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On Thursday, CBS announced that they’ve chosen Stephen Colbert to fill David Letterman’s shoes on “The Late Show” when Letterman retires next year. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Colbert is the host of Comedy Central’s satirical news show “The Colbert Report,” in which he plays a conservative political pundit. Colbert got his start on “The Daily Show,” and started his spin-off in 2005 to wild success. I’ll be honest–I’m much more of a Jon Stewart gal than a Colbert gal, but I’ve watched off and on for years and always enjoyed it.
Colbert will NOT be doing “The Late Show” in character, so it’ll be refreshing to see a new side of him. Stewart thinks he’ll be a “remarkable” host, telling Vulture that Colbert has “gears he hasn’t even shown people yet.” He’s already making the right moves, saying in a statement that it’s an honor to get the nod, but please excuse him while he goes and grinds a gap in his teeth.
Congrats to Colbert, and since I mentioned the word “political” in this post, I’m sure the comments section will be fun.
Let’s get on to the news of the day…
The players head home to make their decisions
On Thursday, we didn’t hear any news about the players and their NBA decisions, but we did find out that several of them are headed home this weekend to discuss their plans with their families. Julius Randle and James Young posted on Twitter that they’re going home, and with only a limited amount of time left before they have to decide, others are likely doing the same.
Hopefully, on Monday, we’ll start to have a clearer picture of who stays and who goes.
If the season started now, Jalen Whitlow would be your starter
Mark Stoops came on Kentucky Sports Radio this morning to discuss spring practice, and the biggest nugget of information he gave us is if the season started right now, Jalen Whitlow would be the starting quarterback: “If we had to play tomorrow, Jalen would be the guy.” He added that while all of the quarterbacks have shown “flashes” of greatness in practice, none have been consistent enough, nor have they separated themselves from the pack to make the decision as easy as the coaches would like.
Stoops said that Kentucky’s skill players are “much better than they were a year ago,” mentioning Ryan Timmons, Jeff Badet, and JoJo Kemp as standouts. Josh Clemons is also healthy again, and Stoops said that he can definitely be a contributor if he can stay that way. Stoops added that transfer RB Braylon Heard is “gonna be a very good player,” and he looks forward to seeing him perform “when the bullets are flying.” On the defensive side, Stoops singled out defensive tackle Regie Meant as a player showing a lot of promise this spring, and said the defensive line is the strongest and deepest position right now. Here’s a scary and exhilarating comment: Stoops said that Za’Darius Smith has gotten even bigger and stronger in the offseason. “He’s even bigger than he was a year ago,” Stoops said. “He’s looking good, believe me. I just came from Florida State, I know what good looking players look like.”
I hear Nosilla Draw says the same thing to her friends all time time.
Listen to Stoops’ entire interview here:
How long has Jon Hood been at Kentucky? This photo sums it up
Hood lined up all of his UK jerseys from the past five years that would fit into the frame. What’s your favorite?
The Masters is the perfect way to recover from the National Championship loss
Even though Tiger’s not playing, I’m still watching the Masters, if only for the soothing music, hushed voices, and gentle clapping. So far, it’s been the perfect post traumatic therapy for the National Championship loss, especially because of the naps. Nothing is better than a Masters nap.
Nerlens Noel celebrates his birthday by playing bingo at St. Jude’s
How did Nerlens Noel spend his birthday? Playing bingo with the kids at St. Jude’s hospital while the 76ers were in town to play the Grizzlies. Philly’s equipment manager Scott Rego tweeted the picture above Thursday night, yet another reminder of how special Nerlens is. Happy birthday, big fella.
KSR will be live from Keeneland in the morning for Mark Stoops’ Makers Mark bottle signing
Mark Stoops will be at Keeneland starting at 6:30 in the morning to sign his Makers Mark bottles for fans. If you didn’t pick up your ticket for the event on Thursday, you’re out of luck, but KSR will be live on the scene starting at 10 a.m., so Matt and Ryan will bring you all the updates your heart desires.
See you in the morning.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 10th, 2014 @ 9:30pm
Excerpts from John Calipari’s new book, “Players First,” continue to trickle out, and in the latest released to The Wall Street Journal, Cal compares the NCAA to the crumbling Soviet Union. Yes, really:
“The situation reminds me a little of the Soviet Union in its last years. It was still powerful. It could still hurt you. But you could see it crumbling, and it was just a matter of time before it either changed or ceased to exist.”
In a chapter entitled “At War? Common Sense Versus the NCAA,” Cal outlines a 13-step plan to reform college athletics, including increasing the stipend for athletes from $3,000 to $5,000, the NCAA covering eligible players’ insurance premiums and allowing them to accept loans against future earnings, doing away with the one-year transfer sit out period, and giving players money to pay for a flight home each year and formal attire to wear to games.
In fact, Cal says he’s presented these suggestions to the NCAA, only to be turned away:
“I think we could have gotten somewhere with me as the point man, but the NCAA was not interested in my help,” he writes. “The message I got, between the lines, was, ‘No, not you. Not Calipari. We don’t want him involved.’“
There’s a ton more, including Cal’s “common sense” initiative, which you can read about over at The Wall Street Journal.
