Sadly, we can't keep living last week over and over again as we have been forced to move on, as is the natural progression of life. We have officially reached 8 AC. And yes, that refers to days, After Championship. Tomorrow, I fear, will be 9 AC. We're just going to keep getting further and further away from one of the greatest nights this earth hath ever known. But alas, all is not lost. As you may have heard, Lew and Bob were able to secure Bill from the "tempting" lure that is Stillwater, and thus preserve their livelihood. The recruits are looking strong for this year and even better the next. And by all technicalities, the Kansas loyal got their first look at the defending Orange Bowl Champions last night.
- My initial, off the cuff reaction is to call this the best Kansas team in history. On paper, there is no argument. They had the most overall wins. They won the conference. They won the conference tournament. And they won the national championship, joining only '97 Arizona (Blurg!) as the only teams to defeat two #1 seeds in the Final Four. Per the eye test, there are probably 3-5 teams worth debating. '86, '97, & '02 come to mind, immediately. More on this sometime in the relatively near future.
- Thank you, Bill Self. As I stated not too long ago, I really wasn't worried about him leaving, but it's still nice to know for sure. If he had really wanted to leave and there was a huge financial disparity that he couldn't have turned down, I would have given him my all-important "blessing." Fortunately, that was not the case and Kansas basketball looks to be in impeccable shape.
- Turning our attention to Memorial Stadium, the football team was in uniform last night for the first time since their Orange Bowl victory. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as my commute from Chicago seemed a bit strenuous for a scrimmage. According to various reports, I didn't miss a whole lot. This is discouraging, but not all that surprising. Something especially important to remember is that there are quite a few new parts on offense, and one of the biggest parts, Jacques Crawford was only able to watch from the stands as he will not move to Lawrence until June 1. It will be interesting to see how this team is seen heading into the pre-season. I have no idea if it will be higher or lower, but my general feeeling is that somewhere in between 15-20 seems about right for now. Also, here's an interesting piece from Yahoo! sports.
- In case you were curious, I was forwarded some interesting thoughts from GoPowercat.com editor Tim Fitzgerald. I can't link to it, because apparently there are subscription websites for fans of the Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science. But here are some delightful passages…
"As hard as a KU national championship is to stomach for many Wildcats, there is good news. K-State has been measured against the best, and it can be argued that the program under Frank Martin is not far behind."
Is there even a parallel for this level of stupidity? I submit that there is not. It can be argued that the housing market is in great shape. It can be argued that President Bush has done an incredible job. It can be argued that oil is cheap. It was once argued (and even believed) that the earth was flat. So I guess by that logic, it can also be argued that a program just got its first tournament win in 20 years, is currently experiencing a 44 year Final Four drought and is likely losing half its offense is "not far behind" national champion status.
"If Martin and his coaches continue supplying talent and the program matures under his guidance, it may soon be obvious to many that K-State basketball is not far away from the greatness it once enjoyed."
I assume by "supply talent" he is referring to Dalonte 300K's ability to stalk young, talented, aspiring athletes until they trust him enough to follow him to the depths of a place like Manhattan. I mean, lest we forget, Beasley was originally going to…Charlotte. Because, nice player as he is, a team full of Jacob Pullen's isn't going anywhere near a championship, Big 12 or otherwise. Throw a few more Darren Kent's into that mix and Frankie could be looking at unemployment sooner rather than later. Then again, he did just say "the greatest it once enjoyed," so apparently even Tim Fitz realizes a national championship will never be coming to Manhattan. I won't even bother to try and figure out how their coach's surname and the word mature made it into the same sentence, because honestly I have no idea how it happened.
And just for good measure, here is another example of why the Scripps Howard Foundation awarded Mr. Whitlock the National Journalism Award for commentary. I'm not as sure that he would have turned Georgetown or UCLA (minus Kevin Love) into national champions, but the rest is pretty accurate.
In light of Beasley and Bill Walker deciding to try their chances at the next level, it seems fitting to also give our take on Kansas' possible early departures. More on this once all are declared.
Brandon Rush: Gone. Sure it would be wonderful if he came back to defend the title, but it just isn't happening and I don't blame him in the least bit. In addition to his age, he has seen first hand how tough it is to come back from a bad injury and he should be a first round lock.
Darrell Arthur: Likely gone. I certainly don't see him coming back, but many analysts are making the argument that with how much deeper this class is than next year's; he could guarantee lottery status by returning. I'd still say he's going, but that's certainly a compelling argument and I wouldn't exactly hate it if that's how it panned out. (Especially if he could help Bill bring in J'Mison Morgan).
Mario Chalmers: Will test the waters, but return. If he only has one year of eligibility remaining anyway and you can enter your name twice, why wouldn't he? Unless he really floored some scouts in San Antonio, I don't think he can get a 1st round guarantee this year. However, if he stays and benefits from more minutes, fewer scoring options and a lighter draft class, next year he could be really make a jump up.
As I said, more on this once announcements are made. Also, best of luck to the former Jayhawks hoping to be taken in the upcoming NFL draft. It seems Talib is still firmly entrenched in the first round, with Kiper having him at 10th to the Saints and McShay at 20th to Tampa Bay. I might as well take the time to also commend him on admitting that he smoked pot and failed a couple tests for it. I'm not entirely sure I've ever met a person who made it through high school, let alone college without enjoying some green so (just as I said last year when Calvin Johnson, etc. admitted use) it's fairly refreshing when these guys display some honesty.
Also, sorry for moving "One Shining Moment" down the page. But rest assured, it will be posted with some frequency as a loving reminder of April 7, 2008.