And Just That Quick – It’s Over

2009-10 CATS

2009-2010 University of Kentucky Wildcats Men’s Basketball Team

The 2009-10 season didn’t begin with the first official tip against Morehead or when the Cats took the floor for the first time against Campbellsville. It didn’t begin with the signing of John Wall or even the recruitment and eventual signing of John Calipari.

Instead, the 2009-10 season began on the same date that it ended… March 27. Only the season didn’t begin on March 27, 2010, it began on March 27, 2009.

The same day that Mitch Barnhart, the University of Kentucky and Billy Gillespie parted ways. A dark day in the history of Kentucky basketball and for Coach Gillespie.

From that day forward, the face of Kentucky basketball has risen from the ashes in a blaze of glory. For every UK fan, this might have been the most exciting 365 days in the history of Kentucky Basketball. The memories are almost uncountable.

From the signing of Coach Cal, to the decision of Meeks and Patterson to turn pro, to the decision of Patterson to return for his Junior year. The signing of Cousins, Bledsoe, Orton, Hood and eventually Wall. The excitement and expectation level was absolutely through the roof and the Cats hadn’t even began practice.

The season was just as thrilling… Remember when:

  1. Midnight Madness gave us the John Wall Dance?
  2. John Wall’s first heroism when he made a jumper with 0:02 left on the clock to defeat Miami at Rupp Arena.
  3. Cousins with his first of a Freshmen record 20 double-double’s against Miami.
  4. Wall with two free throws to tie Stanford and take the game to OT and eventually another UK win.
  5. The first win against North Carolina in the last five tries.
  6. UK becomes the first school to pass 2,000 wins with a Drexel defeat.
  7. The brawl at Rupp against in state rival Louisville.
  8. First win at Florida in five tries.
  9. Our first #1 Ranking since March 29, 2003.
  10. 19-0 start before the first loss to the Devan Downey show at South Carolina.
  11. UK set a never to be broken ESPN GameDay record with over 24,000 crazy Cat fans for the live one hour show.
  12. Down 67-60 with 3:00 left at The Hump, the Cats score the next 7 points to go to OT and an eventual win over Mississippi State.
  13. Down 19 points at Tennessee with 13:47 remaining, the Cats come back to tie the game at 65 a piece before ultimately falling short.
  14. Undefeated at home record… 19-0.
  15. The gathering of the programs 44th SEC Regular Season Championship.
  16. Down 3 points with only 0:05 remaining, Bledsoe makes one free throw, intentionally misses the second, then Cousins somehow makes a lay up with no time on the clock to send UK-MSU into OT where the Cats eventually win.
  17. Won the programs 26th SEC Tournament Championship.
  18. Tied (96-97 and 97-98 teams) for the most single season wins with 35 (Excluding the 47-48 Olympic Team).
  19. Makes it to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2005, losing to West Virginia 73-66.
  20. The passion of a team shown in the tears in the eyes of Krebs, Bledsoe, Wall, Patterson, Stevenson, Harris and yes, even Cousins after the WV loss.

And just as quick as every glorious moment came, the season that dazzled us all – ENDED.

For a team who started three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior for the majority of the season, my disappointment was only for the team. For a bunch of 18, 19, 20 and 21 year old young men who had one goal, to win a National Championship.

Selfishly, I would have loved nothing more then for these young men to win it all. Sadly they fell just short, but I will always remember the joys of every moment of the 2009-10 season in what we proudly call “Kentucky Basketball”.

Only two questions remain – Who stays and who goes and does Coach Calipari have a “For Sale” sign in his yard yet? I hope not…

From myself and UKBIGBLUENATION, thanks for the memories…


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  • Chip Miller can be contacted via e-mail at
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