Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Pistol" Meeks

"Pistol" – that’s what they called Pete Maravich years ago when he was lighting up opponents in the SEC. After last night’s performance by Kentucky junior Jodie Meeks at Tennessee, it would appear he might be a worthy successor to that nickname.

Meeks scored 54 points on the Vols last night, sinking 10 3-pointers and hitting all 14 of his free throws along the way. It is the single greatest scoring game by a Kentucky player – ever.

That’s saying something, considering all that is Kentucky: you know, the all-time winningest program in NCAA history, seven national championships, and on and on and on …. Meeks’ performance put him one better than Dan Issel’s 53 against Ole Miss in 1970, and Dan Issel is widely considered the best player to ever have played at UK. Of course, Issel also had games of 51, 47, 44 and 42 during the 1970 season. I write that not to diminish Meeks’ performance – to the contrary, I think it illustrates just how good of a player Meeks passed last night.

Perhaps as important is to note that Meeks hot streak wasn’t some isolated freak occurrence – Meeks has been on fire all year long. He rang up 39 points in the season opener against VMI, laid 37 on Kansas State, went off for 46 against Appalachian State, and scored 28 on Louisville, including seven points in the final 50 seconds to tie the game. All this after basically not playing last year because of injury.

By their own lofty standards, the past couple of seasons have been down years for UK. They’re currently not ranked, and if you asked most college basketball fans, I think the consensus before last night would have been that the Wildcats aren’t serious players on the national scene. But with a weak SEC schedule ahead of them and not one, but two great scorers (don’t forget about man-child Patrick Patterson, who’s averaging close to a double-double), the perception about this team will likely begin to shift. Come March, the Cats will likely be positioned to make some noise in the tournament.

-Posted by Rev. Shaw Moore

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