March 23, 2015
The Day After
From the comments section of yesterday's Meltdown Post...
Not that the authors care about a sole reader, but this bitter attitude has really made me consider not continuing to read.
Here's what the readers I don't know and the anonymous posters need to understand about this blog: I write it for myself and for my friends. I don't have ads on here; I don't get paid to write Wahooze. If some passer-bys and other Hoofans find it compelling or find something worth reading, then great. I'm glad. But I do not care one iota if someone I don't know disagrees with my takes or wants to stop reading the blog. It's here for you if you want it. If not, adios.
Meanwhile, a friend of mine (who will remain nameless) posted an awesome, thoughtful response to my Meltdown, as follows...
I love the blog and I love Big K but I can't agree with this one. There is certainly a part of me that agrees with you and a huge part of me that is heartbroken. I hate it for the school, the program, the fans, the style of basketball, but even more I hate it for the players. These guys bust their butts and give it everything they have with countless hours in the gym working on their game while still trying to be a student, have a life, and deal with normal stress. They aren't super human and they have to play the game at near perfection and most of the time they come close.
I couldn't be more proud of the way they play, the way they carry themselves on and off the court and the way they represent my University. These guys weren't the elite players coming out of high school, they have worked together and sacrificed individual glory to play the best team basketball in the country. They went 30 and 4 this year. We lost to Duke by 6, Louisville by 1, UNC by 4 and Michigan State by 6. To have followed UVA sports for as long as we have, you are out of your mind if you aren't blown away by that. We weren't good this year, we were GREAT and we do it the right way. The NCAA tournament or ACC tournament isn't about who is the best or most consistent team for the year, it is about who gets hot at the right time. An off night (2-17 from 3 point range) to a team that matches up almost identical to us was a recipe for a loss. Nothing more, nothing less. We didn't get out coached, out hustled, or out classed. We had an off game, the ball literally didn't bounce our way, but it will. This team has been the best in the ACC for two years and with the high class leaders that we should have coming back and the pillars that the team is built on, I see no reason it won't compete again next year and for years to come.
Don't take this year for granted, it wasn't that long ago that we were lucky to make the NIT. Don't take the fun out of the ride, try to savor the beauty that we witnessed for much of this season and be excited about what Bennett and the players have done for the program. The kids give it their all every single game and they give me reason for hope.
Keep up the great work on the blog, don't let the sting of defeat wear on you too much. It is better to have love and to have lost than never to have loved at all.
Am I soft? Maybe but I'm a realist and as I can't let myself believe that 30 and 4, all the accolades (coach of the year, 6th man, all ACC, defensive players of the year, regular season champs) are for nothing. We are a legit basketball power house. The chips will fall in our favor.
Thank you, Anonymous Friend, it's important to keep this perspective.
I'm still bitter today, but it's starting to subside. I'm getting over it, slowly.
Belly-up in the Big Dance, it's difficult to digest after a season during which we spent extended amounts of time ranked #2 in the nation and touted as the top challenger to Kentucky.
On the bright side, VCU and Maryland have been unceremoniously dumped from the Tournament, and we get to share the sour misery of unmet postseason expectations with Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, and Iowa State.
Meanwhile, the knife twists around in my belly when I consider Michigan State vs. Oklahoma in the Sweet Sixteen, when I consider the five other ACC teams still alive in the Tournament, and when I consider the fact that West Virginia, Wichita State, Xavier, NC State, Utah, and UCLA advanced further than we did.
I likely won't watch another second of basketball in this Tournament. I'll just check scores, hoping that the ACC returns to the Final Four and that Kentucky mercilessly crushes all comers (it would help me to know that the rest of the Tournament games were strictly academic to the eventual outcome).
It really is hard to poo-poo a 30-win season and ACC regular season championship. Those are great accomplishments. The arrow is still very much pointing UP for Virginia Basketball.
Meanwhile, there is this...
I cringed when I initially saw it. "Tony won't like this at all." But you know what? Maybe this is exactly the kind of gauntlet-throw that the program needs to really, righteously find its fight for March 2016.
We bring back a ton of talent and experience. Who knows if Justin Anderson stays or goes, but we add Jack Salt, Darius Thompson, and Jarred Reuter to the mix. If we lose Anderson (or an end-of-bench transfer), I think Tony has a bead on a JUCO kid who can shoot, or maybe another transfer, or maybe an unknown 2015 recruit.
We lose Brogdon, Gill, Tobey, Nolte, and Anderson (if he holds off on the NBA) after the 2016 Tournament. But London Perrantes, Marial Shayok, Isaiah Wilkins, Devon Hall, B.J. Stith, Salt, Thompson, and Reuter, along with a super-talented 2016 recruiting class will be in place to keep things going strong.
Our program has arrived. The model is in place for sustainable, long-term success. Virginia Basketball is a power. We haven't experienced much success in the NCAA Tournament... yet... but I really do think it's coming. Just have to keep fighting the good fight, I guess.
Who's ready for November? Only eight short months away...
(Can we maybe just skip football and go directly right back to basketball?)
Posted by Kendall