Two of the all-time winningest programs in the history of college basketball will meet for →
By Not Jerry Tipton on ©2:00 pm
The 2013-14 season is here, and Kentucky will spend the entirety of it trying to atone for the disaster was the 2012-13 season. John Calipari’s team is trying to do something that no team in the history of college basketball has ever done: Win a national championship relying primarily on 6 freshmen who were McDonald’s All Americans. With disappointing losses to Michigan State and Baylor (lol), the team will fail to reach its ultimate goal of perfect season, and will instead try to console itself with a national title. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Silent Night: Last Friday, Kentucky was embarrassed. Not just by how it played against Baylor, but by the anemic turnout in Cowboys Stadium. The iconic venue holds an estimated 88,000 fans, but only about 7,000 bothered to show up to watch the Cats play. Why the apathy? One theory is that the UK fanbase is still smarting from last year’s train wreck. Another is that Kentucky fans are fed up with the current team’s inability to reach its potential. One more is that the revolving door of one and dones on campus has finally taken its toll, and BBN is saying “we can’t do this anymore.” Predictably, the excuse makers have cited the Dallas weather as a factor, and said that the ice, snow and freezing conditions made the roads and skies unsafe for travel, but last time I checked, basketball has always been played in the winter, so this is hardly anything new. And it’s not just Kentucky fans who have no interest in seeing “The Greatest Recruiting Class In History” play. Practically no Baylor fans were there to see the Cats either.
*Please Come Home For Christmas: At Monday’s press conference, John Calipari reiterated that the decision to end the UK/IU series was that of Indiana coach Tom Crean. Calipari says he offered Crean the opportunity to play two games in Indianapolis at the RCA Dome, but that Crean refused, and insisted on playing a home and home. Though UK fans want to blame Crean for this, it’s hard to argue with his reasoning. He is obviously confident that his Hoosiers could handle the Cats no matter what the venue is. However, he also knows that given the layout, it would impossible to storm the court in a dome. Likewise, his teams have always drawn inspiration from the surroundings in Bloomington, but the fact is that there are no Sweet 16 banners hanging in the RCA Dome. This seems like an unfair advantage for UK, despite the fact that it’s ostensibly a “neutral” site. Crean probably also knows that the 2015 Final Four is being held in Indianapolis, so it’s not like his team needs the practice of playing there anyway.
*What Child is This?: During a sit down interview with Fox Sports’ Bill Raftery UK coach John Calipari was asked whether he had any regrets in coaching. His response was telling. He said that he wishes he had been home more frequently when his children were younger, as nothing is more important than family. This does not bode well for Kentucky. If this current UK team is to reach its goals, it has to be single minded in purpose, willing to stop at nothing to get to the promised land. But by admitting that he cares more about his family than his basketball team, he is admitting that he really doesn’t care whether Kentucky wins another game or not. Consider: Tom Crean publicly kisses his son, and he hasn’t been beyond the Sweet 16 is more than a decade. Compare that to Rick Pitino, who has publicly betrayed his wife, and he has a national championship ring to show for it. In sum, there are approximately 2 million families who reside in the state of Kentucky. John Calipari must make a choice as to who’s more important, his family or the other 1,999,999 who want Kentucky to win every game.
* On this date: On this date in 1953 Kentucky was on its way to an undefeated season that wouldn’t really count because they didn’t play in the NCAA Tournament because they were scared they’d lose, probably.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:15 pm
By Nick Roush on ©1:00 pm
In the two weeks since the 2013 Kentucky football season came to a close, Mark Stoops has spent the majority of that time on the road recruiting. His travels have kept him busy, but he did find the time to call into KSR last week. The coaching staff is finally off the road, but they will still be recruiting as much as they can. This weekend many of the committed members of the Class of 2014 will be making their official visits with Matt Elam and Ja’Merez Bowen, two athletes who have yet to decide their future. Here’s a run-down of just some of the talent in town this weekend.
