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Leap Day’s News and Views


Put on your yellow and blue, it’s Leap Day!

Leap Day has always been one of those cultural oddities that I’ve found very easy to ignore. The only time you ever hear about it is when it happens or someone you know was born on Leap Day. Actually, if there are any “leap babies” out there, I’d like to know how they feel about leap years…do they get tired of the jokes about how they’re really only a fourth of their actual age or does it make them feel special? For those of you who don’t already have your Leap Day party wear out, here’s a quick refresher: Leap Year occurs every four years and is our way of synchronizing the calendar year with the astronomical/seasonal year. Sometimes it just seems like a trick. For example, come to the Land of Make Believe with me for a moment (where every year is Leap Year!): if Kentucky played a game tonight, and it was Cal’s 600th win, ten bucks says the NCAA would find a way to vacate the win on account of it being on Leap Day.

The only thing odder than Leap Day is its traditions. You “30 Rock” fans will know the legend of Leap Day William, the fictional folk hero who emerges every four years to encourage people to do things they normally wouldn’t (“Real life starts in March!”–a mantra I fully support). In Ireland, legend says that on Leap Day, women are supposed to propose to men as a way to “balance the traditional roles of men and women,” and any man who receives a proposal must accept it. So ladies, throw caution to the wind and go propose to your beloved…just realize that Kentucky is not Utah, so Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can only have one wife.

Leap Day News and Views!

– On Tuesday evening, Coach Cal felt it was time to touch base with the fans after a recent wave of media backlash over his comments about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist coming back to school. Cal said that he felt his remarks about Michael having to convince him it was a good idea for him to return and not enter the draft were misunderstood, and wanted to clear the air that had been kicked up by certain, most assuredly local, media members. Drew touched on this earlier, but Cal’s piece is essentially a critique of the current one-and-done rule (which he reminds everyone he doesn’t believe in), a defense of his “players-first” program, and what he suggests Billy Hunter and the NBA Players Association do to fix the system. To anyone who’s been listening, Cal has been adamant about the pitfalls of the one-and-done system, and insists he is only helping his players reach their dream with all the options in front of them, something he has preached for years. The fact is, some members of the media are lazy, and instead of doing their job and letting go of their preconceived notions that Cal and Kentucky are an “one-and-done factory,” they linger in stereotypes and snobbery. Cal is many things–boastful, bold, and yes, sometimes maybe a little too full of swagger–but he does his job and he does it well. Sometimes I wish people would just focus on that.

– Thursday is fast approaching, which means it’s time for Eloy Vargas and Darius Miller to burst through their paper hula hoops and try not to cry during “My Old Kentucky Home” (a task at which I will fail miserably). Both Vargas and Miller have become fan favorites, Eloy for his centaur-like posture and gait, and Miller for being a homegrown Kentucky boy that survived the program’s dark days of Billy Gillispie. Miller in particular has become absolutely clutch late in games this season, hitting a stone-cold 15-20 field goals and 13-14 free throws when an opponent is within five with ten minutes left (h/t to Kyle Tucker for that fun fact). Miller’s career has never been easy; the former Kentucky Mr. Basketball came onto the team as a highly-regarded recruit, only to play for a coach with, shall we say, questionable coaching techniques that almost broke several players’ spirits. After Billy was fired and Coach Cal swept in with his number-one-ranked class of recruits, Darius could have easily transferred and gotten a fresh start elsewhere, but instead he stood firm in his commitment to the Cats, choosing to take his chances and learn from Cal, even if it meant fighting freshmen for playing time. In fact, Darius started for each of Cal’s teams at Kentucky, and has only more recently embraced the role as “sixth-man,” although I would argue he is much, MUCH more clutch than that term implies. Unfortunately, that progression has not always been smooth, with Darius occasionally drawing ire from fans for his tendency to slip into passive play during games (“Disappearius” if you will), but on his Senior Night, it’s hard to think of a player more loyal than Darius Miller.

– Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Eloy. We’ve already posted a tribute to the beloved transfer, written by KSR College’s Kristen Geil, and I’m sure more will come in over the next few days. Centaur jokes aside, Eloy has put together a decent career at Kentucky, providing a presence in the middle off the bench and giving Davis a breather when need be. Although Cal says he has received interest from NBA scouts who see him as a Josh Harrellson-type backup, Eloy will have to step it up in the postseason and UK’s “Pro Day” to find a home in the big league, or at the very least, abroad. Maybe he’ll end up playing pro-ball in Greece, where he can spend time looking at ruins, drinking olive oil, and trotting around with the other centaurs.

