Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
In case you didn’t know, the gentleman above is named Chris Jones. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. If not and you claim to be a Louisville Basketball fan, then you’ve either been hiding beneath a boulder for the past week or vacationing at the North Pole. Regardless of your familiarity, the soap opera surrounding the talented yet tumultuous senior point guard finally reached it’s final episode this past Sunday, less than 24 hours removed from a much needed home win over Miami. And this episode of As The Jones Turns would not have a warm, fuzzy ending. Consequently, the chances of a sequel or spin off are as likely as me playing in the NBA next year. No more coming back, no more second chances, no more Oscar nominated flops, no more clutch jumpers……end of story, roll the credits.
Ironically, Jones would play well in his final game wearing a Cardinal uniform, tallying 17 points and igniting a UofL offense that up until the start of the 2nd half had stunk worse than a 3 week old dead opossum roadside in July. On the periphery, everything seemed in place: Jones was back on the team, back on the floor and back to helping Louisville win basketball games.
Upon first hearing the news about Jones’ final dismissal from the team on Sunday afternoon, most UofL fans, myself included, were like……
But after the initial shock set in, confusion slowly turned to aggravation and angst for Card fans (or perhaps I only speak for myself).
How does a kid who was just reinstated following a suspension manage to get booted off the team again so swiftly? But the more important question for some is why has UofL had so many discipline issues in previous years – all issues that ultimately kept critical players off the floor? Finger pointing and excuses are meaningless when it comes to trying to resolve that issue, yet it still leaves even the average Louisville fan searching for answers and grasping for straws. Look no further than the likes of Derrick Caracter, Carlos Hurt, Chane Behanan and now Chris Jones to best illustrate the “what could have been” storyline for other Louisville basketball teams. Perhaps a separate blog should be crafted to discuss what I personally find to be some of the key issues contributing to the occasional off the court disarray. But for starters, here’s one…
So in closing, Chris Jones now takes his next step in life. As a fan, I am disappointed and borderline perturbed. As a human, I am saddened and concerned. Although short lived, Jones’ time at UofL will probably be remembered in both good and bad terms. Was Jones a fan favorite, a lovable icon, or a Peyton Siva’esque figure that fans adored? Louisville supporters both young and old would plausibly say “No”. On the flip side, was CJ a tenacious defender, someone who played his tail off, and a player that single-handedly lifted the Cards to a few wins earlier this season (insert Wake Forest)? Undoubtedly yes. I wish Chris Jones a better, brighter future as I hope other UofL faithful will as well. There is no need to take jabs and second guess his actions. Besides, who are we to judge?
Life without Jones won’t be easy, especially for this particular UofL squad. Want proof? It came in the form of an epic struggle on the road at Georgia Tech last night. A struggle that somehow resulted in a win so ugly that my eyes are still hurting from watching. More about the ‘Tech/Ville game tomorrow, I’m calling it a day and hoping that more good news as opposed to bad await this group of Cards.