Matt Elam, #15 DT****, 6’6 350 lbs. The last giant piece to the wonderful 2014 recruiting puzzle, the Cats get one of their last chances to swoon the in-state superstar away from Alabama. The Cats were the last group of coaches to make their rounds of in-home visits this week, following Notre Dame and Alabama (lol). Topping that off with a great official visit with all of your buds, and January 4th could make a great day for the #BBN.
Ja’Merez Bowen, #121 OT***, 6’5 270 lbs. The coaching staff is planning to end the 2014 class by building some bulk in the program. Another big body from Ohio, the Cats are fighting off the Bearcats of Cincinnati (where he paid an official visit last weekend) and the Cornhuskers of Nebraska for that tackle’s services. The young offensive line unit could use the added depth to help protect whoever is playing QB.
Drew Barker, #7 QB****, 6’4 210 lbs. Drew Barker has been in constant contact with his fellow peers, but especially Matt Elam. This weekend will be Drew’s last chance to persuade Elam in person before he joins him at the US Army All-American Bowl. Barker has made it a point that he’ll be standing next to Elam when he makes his decision during the game.
Dorian Baker, #143 WR***, 6’3 205 lbs.
Darius West, #22 Safety****, 6′ 195 lbs. The secondary improved throughout the season, but they will still be very young next year. Ashley Lowery has a final season before it will be between Marcus McWilson and West for the job.
Thaddeus Snodgrass, #40 WR****, 6’1 170 lbs. The first big-time WR Stoops reeled in made his announcement on Kentucky Sports Radio. The Ohio prospect his seen his notoriety in the rankings rise recently after a stellar Senior season and has the potential to be a great for years to come for the Cats.
Nico Firios, #76 OLB***, 6’1.5 220 lbs.
Nick Richardson, #44 OT***, 6’5 285 lbs. Richardson will be an integral part of the offensive line in years to come. Richardson’s best competition on the O-line could come from Ohio State commit Marcelys Jones, who has been flirting with the Cats for nearly a year now.
Adrian Middleton, #34 DT***, 6’3 265 lbs.
Mikel Horton, #45 RB****, 6’1 225 lbs.
T.V. Williams, #74 WR***, 5’7 148 lbs.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©12:00 pm
Bad body language has been a big concern about this Kentucky team. In his latest Mailbag episode, John Calipari was asked which player on the team has the best body language on the team when struggling. His answer? Dominique Hawkins:
“I would probably tell you maybe Dominique because he just keeps playing. He just plays. He broke down defensively a couple of times last game and he just keeps playing, I could leave him in there. There are other guys, when they break down or shoot an air ball, I’ve gotta take you out. Because you’re gonna break down on defense, run the wrong offense and give up an offensive rebound. Cause you missed a shot or a free throw or turned the ball over? You’ve gotta come out. So those are the things we’re fighting through right now.”
Cal also said that they’ve been practicing more against the zone in practice than any team he’s coached, which is good because North Carolina will likely run it a lot tomorrow. A lot of UK’s problems against zone defense? Pace. Cal says he’s trying to get his team to speed up so they can avoid the zone, and “beat the other team up the court.” Once again, he mentioned that because of their length, this team could be a deadly zone team themselves once they learn how to crack it on the other end of the court.
Click the pic to see the entire episode.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:15 am
Let me take you back, all the way back to December 2010, when Kentucky traveled to Chapel Hill for a noon tip with the Tarheels. Terrence Jones had a terrible shooting performance, making only three of 17 shots and fouling out with three minutes left in UK’s 75-73 loss.
What happened? Turns out Terrence took a nap 20 minutes before tip-off, and was (rightly) mocked by his teammates for it afterwards. Terrence shouldered a lot of the blame for the loss, telling reporters that after watching the film, he felt he rushed his shots and looked out of it. Why did he fall asleep? “Well, I slept because Doron (Lamb) turned off the TV,” Jones said.
No napping tomorrow, boys. TV stay on.