– I promise I’m almost done with the sappy stuff (I’ll save the playing of Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” for later). Tywanna Patterson sat down with Larry Vaught to discuss her favorite memories from her son Patrick’s “senior day” (he graduated as a junior). Tywanna is a character, and has never shied away from sharing her opinions, so it’s a fun read. In fact, here’s my favorite snippet, in which Tywanna shares some advice for Darius and his parents:

“Enjoy each and every moment of Senior Night. It is Darius and their family’s night to be acknowledged and to stand before BBN and be recognized and honored. I am getting emotional just thinking about it. I know I will cry just as I did with Patrick. There is still much to do after UK basketball. The sky is the limit. Darius will have his degree and the NBA is waiting as well. So many more opportunities and they can always come back for games at UK as Buster and I do. Once UK … always UK … the door remains open and we are here for them whenever they need us. WOW! Time has flown by, but lots of good memories. Go CATS and Go BBN!!”

Once a Wildcat mamma, always a Wildcat mamma, Tywanna.

– I’m not going to say Georgia beating Kentucky on Senior Night would be impossible, but it would pretty darn difficult. Even a big win over Florida on Saturday couldn’t bolster Mark Fox’s hopes, as the Georgia head coach said on Monday that the Bulldogs would “have to play, extremely, extremely well to have a chance to win the game.” I expect the Cats to take care of business and fine tune everything before a big road trip to Gainesville on Sunday.

– The race for Player of the Year is essentially down to two players: Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson. The Dagger’s Jeff Eisenberg does a side-by-side comparison of the two, and on paper, it is still extremely close. However, stats don’t measure Davis’ ability to completely alter a game before it’s even begun, which I think has to give him the edge over Robinson.

– Our old buddy Pat Forde felt the need to stir things up on Tuesday and dedicated a good portion of his weekly Yahoo! column on the topic of whether or not Kentucky would benefit from a loss before the NCAA Tournament. Shockingly, he thinks they would, pointing to two prior teams (the ’96 Cats and the ’80 Cardinals) who were “toughened up” by late season losses. Also shockingly, I don’t agree with him. After the Indiana loss and the subsequent games in which Kentucky flailed around before finding their groove in late January, sure, one final “gimme” loss before the tournament wouldn’t have seemed like a big deal, but this team is on another level right now. Like many have argued, needing to lose implies that something needs to be corrected, but what exactly is so bad about how this team’s playing right now? They seems plenty focused to me, and as we’ve seen in road wins over Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, it’s not exactly in their nature to give up when things get tough.

– The most outrageous part of Kyle Wiltjer and Jarrod Polson’s behind-the-scenes tour of the Joe Craft Center? The fact that Eloy Vargas dunked on Anthony Davis for the latest Helmet Award. Go, Eloy!

– Congratulations to KSR pal Josh Hopkins, who was cast in the upcoming NBC pilot, “Lady Friends,” which as you would expect, is about two lady friends who “are living very different lives but can’t live without each other.” Hopkins plays one of the ladies’ husbands. The role is basically insurance if “Cougar Town” isn’t renewed for a fourth season, which is still a possibility. I was really hoping we’d get to see Josh in a more “manly” named sitcom, but if it means we get to see him onscreen throwing up three goggles, I’m all for it.

– Recruiting news! According to Scout.com, Nerlens Noel has narrowed his list to Kentucky, Georgetown, Syracuse, UConn, and North Carolina; which means Florida and Providence have been dropped.

Rumors are rumbling around the interwebs about the release of an expose of the UCLA Basketball program by Sports Illustrated on Wednesday morning. In fact, UCLA head coach Ben Howland confirmed the existence of an article, which SportsbyBrooks claims concerns alleged marijuana usage by at least three then-current players who have since departed the program. Needless to say, the article and allegations could play a major role in the Bruins’ recruitment of Shabazz Muhammad, and sources say UCLA has hired a crisis communication firm to help them with the situation.

That’ll do for now. Matt and company take the ‘waves at 10 a.m. See you then.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR.

47 responses to “Leap Day’s News and Views”

  1. DowntownShown

    FIRST. Bring on #8. Can’t wait for Miller Sr. night. I will be out of town in Pikeville, KY watching and routing on our CATS at AZUL GRANDE, best Mexican food around….

