Sometimes the basketball gods just don’t smile on you. Just ask Nick Calathes. What more could he have done for his team to ensure a victory over Kentucky?
Well, aside from making three free throws in the final seconds … but once he missed the first, the rest didn’t matter. One simple foul shot gone astray possibly turned an otherwise brilliant performance into an evening of gloom as a nightmarish memory.
What a pity it wound up on such a sour note for Calathes on a night that had looked so sweet.
In a losing effort, Calathes put forth one of the most heroic efforts since – well, since that guy who plays quarterback.
We already know that Calathes has scored twice as many triple-doubles as any player in Gator basketball history and that he was the eighth fastest ever to reach the 1,000-point plateau. This portends of a spectacular career at Florida, should he choose to stay two more years.
To have posted a career-high 33 points on the road against Florida’s No. 1 hoop rival was impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the effort he gave. Calathes was downright Tim Tebow-like as he dove for loose balls, creased the double-team and made a Pete Maravich-like move to the basket as he dished behind his back for an assist on the fast break.
In the end, Calathes couldn’t stop Jodie Meeks from a near-miraculous 3-pointer or convert the three foul shots. The Wildcats prevailed, 68-65.
But that’s OK. It was the sterling performance of Nick Calathes that put the Gators in a position to win the game in the final seconds.
We forgive the deficiencies of athletes like Calathes and Tebow. As golfers like to say, sometimes the putts just don’t fall.
Florida fans are blessed to have players like Tebow and Calathes as iconic figures who remind other young athletes that no matter your talent, it’s how well you compete that separates the average from the exceptional.
Quick Jump Starts
1. Bad enough we have to listen to Mel Kiper bump his gums about Tim Tebow, but now he wants to give Brandon Spikes advice that he made a mistake by not coming out this past season
2. Utah for Charleston Southern? Nah.
3. Larry Shyatt is a brilliant defensive coach, but I’m left scratching my head as to how South Carolina got the rebound off a missed free throw and scored a layup; and how was it that Jodie Meeks wasn’t double-teamed on his 3-point shot at Rupp Arena.
4. So now Lane Kiffin is going after another Florida commit, linebacker Matt Elam of Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer – does he not know the price of “payback”?
5. I hear linebacker Brandon Beal has expressed an interest in trying out as the long-snapper to replace the indomitable James Smith, who has graduated after playing in more football games than any Florida player in history.
Holder on field goal/PATs will likely be Cade Holliday, with Chas Henry back as punter and Caleb Sturgis as kicker. … Special teamer Joey Sorrentino will look into dental school after next season. … Ran into Jesse Palmer the other day, making his first visit to Urban Meyer’s new digs, and for some reason he looked taller than I remembered him as a Gator quarterback. … Speaking of Smith’s record, if Tim Tebow plays in every 2009 game (which is likely) he will have broken it.
Back in Prime Time
They might be back on the tube again after two years and playing Labor Day night, but FSU and Miami are hardly “prime time” teams to date.
Considering where these two state teams are now – and whether they have been – the term “not ready for prime-time players” seems more appropriate.
There were some glorious days of yore for FSU and UM. In fact there was a period of time when almost no team came to Gainesville, Coral Gables or Tallahassee and took home a “W.” Since 2000, however, the Seminoles have won just 78 games and Miami 83. Conversely during that same 10-year period, Florida has won 87.
During Urban’s tenure Florida is 44-9, FSU is 31-21 and Miami is 28-22.
And Good Morning …
… all you Floridians who are trying to figure out whether Tim Tebow belongs with Don Shula, Dan Marino and Bobby Bowden on our state’s “Mount Rushmore” (according to ESPN). Are you kidding me? And while we’re at it, Steve Spurrier belongs there, too, for what he did as a coach and player.
P.S. They’re going to need a bigger mountain when Urban Meyer’s face is added.