(H/t to the wonderful John Short for bringing this up on the radio.)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:30 am
We all knew Anthony Davis was good, but I think it’s safe to say that his first few years in the NBA have surpassed even our high expectations. The folks over at ESPN Insider ranked the top NBA players under 25, and Davis came in at #1. David Thorpe, Kevin Pelton and Amin Elhassan broke down each player by their current skills, what they must improve, and where they may be in three years. Here’s a sampling of what they said about Davis:
Amin Elhassan: Davis continues his superstar trajectory as an efficient, unselfish two-way player. He’s a tremendous defensive presence both on- and off-ball, a voracious rebounder and elite finisher out of pick-and-roll situations.
David Thorpe: Improving his shooting is Step 1, beginning with a midrange game that can be featured in isolations when defenders play off him. Developing a plan in the post is Step 2, including face-ups against bigger, slower defenders, as well as a reliable middle-attack move with one solid counter.
Kevin Pelton: After posting the best PER ever by a 20-year-old as a rookie, Davis merely ranks third in the league this season. Barring injury, his future is a lock.
Some other Cats made the list too, with John Wall coming in at #5, DeMarcus Cousins at #9, and Eric Bledsoe at #11. Click on over to ESPN Insider to read their thoughts on them:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:55 am
Good morning and welcome to the Thank-God-It’s-Friday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, Matt and Ryan will be in studio to get you ready for tomorrow’s big matchup between Kentucky and North Carolina, and what a win or loss will mean for the Cats.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
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By Bryan the Intern on ©9:00 am
It is safe to say that for nearly every member of this fanbase, on October 1st, the expectations for this year’s basketball team was going to the Final Four or the season was a failure. And frankly, while I think the NCAA Tournament is consistently the most random, fluky tournament in the sports world, those expectations were warranted. This was the top ranked team in the country. And if you are preseason #1, you should expect a Final Four. Of course, many think it’s Final Four or Bust every season, but that is still a small minority of people.
But now we have seen a 10-game slate, with 2 losses, that has to make you reconsider your expectations. It surely does mine. As it stands now, this team is a fringe Top 10 team. Which is still nothing to be ashamed about or consider a source of disappointment. This is an incredibly young team and young teams have struggles. I think Beisner pointed out on Twitter that if Anthony Davis doesn’t block a UNC shot in 2011, that UK team would have had 2 losses in its first 10 games as well. And I think we know how that team turned out. The 2 losses this season don’t worry me. What worries me is that Kentucky might have limitations that we didn’t know in the preseason and might also not be able to fix.
One of those is the quickness at the guard spot. You are either quick or you are not. Can you become a better defender? Of course. But at the end of the day, the Harrisons will struggle with quick guards being able to get around them. We thought depth at the frontcourt was a strength. We now see that there is a drop-off between Cauley-Randle to Johnson-Lee. We thought this team was overall deeper. Willis, Hood, and Polson have not seen the floor very much. These are all things that might not change this season. Doesn’t mean that UK can’t win the national title or go to the Final Four, it just means they have weaknesses we didn’t expect.
So where do our expectations stand now? I think we know now this team is not going to be head and shoulders above everybody else in the country. But I still think that TODAY, this team can beat anybody in the nation. No team scares me. Is UK one of the 4 best teams in the country now? No. But they clearly can be by the end of the year. So, have you pulled back on your hopes for the season, or is it still a Final Four or Bust for you?
Happy 90th birthday to Bob Barker, the white-haired TV legend who hosted “The Price is Right” from 1972-2007. Barker rang in the big day by returning to his old stomping grounds to help give away some major prizes alongside his successor Drew Carey. For the first time ever, Bob got to tell contestants to “Come on down!”, which you can see in the clip above, but the real story to me is how different Drew Carey looks since taking over the show six years ago:
All of that “Hole in One (or Two)” must be paying off.
In honor of Bob’s 90th birthday, share your favorite “Price is Right” game in the comments. If it’s not Plinko, you are crazy.
Now on to the news and views…
Big Blue Ennui
Ten games in, I don’t think anyone knows what to make of this Kentucky team. Ten games ago, if you had told me that the Big Blue Nation would be underwhelmed by the group, I would have called you crazy, but there’s no deny the “meh” vibe surrounding the squad. A lot of that is due to ridiculously high expectations, for which yes, as the media, we are partly to blame. However, I’d argue that even Calipari talked up this squad, and while he was careful to note that his goal of going 40-0 was a personal one, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he mentioned it so many times this preseason.