  2. Old Man Sleeping In Lower Arena

    Daytona 500 over yet?

  3. tsmithpage

    Florida goes down to Vandy tonight and needs a win against UK to avoid a 3 game losing streak. Is Florida’s loss good for UK, bad, or we are so good it doesn’t much matter?

  4. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?

    Don’t hurt ‘em, D!

  5. ukfan

    no birthday shoutout for our point guard?

  6. Reality Is

    UCLA should hire a crisis firm everytime one of their games are televised.

  7. UKfanFelicia

    Just seen an ESPN commerical using the UK/IU game, I hate it

  8. lexslamman

    College kids smoke pot? SHOCKING!

  9. Coal keeps the lights on

    For real I beet 90% of people trashing these kids out have smoked a big J when they were that age and. The other 10% are lying their 18-21 year old kids find anther story

  10. Guest

    1 – El Poncho is terrible.

  11. SeaBlue

    Nice Tyler, especially the last paragraph.
    the future/recruiting sells

  12. Jerry Tipton's glass eyball

    If anything this UCLA story will make their recruiting alot easier. Most of these players would LOVE to go to a school were they could smoke weed all day and not get in trouble.

  13. Brink

    7 its been on for a month now….be glad you just now saw it

  14. Buckets

    I don’t think anyone realizes yet how much Darius will be missed. There will be a game this tournament where he will be called upon to put the team on his back, and he will deliver. I’d bet on it. And then we’ll hang No. 8. And when we raise No. 8 when next season begins, we should raise Tony Delk’s number to the rafters along with it.

    Go Cats!

  15. Smokey

    Weed? Thats not article worthy. Especially not in California. I sure hope the articles jucier than some grass clippings.

  16. BigBlueJon

    Kudos the Hoosiers for beating MSU. I hate to admit it, but they’ve got one hell of a home court advantage. Too bad they don’t play like that into road. Hope to God we get another crack at em in the tournament.

  17. soggyUKgrad

    #6, that is hilarious!!…I agree! how does Howland convince top talent to go there?!?…”kid, if you come here, you can play in front of 8,000 fans and play at a tempo that is lucky to score 60 points per game.”

  18. bbn4ever

    I really do hope all this talk over mkg staying or leaving doesn’t become a disstraction for the team!! Know mkg was just answering a question he was asked, damn reporters always looking too stir the pot!! Save those questions until after the season is over, if these damn reporters have nothing better to ask these kids then there asses need to take a seat and byedamn just enjoy the ride like the rest of us!! 1 of the greatest seasons and teams i have ever witnessed and thats still not enough to keep the media busy!!!

  19. bama_cat

    all the “need to lose” stuff is bs. teams that need to lose are very talented teams that are getting by on sheer talent. teams that need to realize that their talent can be matched by a good gameplan and execution. well guess what? this team realized that. they lost a game in the worst way possible (christian laettner? er, watford, sorry), by a good gameplan, and by indiana playing outta their heads. this team has proven and shown the will that they do not WANT to lose. don’t get me wrong, we have LOADS of talent but we are not just ho-humming along winning games like unlv back in the day. we don’t have that kind of talent against lesser opponents. we go into away arenas and get challenged. go down by 13 because of RIDICULOUS execution by miss st. and what happened? or, better yet, who won? this team that does not want to lose.

    florida away will def be a challenge. sec tourney, anything can happen. ncaa tourney, multiple miracles happen every year. but this team felt defeat, didn’t like it, and simply doesn’t want to feel it again. might it be different if indiana would have just beat us by 10 instead of a last second moonball? maybe. but that’s not what happened. the point is these guys dont need to lose sh*t. they have been there and its part of the pieces as to what they are now, the best team we have seen since 98.

    god forbid anything can happen but its more than talent with these boys. they are ready to take us on a ride from nola, to louisville, to catlanta, and back to nola, enjoy it.

  20. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?

    This is what it comes down to: if MKG decides to stay, Shabazz will probably go to Kansas and be Xavier Henry for a year. If MKG leaves, Shabazz dominates in Lexington. No way he goes to UCLA after this. I just read the article, and I doubt Howland makes it through this. I don’t see MKG staying and Shabazz joining, however.

  21. Dave in Kabul

    Read the comments section of the SbB article. It’s freakin’ hilarious.

