Since 2009, John Calipari has been at the helm of the most prestigious program in College Basketball. Throughout his time at Kentucky there have been so many moments that capture our hearts and stay in our memory forever. I’m continuing a series over the next two days that will rank what I believe to be the top 5 moments of the Calipari Era. Friday I had our #5 moment with Aaron Harrison and the 2014 Final Four run, Saturday I had our #4 moment with Boogie Cousins in the SEC final, #3 was the best team ever assembled that never won but finished 38-1, and now #2…Brandon Knight sinking Ohio State.
This is one of my favorite moments of Kentucky Basketball history. The season that started off so poorly when Enes was denied eligibility, UCONN demolishing us in Maui, a disappointing loss at North Carolina, and a 10-6 SEC record but was quickly turned around thanks to Josh Harrellson, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb. A moment inside the moment is when Jorts owned Louisville in the first ever Battle for the Bluegrass in the Yum! Center and that was just glorious.
But this spot belongs to Brandon Knight and his heroics. First off, this team was built for March. It was Calipari’s first “be patient” team with Kentucky and he set the bar high. Coming in as a four seed, the Cats barely moved past Princeton (again thanks to Knight) then had to beat the team that eliminated them in 2010…West Virginia. The matchup with Ohio State was supposed to be a slide through for the Buckeyes, yet Kentucky fought every single second and then the beauty happened. As Ohio State just tied it up, Kentucky dribbles down and you hear “he’ll wait till about 8 seconds” and sure enough he did. Knight pulls up on Craft and sinks in. No celebration and then Craft passes it to Buford who then bricks a three and Harrellson taps it as hard as possible. What a game, what a team, what a season. You can relive it here.
Now this team went on to beat North Carolina in the Elite 8 but ultimately lost to UCONN again in the Final Four. The team returned Jones and Lamb along with Miller to run it back. This team was the first Calipari team that wasn’t the best but found their way. It set the tone for the Calipari Era and it’s a moment I’ll never forget. Come back tomorrow morning for my favorite moment in the Calipari Era. Feel free to tweet me your top 5 @soft7juice and like us on Facebook @Soft7Sports for more Kentucky content.