This group isn’t bad; far from it, in fact. Calipari’s learning curve of getting freshmen to play together is just taking a little longer than most would like. Losing to Michigan State was disappointing, but understandable, but the loss to Baylor took a lot of wind out of the fan base’s sails. Even in their wins, the Cats don’t make you stop and say “Whoa” like Calipari teams of the past. I spent some time today watching clips of the 2010 John Wall team and the 2012 National Championship team and was struck by just how much fun they were having. Like this group, both teams were young, but unlike this group, they looked like they were having the time of their lives, even in November and December, against cupcakes and powerhouses alike.
We’ve seen glimpses of that in this group, which makes the North Carolina game crucial, in my opinion. When you look at the game on it’s own, a young Kentucky team losing on the road to North Carolina isn’t a big deal, but a win would do wonders for this team’s confidence and cohesion. So far they’ve had one loss, one bad loss, and some wins to build on. Now they need a win to hang their hat on, or the malaise in the fan base will continue to fester. It’s been a long time since UK fans have had something great happen. Twenty months, in fact. Here’s hoping Saturday will take care of that.
PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald likely won’t play Saturday
Raise your hand if you thought PJ Hairston would play against Kentucky three months ago. Me too. Roy Williams may have let Hairston back on the team after his indefinite suspension, but both he and Leslie McDonald have been sidelined all season as NCAA ineligibility issues continue to swirl. The common theory is that the NCAA has actually handed down their sanctions, but UNC is appealing, therefore the reason neither has played.
Regardless, Williams said on Thursday that he would be “stunned” if Hairston and McDonald were eligible to play in time for Saturday’s game. Still, I’ll believe when I see them in street clothes.
Huge football recruiting weekend coming up
One of the biggest recruiting weekends in Kentucky football history starts on Friday. Twenty 2014 recruits are expected on campus, 18 of them commits. Here’s the list:
Drew Barker (signed financial aid agreement)
Dorian Hendrix (signed financial aid agreement)
Mikel Horton (signed financial aid agreement)
Thaddeus Snodgrass (signed financial aid agreement)
Stanley “Boom” Williams
TV Williams (signed financial aid agreement)
Matt Elam is obviously the biggest name on that list in both stature and significance. Elam is down to Kentucky, Alabama, and Notre Dame, and with only weeks until his announcement at the Army All-American game, a good official visit this weekend is crucial to the Cats’ chances. The coaching staff has put such a priority on his visit that Mark Stoops, Neal Brown, and Vince Marrow went to Elizabethtown to see him on Thursday. According to Elam, it went pretty well:
— Matt Elam™6⃣9⃣ (@FballIsLife69) December 13, 2013
What’s on the docket for the recruits this weekend? According to the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts, all 20 of the visitors will arrive on Friday, go to a steak dinner, and on Saturday, watch the UK/North Carolina game at Stoops’ house.
Weigh in on how to make Rupp Arena better for fans
Over at The Cats Pause message board, Matt started a thread asking for suggestions on how UK can improve the fan experience in Rupp Arena during basketball games. Here are his two questions:
1. What would you change/improve about Rupp to make the fan experience better?
2. What do you think is the MOST important change that has to be made if you could only choose one?
Matt will gather the responses and forward them along to UK in hopes that it will result in some much-needed changes. Hop on over and put in your two cents.
An acoUstiKat proposed to his girlfriend on “The Sing-Off” tonight
The acoUstiKats have become a household name around here this week as they continue to impress the judges on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” On Thursday night, they performed a cover of Lonestar’s “Amazed,” which the judges called genuine and touching. Even more touching? acoUstiKat Mike proposed to his girlfriend Maggie afterwards. Spoiler alert? She said yes!
Congrats to them and congrats to the acoUstiKats, who moved on to the next round.
