after a loooooooooooong drive home from indy, i've been stewing on this team's legacy and i think i found it: they will forever be the team that couldn't quite put it all together. think of how many times this season we found ourselves saying things like: "just wait till they play two good halves" or "just wait till everyone shows up on offense." well, we had one game like that in 36 - the arizona game. but we still couldn't put it all together, because we came out and folded in the next game. i think this team will forever go down as one that came far short of its potential, despite winning the big east regular season and tournament. i would trade both of those to be going to detroit right now, no question.
but still, this is the best season of uofl basketball i've ever witnessed (i was out of the country in 2005, and didn't see any games after mid-january or so), so i want to say thank you:
to Edgar: thanks for burying that shot against Kentucky and saving earl's ass, which alone should cement your place in cardinal history. i think you may have single-handedly saved the season with that one shot. can you imagine what the fan base would've been feeling if we'd lost that game, and entered BE play with 4 losses and the fan's so mad at earl they couldn't bear to see him on the court?
to Preston: thanks for an intensity unmatched by anyone i've ever seen, and for an out-of-nowhere shooting stroke that i'll dream about for the next 6 months, when pre-season basketball rumors start floating up from the stench of football.
to TJ: i don't think i've ever seen a player improve so much over the course of the season, and frankly, i can't wait to see how you improve in the offseason. your speed and talent are incredible.
to Samardo: yeah, you drive me crazy dribbling it in the low post and finishing soft when you should go strong, but i have no doubt that we'd have been a lot worse off without you. i'm counting on you and TJ to be super sophs.
to will scott: thanks for being the smartest player to ever wear a cardinal uniform. the half-court buzzer beater against oklahoma last year has been replaced by scott-to-swop as your legacy in cardinal history.
to kyle, jared, george, and reggie: you guys did your part this year, and next year we're going to rely on you a lot. work hard this summer.
to jerry: thanks for your energy, your sweet shooting, your increasingly-believable ball fake, and your towel waving. we need you to be our leader next year, and i'm hoping to see you take the reins from t-will.
to andre: thanks for working as hard as any player i've ever seen. your defense is incredible, but every game this year i thought to myself "i can't believe how much his shot has improved."
to earl: thanks for being the most consistent player on an inconsistent team. your turnovers are excruciating, but your impossible shots and incredible rebounds more than make up for it. you'll be missed (are you sure you don't want to stay one more year?)
to t-will: i hate that your last game was a reversion to the t-will we all loved/hated of years past, but that (hopefully) won't erase the season you had. thanks for being our leader, for singlehandedly saving us from siena, and for being an absolute joy to watch. thanks for your dunks, your incredible passes, and your antics. you'll be sorely missed.
no one can take away this year's accomplishments:
- beat UK
- beat the #1 team in the country
- big east regular season champs
- big east tournament champs
- first #1 ranking ever
- #1 overall seed in the tournament
- 30 wins
- elite eight
yeah, we're all sad that we didn't live up to potential, but look at the total season and it's hard not to smile. i'm sure that after the pain of this loss wears away - and it always does (even the UNC loss last year, which, i'm disgusted to say, was closer than this one, wore off) - 08-09 will live on fondly in my memory for many years to come.
cardinal basketball - we will miss you for the next 7 months. but we will wait patiently, as we do every year. GO CARDS!