I've been a UK basketball fan for almost as long as I can remember. I grew up on the Pitino teams of the early 90's, fell in love with Travis Ford, Jeff Brassow, and Tony Delk in middle school, watched the domination of the late 90s teams make 3 trips to the National Title game in 3 years, and then got to watch Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes, and Rajon Rondo work thorough College. I've been to most of UK's home games over the last 8 years, seen many great UK basketball moment (Brassow's tip-in to win the Maui Invitational, Padgett's 3 to put us up over Duke, Prince's 7 straight 3's to open the game vs North Carolina). But never have I seen an individual put up the kind of performance Jodie Meeks put up last night vs Tennessee. That was something to behold.
The numbers are impressive all on their own:
Points Scored: 54 (15-22 from the field, 14-14 from the line)
Three Point Baskets: 10 (10-15)
Mins Played: 39
The rest of UK's team
Points Scored: 36 (15-31 from the field, 4-6 from the line)
Three Point Baskets: 2 (2-4)
But what is even more impressive is the fact that Jodie did all this playing on the road in one of the most hostile environments UK has faced this year over a host of different defenders. He single handedly outscore the top 3 guys for UT (54 to 48). In fact, according to Pat Forde of ESPN (and formerly the Louisville Courier-Journal), Jodie scored more points than 6 of the Division I schools that played Tuesday night. And he did it all while playing stellar defense and not turning the ball over.
Oh, and as a foot note, he broke 3 records last night as well. Dan Issel's almost 30 year old single game scoring record (previously 53 set in 1970). Tony Delk's single game 3 point record (formerly 9). And the Thompson Bowling Arena most points scored by a single player record (previously 49 by Chris Jackson of LSU in 1999).
Sports Guys and Bloggers all over are talking about Meeks today. About how good he is. About how many points he put up. But what many of them over look is the fact that when he was asked after the game about his performance, the first words out of his mouth were "My team mates". So many guys would have touted themselves--talked about how great they were, how bad the defenders were--Meeks simply thanked his team for getting him the ball "when I was open." You gotta love a kid like that.