The fun keeps rolling in the morning, as the boys get ready for their weekend in Vegas and I get ready to take off for Chapel Hill. The last time I was in the Dean Dome was my freshman year of college, when I dated a UNC fan with season tickets just so I could go to the UK/UNC game and cheer the Cats on to victory. My father has never been so proud. (Really.)
See you soon.
By Wilder Treadway on ©10:00 pm
10 games. 10 wins. It hasn’t been easy and it sure hasn’t been conventional, but the Kentucky women’s basketball team defeated the DePaul Blue Demons in Chicago 96-85 on the road tonight to improve their record to an undefeated 10-0. In her homecoming, freshman Linnae Harper came of the bench to score 18 points to lead the Wildcats in a balanced scoring attack as five players registered double-digit scoring after a slow start.
UK had to adjust after losing star player and All-American candidate DeNesha Stallworth as the post player underwent arthroscopic surgery on her knee just a few days ago. The center is projected to be out 3-4 weeks, and junior Azia Bishop got the start tonight and made the most of it, knocking down eight points on 4-7 shooting. It was all about the freshman, as Makayla Epps joined Harper in double-digit scoring, getting 10 points herself. In the tense moments during tonight’s game, it seemed to be the two freshman that kept the Wildcats composed and giving them clutch, go-to baskets in transition.
The Blue Demons came out racing against the Wildcat, building as high as a 13 point lead in the first half, before Kentucky weathered the storm, settled down and got their offense in check. Without the ever steady Stallworth in the post, the Wildcats were sloppy, throwing the ball away 22 times, and those high turnover numbers helped DePaul hang around throughout the game. UK was able to pull away in the second half with some stronger defense and smarter offensive plays, though Mitchell will have plenty to teach on in practice before the next game.
The Cats return to action this Sunday afternoon at home against East Tennessee State. Tip off is at 2:00 PM in Memorial Coliseum. Be there.
Although not as rabid as others, Kentucky vs. North Carolina is still one of the best rivalries in college basketball. Few programs can match the history and tradition of the Cats and the Tarheels, who rank #1 and #3 in all-time wins. Both powerhouses were built by legendary coaches in Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith, on foundations like hard work and discipline. Dean Smith even wrote a book about how he shaped UNC’s program entitled “The Carolina Way,” featuring “leadership lessons from a lifetime of coaching.” UNC fans cling to The Carolina Way like a bible; for them, it’s right up there with Michael Jordan, argyle, and a good Chardonnay.
The Carolina blue sky has been pretty stormy these days. An academic scandal and NCAA eligibility issues have rocked Chapel Hill, leaving UNC fans grasping for their four corners. Not only is UNC one of the best public universities in the country, Dean Smith was vigilant about his players working hard in the classroom, which only underscores the hypocrisy of the academic fraud in the African and Afro-American Studies department. A fan base so proud and sure that they were doing things the right way, The Carolina Way, is now faced with the ultimate black mark: NCAA violations for the football team, and possibly more on the way for the holiest of all, the basketball team.
Yet still, North Carolina fans manage to keep their
noses heads in the air. I trudged through the sludge of the UNC message boards today to see how the Tarheels were feeling heading into Saturday’s game, and was shocked to see that, although their program is mired in scandal, they still manage to make Kentucky look like the bad guys. Here are a few of their comments, authors’ names omitted (I left the typos):
“What’s at stake? The soul of college basketball. I don’t think there’s a coach/team in college basketball that I despise more than the kitty cats. I loathe dook, but at least there’s a modest amount of respect there. UK is the worst.”
“Looking through might light blue glasses it has ALWAYS been Ky with the villains, Carloina with the good guys. NCAA notwithstanding, tis still so.
We really don’t like Dook, but, at least, they don’t cheat or owe their legacy to Rupp.”
“There is much that has been written about the history of these programs, with each winning so consistently over the decades. But nothing draws a sharper line between the programs than the contrast in their values. Carolina is the “win the right way” program. Kentucky is the “win at all costs” program. It is ironic that this game is played during a time when it is Carolina, not Kentucky, that is hampered by the amateur eligibility status of some key players. And that perceived cosmic unfairness raises the stakes even more.
