“In any legitimate conversation right now about National Player of the Year, Jodie Meeks has to be metioned with the four or five guys we’ve been mentioning all along,” proclaimed ESPN hoops analyst Jimmy Dykes on the broadcast Tuesday night. He repeated the same sentiment via phone Wednesday.
“Jodie Meeks has to be there,” said Dykes. “You don’t base the National Player of the Year on just one game, you base it on the whole body of work. But the kid came in averaging over 24 points a game, the number five scorer in the country.”
Jodie Meeks ripped through Thompson-Boling Arena this week like a snowstorm through the Mongolian Steppes. He scored 54 points on the way to breaking Dan Issels single game scoring record that’s held for 39 years. Absolutely amazing. If that wasn’t enough, he did so while playing solid defense and keeping his team involved and kept UT out of their minds trying to defend him.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said he worked with his players for several days trying to come up with a game plan to keep the ball out of Meeks’ hand.
To say it didn’t work is an understatement. Meeks went 10-for-15 from 3-point range (he also set a school record for 3s in a game), made all 14 of his free throws, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists. He scored 26 points by halftime.
He was at 52 points and potentially let the record pass him by late in the game in order to garner one more assist by throwing an alley oop to a wide open Patrick Patterson. He even apologized for taking the one bad shot of the night as the shot clock expired. Running past the bench and Coach Gillispie stating “My bad, my fault.”
After the game, he was humble enough to tell the press that it was all due to the team and that what he really wanted was to get a win at UT. The scoring record was not top on his mind. Victory was.
My kind of guy.
Meeks has singlehandedly put UK back in the National Conversation. If UK is ranked come the next poll, you can thank Jodie Meeks.
Coolest of all was that his father (and Uncle) were on hand to see the spectacular performance. I’ve met both Jodie Meeks and his father. Way back when they were visiting UK. Prior to the commit, if I remember correctly. I met them at the UK Bookstore with my friend Rick (WildCatRick of WCN). You always meet interesting folks if you hang around Rick. The Meeks are good people. So someting like this is doubly awesome. Because it’s happening to genuinely good folks.
Congrats to Jodie and his family. It’s a hell of an achievement. It was a game for the ages. Legendary. Jodie Meeks is now a part of UK lore right alongside Issel, Nash, Dampier, Riley, Kenny and Antoine Walker, Mashburn, Prince, Bowie, Chapman and Wah Wah Jones. He’s in the Book.
And one last thing. Thank You Jodie Meeks. It was a pleasrue to watch you become legend.
But there is always a moron around who refuses to shut his pie hole. Woody Paige, you get the vote this go around.
Wayne Chism bemoans UTs inability to stop Jodie Meeks…
Meeks humbly told Issel he didn’t mean to break the record or even realize he was doing so. His only intention, he said, reiterating what he said after the game, was to finally knock off the rival Volunteers in Knoxville.
“It’s an honor to me,” Meeks said Wednesday. “I don’t see myself as being legendary or anything like that.”
Late in the shot clock in Kentucky’s first possession following intermission, Meeks asked for a clear-out at the top of the key, drove on Prince, stumbled a bit, recovered and swished a jumper. Then came a drive past Tyler Smith from the wing. Then a 3 in transition. (Some courtside observers thought Meeks had a foot well inside the 3-point line, so Issel might ask for a review of the videotape.) Then he hit another 3 after a handoff from teammate Ramon Harris.