I think it's pretty much undisputable that, other than Jeremy Lamb, Kemba Walker, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier and Jim Calhoun, the readers of TheUConnBlog were perhaps the greatest contributor to the Huskies' Final Four run this year - and it's all thanks to our readers' chief mode of expression: the PhotoShopped/MS Paint image.
The level of PhotoShoppery and MSPaintsmanship that has been demonstrated by our readers is nothing short of inspiring, and truly deserves to be commended. All season long, you've made us laugh, cry and - most importantly - think about things, like "what if Kemba Walker were cast in the movie Fantasia?" And after last Saturday's win, we received even more images worthy of being recognized.
So with less than 48 hours to go until UConn plays in the Final Four, that's what we're going to do right here. Below, you'll find an exhaustive collection of our readers' work from throughout the season. I know I'm missing a few, so if I have, add them in the comments and I'll throw them in.
And of course, we are always open to new suggestions for the various players whose nicknames have not been visually represented thus far. (I'm looking at you, Niels Templar.)
Personally, my favorite is and will always be "Honey Coombs," from that time when Jamal Coombs-McDaniel was the best player in the country for a couple days. Your mileage may vary.
ON WITH THE CRITERION COLLECTION (and apologies in advance if you have a slow-loading computer):
We start with what is truly a Hall-of-Fame effort from a Hall-of-Fame PhotoShopper. Commenter KembaWalkerIsMyHero left us with this image just after Selection Sunday, and it has been the official go-to mojo for our NCAA Tournament Open Threads (as it will again on Saturday). Let its grace shine on you:
KWIMH has been there for us all season long, sending in classic image after classic image. As you might guess, many of them involve his commenter namesake:
And of course, no image has been more popular in our Open Threads than the wondrous Kembacadabra, which made its first appearance way way way back in November (before Maui, even?)
KWIMH has also got the ladies covered, as well:
Rounding out the prodigious output of Mr. Is My Hero are my two favorite images of the season. I think they speak for themselves:
But KWIMH was not the only one to bring the mad skillz this season.
Take, for example, this submission from amp343, which makes it appear as if Alex Oriakhi's favorite thing in the world is astronauts:
That submission was one of several which came to us in the wake of the Huskies' win over Arizona in the Elite Eight. Thanks to johnschauster, uconncountry, Matt Opper and reader Alyse, respectively, for their fine work this past weekend:
But not everything was so pro-UConn. In the grand tradition of this blog, there was plenty of opponent hateration, as well.
Remember when 81% of the Big East crapped out in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament? Longtime reader llimllib does:
Or what about that time that Twitter follower @BPenJackson continued a cherished blog tradition of humorously placed images of people ripping hearts out of chests, even if the original source image was kind of a lot racist?
Speaking of cherished blog traditions, another Syracuse Hate Half-Week came and went in February, and because Porter's a big karma-killing jerk, UConn lost to the Orange this year. As a result, we had to love Syracuse for a full 24 hours, the nausea from which only recently subsided.
Commenter derbyguy was kind enough to chronicle that momentous day:
MS Paint does force the artiste to make his image appear rather primitive, unfortunately. But as primitive as the above image may appear to be, it's practically modern compared to the method of imagery preferred most by Justin and I, the "take a photo and crudely just place it on top of another image" school of craft:
(I believe the Charter Ok is courtesy of ponta, but I may be incorrect about that.)
Finally, these aren't so much PhotoShops as they are just awesome things that popped up in the Open Threads now and again (and/or just amuse me in some fashion):
As I said, I'm sure there are a couple that I'm missing, so please add them (or any new submissions) in the comments (or use that awesome FanShot feature).
Y'all done good this year, folks. A toast to you all! You're the true heroes of this Final Four run.
(Our next step: to put together TheUConnBlog's Official Canon of Awesome UConn YouTube Videos. That might make for a nice spring project. Send your submissions now.)