Saturday will renew the debate behind the rivalry as disciples of each program will stake an interest in the good vs evil battle the game represents.”
With all of this in mind, let’s look at what I call “The New Carolina Way,” using Dean Smith’s core principles.
1. Play hard
“A police report says officers seized a 9mm handgun and ammunition when North Carolina’s leading scorer last season, P.J. Hairston, was arrested on a marijuana possession charge.
Durham police released the report Friday from the Wednesday night traffic stop when Hairston was arrested. Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael says the pistol was found on the ground outside the GMC Yukon during the search. Also seized were three cigars and a plastic baggie later determined to contain less than a half-ounce of marijuana.”
Guns, drugs, and cigars? These guys really do like to play hard.
2. Play smart
Do all of those things in a rental car so you won’t get caught.
Not so smart: Using a car rented by a convicted felon
North Carolina Tar Heels guard P.J. Hairston’s arrest on possession of marijuana charges June 5 came in a car rented to Haydn Thomas. Thomas, a convicted felon, shares an address with a woman who rented a car in which Hairston was cited for speeding in May, USA Today’s Eric Prisbell reported.
3. Play together
Tami Hansbrough, mother of Tyler and Ben Hansbrough, was forced to resign her position at UNC as major gifts officer after officials discovered she and chief fundraiser Matt Kupec were taking trips on the school’s dime to see her son Ben play for Notre Dame. The two were in a relationship.
4. Recruit the best
Roy Williams recruited Julius Randle just as hard as anyone, and even resorted to breaking out a box of 30 championship rings on an in-home visit to impress him and his mother, including Michael Jordan’s 1992 NBA championship ring, which Jordan lent Roy for the visit. Randle said that it was an “out of box” approach for Williams, and while the bling may have been impressive, in the end, Coach Cal and the red velvet cake won out.
The UNC academic fraud investigation found more than 50 courses that included phantom teachers or forged signatures on grade changes. Most of the students in those classes were either on the football or basketball team. The head of the department, Julius Nyang’oro, lost his job and could face up to 10 months in prison if convicted on felony fraud charges.
UNC cares so much for its student athletes that it eases their academic burden by placing them in classes they don’t even have to show up for to pass!
After three run-ins with the law, two while driving a car rented by a convicted felon, PJ Hairston has yet to play a game for North Carolina this season. Roy Williams suspended Hairston indefinitely on July 28th, but he eventually earned his way back on the team, only to be mysteriously held out of games, along with senior Leslie McDonald (more on that in a minute). There are rumors that the NCAA has already decided the two players’ fate, and UNC is in the process of appealing the decision.
While many coaches would dismiss Hairston for his track record of speeding, drug and gun possession, and using rental cars from sketchy people, Roy is keeping him on the team, or at the very least, the scout team.
7. Senior Leadership
UNC’s lone scholarship senior, Leslie McDonald, also faces NCAA eligibility issues for serving as an unofficial spokesman for a designer mouthguard company. McDonald was listed on Iceberg Guards’ website as a user of its products, and wore them in at least one game for the Tarheels, forcing UNC to send the company a cease-and-desist letter. Prior to the incident, McDonald said that the Carolina Way encouraged UNC student athletes to “uphold ourselves to a higher standard” and “do things the right way.”
Dean Smith would be so proud.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:04 pm
John Wall stopped by the NBA on TNT set to hang out with the guys and give his take on tonight’s game. Check out this candid and marvel at Shaq’s shiny suit.
Even John Wall has to put on makeup:
By John Dubya on ©8:00 pm
The shrinking student attendance issue has been a hot item around here in recent weeks and everybody’s weighing in—from the media, to the fans and of course the students themselves. But one particular demographic has been largely quiet, until now. I’m talking of course about the non-traditional student, or in this particular instance, the creepy old guy in one of your classes, Doug.
