Brandon Knight Has Kentucky Wildcats Fans Asking, "John Who?"
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What a difference a year makes.
Flashback to March 2010. Kentucky had just been defeated by West Virginia in the Elite Eight and all of Blue Nation collectively held its breath, bracing for the anticipated announcement of John Wall's departure for the lucrative contract that awaited him in the NBA.
He was soon to be followed by the remaining four members of Kentucky's starting five: DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. Suddenly, the 'Cats' cupboard was bare.
Sure, another blue-chip recruiting class was on the way, but Wall and Co. had just led Kentucky through one of most successful seasons in recent history, entered the NCAA tournament as a top seed and still flamed out in the Elite Eight, losing to a less-talented West Virginia squad.
If last year's Kentucky Wildcats, stocked with four future first-rounders, couldn't get the 'Cats back to the promised land, what could be expected of this year's crew?
Enter Brandon Knight.
If Reggie Jackson is Mr. October, then Knight is quickly becoming Mr. March.
With the savvy of a senior point guard, Knight has led Kentucky to the brink of its first Final Four since 1998, an accomplishment even Wall couldn't claim.
Who has been the Wildcats best point guard in the past 15 years?
But the way he has done it is what has been most impressive.
After struggling through what had been a miserable afternoon, Knight rescued Kentucky from an embarrassing second-round defeat to Princeton, hitting a difficult runner off the glass with two seconds remaining. Those were his only two points of the game.
He followed that up with a career-high 30 points in a third-round defeat of the same West Virginia squad that ended Wall's brief Wildcat career in last year's Elite Eight.
But it's his shot in last night's Sweet 16, a silky 15-footer with five seconds left that propelled the 'Cats back into the Elite Eight, that has many in Kentucky Nation quickly forgetting the past. The shot gave Kentucky the 62-60 win, and Knight broke the school's freshman scoring record, previously held by John Wall, with the bucket as well.
Brandon Knight may not put up gaudy numbers on a nightly basis like his predecessor, but he has shown the ability to take, and make, the big shots on the sport's biggest stage.
It's that killer instinct that makes him more dangerous than Wall, and has Kentucky fans hopeful for their eighth national championship.
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