If the Harrison twins decide to enter the 2014 NBA Draft in the coming weeks, UK may have to work quickly to fill the backcourt if Calipari deems additional depth is necessary to succeed next season. With the guards from the high school ranks that could make an immediate impact already committed, Kentucky’s only option will be the players eligible to play immediately as graduate transfers. While there are a host of quality players looking to transfer that would have to wait out a season (notably Eron Harris of West Virginia), there are very few graduate transfers that Kentucky could play immediately. The only real option for UK is UNLV’s leading scorer from last season, Bryce Dejean-Jones.
The 6’5″ shooting guard originally went to Southern Cal as a highly touted recruit, but he immediately ran into issues ranging from dismissal by the school, complaints about playing time, and altercations with teammates. He transferred to UNLV and played fairly well, but was suspended for the last game of the regular season for undisclosed reasons. These two cases raise some red flags that Dejean-Jones could very well be a toxic player in the locker room, but tougher cases than BDJ have seen dramatic turnarounds in the past when they are given their final chance with the graduate transfer rule.
Dejean-Jones is making his first visit to Iowa State, a team with a knack for having success with transfers. They turned Deandre Kane into a star this season and will likely be making that pitch to Dejean-Jones on his visit. If Dejean-Jones waits long enough on his decision for the Twins to determine their status for next season, it’s very likely that he would make a visit to UK. Perhaps a strong personality like Calipari could be the voice of reason to keep Dejean-Jones from falling into past mistakes.
The other possible option with Dejean-Jones is that he will select to play professionally overseas. With the problems he has had in the college landscape, playing pro across the Atlantic might be the most plausible option. However, the departure of the Twins would leave a depleted backcourt at UK that BDJ could fill in quite nicely.
Happy 20th birthday to one of our favorite Cats, Nerlens Noel. While Nerlens had hoped to make his NBA debut this season, it looks like the 76ers are in no rush to get him on the court, especially with only a handful of games left in the season. However, Nerlens told reporters on Tuesday that his knee is back to 100%, and he’s added three inches to his vertical leap, an astounding feat after tearing his ACL last year. He added that he’s “very encouraged” by the progress he’s made this week, and is trying to be patient with his return:
“I am very encouraged,” Noel said. “Through the past year since I had my injury, I have pushed myself through thick and thin and I’ve had some struggles and I’ve just stayed with it.
To honor Noel, I came up with my 10 favorite Nerlens moments:
10. Dancing with the campers at Cal’s Pro Camp
Nerlens came back to campus in July to help out with Cal’s pro camps, and because he’s Nerlens, couldn’t help but cut up with the campers.
9. His suit at the Draft
Nerlens told UK fans he’d have a surprise for them at the draft, and once his name was called, he opened his suit jacket to reveal his jersey sewn inside the lining. What an awesome way to honor the Cats.
8. The time he put his you-know-whats on that poor Auburn kid’s head
7. When he did it again vs. Alabama
6. The hair
With most of us thinking he was headed to Georgetown, Nerlens shocked the BBN by committing to Kentucky in a way only Nerlens could: by shaving the school’s logo into his hair.
5. The Nerlens Noel Christmas Carol
Nerlens didn’t make this, but it’s still awesome.
4. All of those good deeds
If I listed all of Nerlens Noel’s good deeds individually, this would look even more like one of those ridiculous BuzzFeed articles. So, for brevity’s sake, I’ll round most of them up here. Whereas most kids his age like to spend their free time playing video games, chasing girls, or buying shoes, Nerlens goes to nursing homes, children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. to give back to the community. What 20-year-old kid does that??
3. His 12 blocks against Ole Miss
Nerlens set a single-game record for blocks with 12 against Ole Miss. He finished third in the UK record book for the most blocked shots in a season with 105, behind Anthony Davis and Willie Cauley-Stein. Remember, he only played 24 games.
2. His recreation of Anthony Davis’ commercial
While in town for the UK/Florida game, Nerlens made a detour from Rupp and recreated Anthony Davis’ Kids Foot Locker commercial with some area kids. Love.
1. When he took 7-year-old Kelly Melton to the Derby
I’ve already mentioned how often Nerlens gives back to the community, and the most touching of these moments for me was when he took 7-year-old Kelly Melton to the Kentucky Derby. Melton is diagnosed with leukemia, and got the red carpet treatment at the Derby thanks to Nerlens. Even thinking about it makes me tear up.
Happy birthday, Nerlens. They don’t make many like you.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, so add your favorite Nerlens moment in the comments section.
Kentucky football tweeted out this photo today to remind fans of the Blue-White spring game coming up. The game will be played Saturday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m. in Commonwealth Stadium. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com with reserved seating in the lower level and general admission seats in the north upper level. Tickets are free but there is a small service charge per ticket — claim yours today!
16 days away…
Even though the Dallas Mavericks were out of town last weekend, the Cats visited their locker room and posed in front of Dirk Nowitzki’s locker. Dirk is a self-proclaimed UK fan who says that had he gone to college, he would have gone to Kentucky, and had he been in town, he said he would have been at UK’s games cheering for the Cats.
Well, it turns out the team left him a present. Check out this picture John Calipari posted of Dirk wearing his very own “Succeed and Proceed” t-shirt:
As someone who loves Dirk, this made me go…