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A few tidbits on a late night:
(1): I spent a good part of tonight doing some filmwork for Coachcal.com at the UK student lottery and one thing was abundantly clear…the UK fanbase is energized. Memorial Coliseum was packed with students utilizing the lottery to try and get tickets to see the Cats play against Louisville on January 2. As we interviewed various students in the line, the crowd kept growing and one person familiar with the process told me that it may have been the largest crowd for the event in many years. This follows a general buzz that we have seen throughout the fanbase since the North Carolina game that suggests the basketball program is back as the #1 priority on most Kentuckians’ minds.
(2): Of course the next step for the Cats is the game on Wednesday against UCONN in New York. There are a number of subplots in the game, but two have stood out to me over the last couple of days. First, is the statement by Stanley Robinson, in which he called Demarcus Cousins an arrogant player and suggested that his talent wasnt deserving of his arrogance. Cousins surely knows about the comments at this point, and it will be interesting to see if he uses them as a positive or a negative in the upcoming game. Also interesting to me is the fact that this game puts two coaches against each other who really are not fond of each other. The Calhoun-Calipari rivalry is long and bitter, and may be a bigger display of dislike than the more ballyhooed rivalries with Pitino and Pearl. Enjoy this game, because my guess is that we wont see a regular season matchup between the two programs again for some time.
Some fans are already ready
(3): Good news for football continued, as Randall Cobb was named First Team All SEC today by the AP, in the “utility” player category. This slot is usually reserved for the player that does it all on the field and Cobb certainly fits that role perfectly. While Cobb was the only first team member, Sam Maxwell, Derrick Locke and Corey Peters were all named second team All SEC, showcasing the depth of UK’s talent this year. Going into the year, it was assumed that all awards would come to Trevard Lindley or Micah Johnson, but due to injuries for both, other players stepped up and won the awards. It showcases how the talent is much more spread out now in the Rich Brooks era, than what we were used to in the past.
(4): A quick shout for the news of yet another football commitment, Brice Laughlin of South Carolina. The Defensive Tackle orginially committed to Ralph “Refrigerator” Friedgen and his change represents yet another positive step in the recruiting game from Joker Phillips and the UK staff in recent weeks. Just a couple of weeks ago, the 2010 class looked relatively barren and there was open questioning as to what the staff was doing and whether its vaunted “new” strategy of going after top targets would be a bust. But now a few days later, three 3 star or better commitments have come on board and some other top guys are looking UK’s way. Joker and company may be pulling another rabbit out of the hat.
Everyone is doing the Wall Dance
I leave in the morning to head to New York City for the big game against UCONN. I will be doing the occasional report from the Big Apple, but the crew here will be holding down the fort over the next two days. Stay tuned for all the news and the comments tomorrow from Calipari and Calhoun…they may be better than your regular run-of-the-mill pre-game coach comments.