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Joakim Noah Eats it Up

John Clay is my new favorite member of the Lexington-Herald Leader staff for his logic and reasoning when it comes to the Gators enthusiastic and talented center Joakim Noah.

Joakim Noah is annoying. He yells. He screams. He snarls. He smirks. He thumps his chest. He plays to the crowd. He has a ponytail. Florida's 6-foot-11 junior center is the player you love to hate.

He's just the player I'd love to have.

Admit it. When Kentucky meets the defending national champion and top-ranked Florida Gators tonight in Rupp Arena, between the taunts and chants, to your heart of hearts you're whispering, I wish that guy was playing for us.

The way he likes it would be our guess. Noah thrives on it, feeds off it. Example: In the NCAA finals, he blew kisses at the UCLA cheerleaders, then blew the Bruins away.

"When you shine," Noah said, "you're going to have haters."

"You never see the 13th, 14th man get heckled," said Florida Coach Billy Donovan. "There's a reason why they do it. To me, it's the utmost sign of respect when fans do it."


And what about this "chest-thumping" that has all of a sudden become a sin?

"I don't think he's trying to show anybody up," the Kentucky coach (Tubby Smith) said yesterday. "I think that's just part of his game."

A game I'd take on my team.

So would you.

To sum up something that Steve Spurrier once said - If they're complaining about you (and in this case heckling), it's probably because you're beating them.

Go Gators!!!