  22. BigBlueSkyDog

    When Darius stands at center court, the band should play “We Shall Overcome” as well as “My Old Kentucky Home”. He had to overcome a psychotic coach in Clyde and with Cal’s help has made himself a really good basketball player. If Jorts can become a late 2nd rounder maybe Darius, after cutting down the nets in NO, could be a late first round draft pick.

  23. Jim

    That one point loss to Indiana on the road (on a last second 3 pt shot) doesn’t look so bad now. Michigan State got spanked.

  24. Dee

    Georgia head coach said on Monday that the Bulldogs would “have to pay, extremely, extremely well to have a chance to win the game.” Freudian slip???

    (Yes I know it’s just a typo)

  25. Axe Cop

    Marijuana use by college kids is a bombshell article?

  26. Pnic

    Eloy might be more T-Rex then centaur.

  27. stevie

    #19, Miller has already said that the loss to Indiana is fresh in their minds. They can’t get the taste of that defeat out of their mouth. This team has already had its strategic awakening. I would think that a loss at this point would be troubling.

  28. GrumpyOldDude

    AD was down on Dickie V’s poll by 800+ yesterday morning….now ahead by 1100+….well done, BBN.

  29. benny17

    The thing about Robinson is he takes about 4.5 more shots per game. If Davis shot that many more times per game and hit his 65% that would be like 5.5 more points per game making him avg.19+ ppg. Just saying u have to look at shots per game.

  30. SexnNursinHomes

    Weed? Ya’ll are in here for weed???

  31. REAL BLY

    best part of Eloy…is his name!! Leroy…Eloy…it’s fun to say!!!

  32. wildcat_marine

    What were you on when you wrote this? (I’ve only read the opening so far)

  33. Bob Knight

    If ___________ loses to Georgia on Thursday, Florida on Sunday and fails to win the SEC tournament, the team will get a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

  34. flipisatrip

    Marijuana use going to damage a program? dumb as h3ll. why u think terrance jones took off running earlier this year?

  35. WildCat Keesy

    Who is the random girl in the Pool Room,w/ Kyle and Jarrod in doing the video the video?

  36. Hoss

    19- what’s SO funny about you and Matt and every other yahoo screaming about how a loss won’t help- is that as soon as UK loses early, this proposed loss will take on perfect focus in hindsight.

    I mean, not many people give a crap either way, me included… but to vehemently take a side on such a slight issue is effing hilarious to me.

  37. Kidnut

    Pat Forde failed to recognize at least 63 other teams each year get “toughened” up by a late season loss and fail to win the tournament. I do agree that it can refocus a team, but does UK need that refocus…not sure.

  38. PACatFan

    Might as well drop UCONN from his list, unless he doesn’t want to go to the NCAA tourney next year.

  39. Edward R. Snow

    Why are my comments ALWAYS awaiting moderation? I don’t use any bad words, and they STLL delete them. WTH???

  40. pete

    There’s a lot of mediocre posts on this site. This is not one of them. Kudos, Ms. Tyler. Eloy in Greece with the centaurs just gave me a six pack from laughing!

  41. Al's IndiCats

    Forde always has a way of talking out the other side of his body. (ARSE) The guy has jumped on so many bandwagons he has splinters and tire tracks all over his body because he jumps on them at the wrong time…AND MISSES! Just like most of what he writes. To listen to him and believing in what Forde says is like trying to play Hockey with a straw, just not gonna happen. Winning tight games, builds Character, not losing. But seriously what would you expect, Forde’s been a loser most of his adult life, so he must spew his venom for all his naive readers….UofLoserville fans!

  42. DY

    Anybody catch Bob Knight on Mike & Mike this morning? What a joke! You can almost hear the fear in Greenys voice. Knight talked quite a bit about Syracuse as a title contender. Didnt’ mention UK or anyone else for that matter. Does he even have a wife? I can’t imagine what she’s had to put up with over the years.

  43. RickyPRetirementTour

    I think that you mean that Miller and Eloy will burst through their hoops on Wednesday, not Thursday. Vandy plays on Thursdays.

  44. NYCAT

    The pot scandal at UCLA will just make shabazz want to go there duh, i would

  45. Cal's Pal

    My mother and brother were both born on Leap Year. Right here in Lex. Odds are 1 in 1 million.Crazy stuff

  46. Chevrolet Lacetti

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  47. realfanman

    anyone know what time senior festivities start?