I am trying to get excited about watching the Super Bowl, but like many Big Blue fans my mind is still whirling regarding what I witnessed on the basketball court in Gainesville last night. Just heard TV announcer say “We have all seen Tom Brady’s combine films, “It is not talent, it is his will to win that makes him great”. That kinda sums it up regarding this years University of Kentucky team thus far. I think they are one of the finest group of young men that have ever been assembled at Kentucky. They are a class act and represent common wealth well.
Last night’s beat down by Florida was hard to watch. In reality the past 4 games have been a complete disappointment. What has thrown this team in reverse?
There was a time when I sincerely thought this was going to be the most fun and exciting team to watch in recent memory. I am hopeful they will throw it back in drive soon, but they have to step on the court with a new mind set.
What has been the major change over the past 4 games?
From the outside looking in, I think the team has been focusing on getting the ball to Bam much more than they were earlier in the year. I understand this. I think Cal looks at the upside potential of this team and has a vision for what they could become. There is no question Bam being a dominate presence on the inside is part of his vision. We have gotten a glimpse all year of the talent and the upside potential of each player on this team.
A few games back Cal probably asked himself “what player do I need to make a major jump in his potential?” In my mind the obvious answer would be Bam. We have all seen a slight forward progression with basically everyone on the team. Bam has been so proficient all year long with off the charts shooting percentages, UNTIL the team started to force the ball to him.
Maybe he was happy with his role? Maybe the extra attention has added more stress and has taken Bam out of his natural flow? I obviously don’t know I am just theorizing.
Honestly I think the number one thing this team lacks is what I refer to as the X factor. I am a dad, granddad, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. X factor is a topic I have had the opportunity to share with different sports teams and over the years.
X Factor – The willingness to compete at the highest level and not just win but destroy your opponent with no mercy.
All individuals are born with a dose of X factor. It is part of our DNA which creates the necessary fight of flight instincts all humans are born with.
X Factor creates our competitiveness, or lack there of. We need players that don’t let their nieces and newphews win at playing Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, or any other family game. Some call it the Killer instinct or will to win. Cal has an extra dose of X Factor that is why he is so systematic, competitive, and a Hall of Fame coach.
Demarcus Cousins had it, John Wall had it, Louie Damper had it, Deandre Liggins had it, John Wall had it and I am sure all UK fans could name a few more past players who had an extra dose of X factor.
I loved Darius Miller & Alex Poystres as people, but they both had low X factor. As human beings we all have a certain dose of X factor. It is the fight or flight emotions that WE ARE BORN WITH. It is part of our DNA as humans. I look at myself and my siblings. I have a brother and sister who I am very proud of, they are wonderful, loving, caring people, but everyone in my family will tell you I am the one that got the extra dose of X Factor.
For a team to reach their full potential, each member of the team needs to play with as much X factor as they are humanly able while they are on the court. As fans we have to understand you cannot expect Derek Willis to play with the same X Factor as Demarcus Cousins, because X Factor is something we are all Born with. Florida just played with more X factor as a team, than we did last night as did Tennessee, Louisville, and Georgia. Talent cannot replace X-Factor.
The rub is, the more God given talent you have in any aspect of life the less X factor you have to use. Underdogs must depend on X factor, talent does not.
Remember Pete Rose? Charlie Hustle? He couldn’t run fast, he had a below average throwing arm, he wasn’t even drafted out of high school. His uncle was a scout for the Cincinnati Reds and pulled a few strings and got him a try out. But, Pete had as much X factor as any sports figure in modern day history. (When X Factor is channeled in the wrong way most end up in legal or ethical trouble) Pete was willing to practice hard taking extra batting practice on his own time, because he was not born with extra God given talent. The results of Pete’s X factor? He was rookie of the year in 1964 and became baseball’s all time hit leader.
Great teams are those that not only have talent, but understand how to pull up their maximum X factor every time they walk on the court. I think collectively this is what is missing on this team. Through my eyes, they are as talented or more talented than any team I have seen this year. If this team can DECIDE to walk on the court determined to play at the highest level of X factor they can personally initiate within, I believe they will bring number 9 back to Kentucky.
I have faith that Cal will figure it out, what do you think?