By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer
Waiting. No one enjoys it. It’s a part of life but not the pleasant part. No one wants to sit for 15 minutes in the drive through line of a fast food restaurant waiting for their food. Or wait a hour at the doctor’s office to complete an appointment. Or wait weeks for that summer vacation that seems like it will be never get here.
That’s where UK Basketball and Football fans find themselves right now. Waiting. For basketball fans it is waiting on the NBA Combine. Which players will get rave reviews from the NBA scouts and executives and which ones will be told to try again next year? Which players will ultimately return for the 2018 season and which ones will head off to a career in the NBA?
Beyond that fans are waiting to see if John Calipari will add any more players to next year’s roster. And to see if any of the 2019 commitments reclassify to 2018. Then of course ultimately fans are waiting for August. A few extra exhibition games in the Bahamas to find out what the roster really looks like. Or has John Calipari changed the offense to be more guard oriented? Can this new crop of players shoot the ball as advertised? Who will step up to be the defensive stopper? How much have the returning players improved over the summer break. And the waiting continues.
For Football fans it’s a different kind of waiting. Most Football fans are waiting to see if any other players choose to transfer out. Or if any new players choose to transfer in. And of course they are waiting to see who takes the leadership role in the quarterback battle during the summer? Who can motivate the wide receivers to get out and work on route running and timing in preparation for the 2018 campaign. Or who hits the weight room on the offensive and defensively line to become a standout player for next season? And of course waiting to see if in the Fall the running backs look like the running backs we saw in the Spring Game. And last but not least waiting to see if any of the players didn’t get it done in the classroom and now need to put in extra academic work to catch up.
Summer time in the Bluegrass is always a season of waiting. Waiting for Football to start up again when SEC foes come to town for tailgating on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Waiting for UK Basketball to pack Rupp Arena for one of the many must-see games on the Wildcat’s schedule.
But most of all it’s a time to think back on players we have come to know and love – that have moved on from UK to bigger and better things. It’s remembering players like Stephen Johnson running on one leg to get a first down when it was most needed. Or a guy like Courtney Love making a big stop at just the right time. Or seeing Kevin Knox take the ball down the baseline and pull up for a soft jump shot that only hits the bottom of the net. It’s remembering Shai Gilgeous-Alexander taking the ball down the lane – handling it like a yoyo – as he crosses over his defender and lays it in off the glass.
As UK fans wait for so many different possibilities to occur next year, remember the good times from years past. It helps to make the waiting go a little bit faster.