Sup KSR? This is Doug, fellow WildCard holder, separated father of two, blossoming philosopher/entrepreneur and all around easy goin’ dude. (I own a power washing service part-time so look me up on Bing if you got any stains—Doug’s Power Washing: “you buy the chemicals I bring the hose, or vice versa.” I also do internet digital marketing and plan to start my own digital enterprise soon as I get my MBA, just gotta get this bachelor’s out of the way first.) I was the original one-and-done. As in one semester—back in ’88 when livin’ was good and habits were bad. Let’s just say I got asked take a break from school for a while, get my mind right. Well life was cruisin’ along when I hit a little rough patch a couple years ago. Obama took my job away, the bank took my house and the wife took off with the kids to her sister’s place in Daytona for a while.
All that to say I’m back on campus crankin’ out my undergrad, workin’ hard playin’ hard, because it’s never too late to hit the reset button. Now, I’ve got freedom. I’ve got a soul patch in bloom. I’ve got a Plus Account. I’ve got the old van and an empty apartment to host study groups and parties and stuff. I just want to fit in and not be weird old guy that everyone thinks is a narc.
Anywho, this whole student attendance thing is a hot button around the quad these days so pardon me while I blow on it first…alright. So you got all these young perennials runnin’ around in yogi pants with their faces buried in their gadgets without a clue how easy they got it. Just look at some of the excuses being tossed around:
Hi-Def TV. Hey y’all, hop in my minivan and let’s take a ride while I tell you a little something about hi-definition. It’s called real life, right here in these eyes the Lord gave us and it looks better than anything you’ll see on your tablets. If we wanted to watch the Cats in hi-def back in ’88, hell we’d crank up some Mellencamp and burn a doob before going in.
No booze at the games. Kids, it’s called a flask. And I’ve always got some extra, just hop in the van.
Ticket lotto. Now Big Doug knows a thing or two about the lotto and here’s the bottom line: somebody’s gotta win, may as well be you. Back in ’88 we’d have to get in line at the ticket office first thing Monday morning. Tickets didn’t go on sale ’til Friday. Oh, what’s that? The seats aren’t primo? Well isn’t that just a tragedy, you poor poor victims of circumstance. Back in ’88 I had to watch the Indiana-Kentucky game in row UU with my boy Beans sitting on my shoulders. Now Beans was a big boy, gassy as all get-out and we got blown the hell out, but we were there, man. We were there.
The team’s not good enough. Hey y’all, this is Kentucky. You keep waiting for that good football team train to pull into the station…I’ll be in Commonwealth watchin’ college football with my hot dates, gettin’ frisky feelin’ tipsy and singin’ Mony Mony like there’s no tomorrow.
I hate to throw my classmates under the bus. You old hats, you have no idea what us college students nowadays are facin’. What with the excessive tuition hikes and mounting student debt, diminishing career opportunities, vegan diets and peanut allergies. It’s a bitch, man. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of Big Blue die-hards runnin’ around campus but the game’s done changed. We used to look at crammin’ into the nosebleeds at Rupp Arena as a privilege, not a hassle. Saturdays in the Fall were once a chance for students to escape the couch, maybe even burn it, not an invitation to stay in and sit on it snappin’ pictures of yourself.
My fellow students, as a grown ass man that’s seen some things, take this piece of advice from Uncle Doug: do everything. This is your chance. You’re in college and you’re expected to get out of line from time to time. You’re supposed to get out and try things, go places and do just about everything but sit around drinking and watching the TV. Trust me, you’ll have every day of the rest of your life for that.
With Big Blue Regards,
Julius Randle is the next in line to write a blog entry for CoachCal.com. Kentucky’s star forward put the pen to the pad, or the fingers to the keyboard, to tell us all about life on the road in Brooklyn and in Dallas, his hometown. There are little nuggets in there that’ll make you like him even more, if that’s possible, as he mentions his time in chapel before games and what he does when he’s not playing basketball.
I like how he described the weather in Dallas last weekend. “I don’t know what that was,” he said. “I know I’m home, but am I back home?”
He also writes about his excitement to play on the road at North Carolina and Coach Cal, the New York City tour guide.