari's Cats would get this far. Five first-round draft picks from last year's team. No Enes Kanter. Six conference losses, all on the road. A six-man rotation. A No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament's toughest region.
That the Cats lost in Houston on Saturday night was nowhere near the story that was the Cats making it to Houston in the first place. It took a last-second Brandon Knight shot to beat Princeton. It took a second-half turnaround to beat West Virginia. It took grit and steal to beat overall top seed Ohio State, and some late-game fortitude to hold off North Carolina.
The Cats made it back — back to the Final Four.[...]
Next year's will be a young team, too. But, oh my, the talent that will be invading campus once again. Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer, the veritable all-star who's-who.
Who knows if Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb will still be here, the more the better, but it doesn't really matter. Calipari proved this year he can mix and match.
Saturday inside Reliant Stadium, the precious present was disappointing. But the future looks fine.
When the memory fades of the ball hitting the back of the rim, it will be remembered that was the year that brought the Cats all the way back, back to the Final Four.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
John Clay looks at Kentucky's future.