Don't want to make too much of it, but the Jayhawks aged about 2 years during their game Sunday, as did I. For them it was good, but not for me and my rapidly increasing grayness quotient.
After hanging tough for the 1st half or so, OU took momentum into halftime and proceeded to whip our asses through most of the 2nd half. But then the youngsters took over and got the job done. I'm an optimistic person, so I hadn't completely written them off, but 16 down with 10 minutes left against a good and well-coached squad can't look good. Still, I recall one 3-pointer by Brandon Rush as a sign that things had the potential to turn.
And turn they did. Fantastic energy and quickness stepped up the defense against OU, and we gradually chipped away at the lead by smothering the Sooners as they'd done to us before. Still, I've seen comebacks before, so I was beginning to come to terms with the moral victory of not getting pasted, but it's hard to get over the hump in a comeback, even at home. Still, they did it. Came close to icing it without sending my heart into overtime, but OU still had a shot with 1.6 sec left. Good foul by KU (smart to eat clock because they weren't in the bonus--had to do it fast before the act of shooting), followed by a good no-call by the official got us out with the 1-point win.
Man, did that feel good. I rode the high all day. Still, we're unranked, and we'll be inconsistent all year (contradiction?) I expect, but maybe we can keep it going into the tourney and do some damage. If we make it (looking pretty good now), I'll pick them to win it all, as every year. They're a great group, and I'm looking forward to watching them develop--the beauty of college hoops.
Speaking of "develop," Rush is looking more like a star and a leader than I thought he would at this point. Still, it's premature for him to go pro. I know he's chomping at the bit, but he's no Carmelo (1 & done). He's a great college
player, and he may be a great pro, but I really hope, and not just for my own fan's sake, that he gives us at least another year. He's not dominant, but he's very good. Make it last, man!
I have a theory that once all these guys who go pro at 18 or so get to retirement age, they'll regret missing so much of the college hoops experience. The NBA is fine, I guess, but I'll take the passion of guys who really care over the rote moves of megaliths and mega-egos any day. Once the money's in the bank and hasn't solved all their problems, they won't see it as their salvation anymore. 'Course, I don't know what I'd do if I had the chance. I just hope that some of our signees have the character and perspective to consider their long-term happiness. Injuries are a risk, sure, but career-enders are increasingly rare, and again, even that wouldn't mean the end of a basketball career of some sort.
Come on Brandon, listen to Danny. He stayed 4 years, and he wouldn't be back helping you along if he didn't know what the college game really is.