After ten days away from UK land, I am ready to get back into it and see what has happened. The reality is that very little went by since I left on May 18th, but from what has, a couple of thoughts:
— The schedule changes by Calipari ended up doing what I thought they would, providing UK with the best non-conference schedule in America for the forseeable future. Kentucky has added a home game versus Baylor this year, followed by what amounts to a neutral site game versus the Bears next year. I am not sure how Calipari got Baylor to agree to that, but more power to him. Then the announcement of the renewal of the North Carolina series (which was only postponed a year so that UK could play a road game at UNC on different years than when they are at Louisville) and a possible series with Duke are also both great additions. The last is particularly intriguing as it could end up quickly becoming the biggest non-conference game in college basketball every season. A source tells KSR that UK and Duke are considering playing at locations all over the country and marketing the game as an event every season. Possibilities include playing it in historic locations like Madison Square Garden or NBA Arenas as in LA. Or the game might actually be at the site of that year’s Final Four, allowing the venue to go through a test run of such a basketball game and both teams being able to play on the court where the title game will take place. Either way, if that game occurs, it will be a college basketball superstar event year in and year out…and that is nothing but positive for UK basketball marketing, especially when conference play provides few such opportunities. Even after all the whining from media and some fans about the UK schedule, here is where it stands for the next two seasons as of now:
at Big East opponent
Big East opponent at home
What you are left with is a solid schedule this year (I will make you a bet that there will be fewer than 3 teams in the Top 25 with five scheduled non-conference games versus BCS opponents) and a MONSTER haul in 2013-2014 when UK should be loaded. Indiana who?
— As for the Big East road game this season, I expect Kentucky will end up on the road in South Bend to play Notre Dame. Georgetown was thought to be the pick, but scheduling issues with their arena made the lineup change. While it is not done yet, most talk seems to be a game at Notre Dame, the first such trip since Billy Clyde kicked Jodie Meeks off the team in the NIT in his final game.
— It looks as if, barring a major change, UK recruiting is probably done for 2012. Montrezl Harrell and UK never got off the ground as the relationship between Harrell and the former coach of his former school makes Louisville the likely destination, giving them their 24th player. Kentucky had interest in Harrell, but their sights are focused on 2013, where they could get 4 or 5 of the top 10 players in the class, an unfathomable and unprecedented haul. Kentucky will probably keep an eye on Tony Trocha, the Colombian player who is attempting to reclassify to 2012, but as with Harrell, the options for 2013 are so strong, that it would surprise me a bit if it got very far between the two parties.
— Along those lines, I have had three basketball people I respect (as opposed to others like BTI or The Truth) who have told me repeatedly, “dont sleep on Willie Cauley.” A couple had heard me say on the radio that UK would have a six man rotation next year with the addition of Julius Mays, but these basketball folks disagree with me. As one told me last week, “Cauley is farther along than Eloy Vargas. Remember this is a kid who was an all-state Wide receiver in Kansas…that means he can run, jump and catch and he wont be some awkward kid who can’t play.” It is easy to forget that Cauley was a consensus top 50 player last year as well. He is no slouch, and from now on, taking the advice of these oracles, I will say Kentucky has a seven man rotation (at least, pending any development from Hood or Twany) next season.
I will have more on radio tomorrow as we get ready to get our week rolling after the holiday. We will have coverage of UK baseball in the NCAA Tournament from Gary, Indiana and get out basketball recruiting for 2013 rolling. Over the next month, we will be going to two AAU Tournaments, the NBA Summer league, a baseball road trip and maybe the Olympic team training with Anthony Davis. It will be fun and as KSR in summer begins, that means info mixed with a bit more ridiculousness than usual. Hope you will enjoy.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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