Lexington is for the Birds

familyA family with mixed loyalties enjoys pre-game tailgate on the floor in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency prior to the University of Louisville- North Carolina A&T NCAA basketball game Thursday in Lexington.

Denny-and-DarrellMeanwhile over in the Patterson Ballroom, former U of L Coach Denny Crum and All-American Darrell Griffith were greeting University of Louisville alumni at a $25 a plate reception and pep rally, signing autographs and recalling their first NCAA championship in 1980.

Kuric Leaves His Stamp On Freedom Hall

Decades from now University of Louisville fans will remember Freedom Hall, and talk about what a good place it was to watch basketball, about many of the memorable wins, the great Louisville players, the coaches, the NCAA Final Fours, a great slice of college basketball history.

They will remember that Louisville won that game, defeating Syracuse a second time that season.

Talk about all the former players on hand, Darrell Griffith, Wiley Brown, Rodney and Scooter McCray, Pervis Ellison, Billy Thompson, Roger Burkman …

About all the media hype leading up to that final game.

About Rick Pitino turning the microphone over to Denny Crum for the official goodbye to the old Cardinal home court.

What they will remember most, however, is the performance of Kyle Kuric during the second half because he went unnoticed during two minutes of action in the first half. He would re-enter the game with 16:11 to go.

The closing curtain for Freedom Hall, Louisville desperately needing a win, an NCAA tournament bid on the line, it was ne of those games that demands that someone step forward.

Kuric’s offensive display would not begin until the 14:25 mark, shocking onlookers with another one of those amazing dunks, following that up by hitting eight out of his next 10 shots, including four three-point shots and three other slams.

All 22 of his point total in 19 minutes of playing time. Even more impressively, all of his baskets coming with less than 14:25 to go in the game.

Kyle Kuric stepping out the shadows, grabbing the spotlight, assuming the leadership his team desperately needed,  becoming a Freedom Hall legend in the process.

And here’s a Kyle Kuric dunk video:

Louisville-Syracuse Box Score

Jurich Promises McCoughtry Statue

Angel McCoughtry has already left her mark on the University of Louisville women’s basketball record books but Tom Jurich apparently wants a more visible reminder of McCoughtry around after she graduates,  a concrete reminder of what she has done for the women’s program.

Jurich recently told Sports Illustrated that he is committed to erecting a statue of McCoughtry to honor the greatest female player in Louisville’s history, a player who has made women’s basketball matter in an area that has worshiped basketball for decades.

“I’ve said it a million times in speeches, it’s going up,” Jurich said. “I’m not sure where, but it’s going up. She’s been a real pioneer for our program and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

McCoughtry almost blushes when asked about the statue. It’s a little much. Though if Jurich must do it, she has just one request.

“I have to look pretty,” she says, trying stifle a laugh.

While McCoughtry doesn’t care what pose is chosen to preserve her for posterity, coach Jeff Walz has a suggestion.

“It’s got to show her passion,” he said. “That’s the thing that really sets her apart. She’s all about winning and she’s all about doing whatever it takes to make herself and her teammates better.”

If Jurich is so determined to get it done, the only question is where the statue would be erected. That should be easy. Not that equality is an issue, but why not just go ahead and do one of Darrell Griffith as well. Place them at the entrance of the new U of L downtown basketball arena, wearing jerseys No. 35 and No. 35, respectively, honoring both programs’ most valuable players at their new home.