Quick thoughts in the aftermath of the National Championship game

By: Kels Dayton

Q: How long will it take until this national championship is vacated by the NCAA?

AP Photo

Kels: Just kidding, ‘Cats fans. John Calipari did a great job recruiting and managing this group of freshmen, which has become the most remarkable one-and-done team in college basketball history. They did all of the things that naysayers criticized young teams for not doing in the past. They defended, they played unselfishly on the offensive end, and they completely bought in to what their coaching staff was telling them. I don’t know how Calipari gets all of these five-star blue chip guys to commit to him no matter where he is, but he has sure figured out how to manage them and guide them along as basketball players once he gets them on campus.

Q:  Larry Brown said the team that drafts Anthony Davis will win 50 games next year. He couldn’t possibly be that good right away, could he?

Kels: He’s going to be pretty good, but we all need to calm down just a little bit. Davis hasn’t filled out yet–he might not have even stopped growing–and he’s not going to play the center position in the NBA. He’ll likely be a 3 or 4, and because he was only 6-2 just two years ago, he has the guard skills and shooting ability that are going to make him a unique player in the league. There’s no question that Davis is going to be a shotblocking force and a terrific defender at the next level, but it is going to take some time before he’s able to go body-to-body with the big boys in the NBA down low.

Q: What went wrong for Kansas in the title game?

Kels: Well…two turnovers by Elijah Johnson near the end, two missed dunks, some missed free throws, missed opportunities to turn Kentucky over, and the inability of Tyshawn Taylor to contain Marquis Teague really killed the Jayhawks. And of course, Anthony Davis was spectacular. Kentucky was too talented in every aspect of the game for Kansas, and they made the plays down the stretch necessary to win a national championship. Add in the fact that UK shot lights out from the field, and that was all she wrote for the Jayhawks.

Q: How does this championship game loss feel as a Kansas fan?

It hurts now, but Thomas Robinson and the Jayhawks will eventually come to realize just how special this run was. (Shane Kayser/Kansas City Star)

Kels:  It’s always tough when your season ends. But it’s especially painful when your team loses in the national championship game. Being that close and then coming up short stings even worse than not getting there at all, although you can’t help but feel pride in the way your team competed.

This Kansas run was unlike any other I’ve experienced as a Jayhawk fan because, even though they were a No. 2 seed, I never imagined that they could reach the national championship game this season. Think about the fact that the Jayhawks lost four starters from last season’s team; that Thomas Robinson had started only three games in his career coming into this season, and that the ‘Hawks roster was filled with a bunch of role-players like Jeff Withey and Travis Releford.

This was supposed to be a down year in Lawrence, but head coach Bill Self did a remarkable job–probably the best of his career –in turning this group into the national runner-up. I would compare Kansas to the 2000 Florida Gators, 2002 Indiana, or 2009 Michigan State. The run was awesome, but in the end we all knew that Kentucky was the better team. You can’t be too upset about losing to them, no matter how much you’d like to take a hedge trimmer to Anthony Davis’ unibrow and punch the smug Calipari in the gut.

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