As you know, this year marks the final year of UofL Basketball’s occupancy of Freedom Hall. During that time, we have seen many great games. Who will forget John Tong’s voice ringing through the Hall? Of those of us who are old enough, we still remember the only light in the arena being over the court (to highlight the game action). I will also bet that some of you remember seeing people lighting up cigarettes in the arena – DURING the games! I can’t forget being there when Milt Wagner his those freethrows to beat Memphis or the time a depleted UofL team came back to beat Tennesse – the list goes on.
To commemorate some of the best players and coaches who have been a part of this program, the University featured one of these legends on each home ticket this year. As a season ticket holder, it was a treat to get my ticket sheets before the season began. Oh the memories that the pictures of Pervis, Rodney, Wheat, Crum, Griffith, etc., brought back.
One alarming issue I must discuss is the lack of these guys showing up for the games. We know Griff and Crum will be there but – where has everybody else been? I know some of the guys have shown up. TWILL made quite a splash a couple of weeks ago.
While wondering why Pervis and some of the other guys didn’t show up, I looked at the bench. This quick look quickly defined what is going on here. Our bench looks more like a UK bench during the 90s. Ah yes, Willard, Massiello, McCarty and Pitino were all at UK. Ron Mercer has just been hired in some capacity – former Wildcat. In the recent past, Jurich has entertained Joe B. Hall, Ralph Beard and Rick Roby in his box for one of our home games. Now, I am not talking conspiracy, I just wonder what is happening here.
What’s wrong with trying to bring Kenny Payne, Milt or Jerry Eaves back? Jeff Hall is doing a great job coaching at a southern Kentucky high school. I am sure there are also many other former Cardinals who are coaching out there as well.
I am afraid the arrogance of the adminstration and staff is causing our Legends, yes OUR legends, to stay away. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen some of these guys come out on the court and wave to the crowd?
My question is, can anyone name someone associated with the program who had any ties to the “glory” days of the program? It is a shame that we don’t see any of the “old” guys around anymore. Other than seen LaBradford walking around the court after the game on Sunday, I can’t remember seeing any of the guys hanging out.
We need to remember our past. We owe it to the guys who made this program what it is. Think of that 1983 team that played Houston in the Final Four. That game is one of the greatest games ever played. Who could forget the game we won before it? (Dreamgame for you youngsters) What about the 1980 team? How about the 1972 and 1975 teams? What about 1982 and 1986?
This is college ba$ketball. Unfortunately, money is what causes us to look forward. There are no paychecks being generated by the 70s or 80s teams now. In our constant struggle to make it to Final Fours or win Championships, I believe we have lost sight of what helped build the program to where it is now. It would be nice to see more of the Legends at Freedom hall in the remaining games but I am not counting on it.