Today marks the beginning of one of the more underrated events in sports, at least on the American side, the European Soccer Championships, otherwise known as Euro 2012. For the next month, every afternoon your television will be full of soccer and if you aren’t careful, you might actually get into it. It happened to me in 2004, when I lived in Washington DC and was just a block away from a local sports bar. There, every day at noon, the place would fill up with Europeans of whatever two countries were playing, to watch their teams in the tournament. IT was one of the more fun atmospheres I have ever seen in sports. Each day, individuals would show up dressed in their countries’ colors and flags, and proceed to get absolutely sloshed while watching their team. By the end of the game, the place was rowdy, fights were common and the excitement was palpable. When England lost to France on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, I witnessed an all-out brawl between five fans, ending with an Englishman being dragged away crying, while his friend consoled him by saying, “it’s ok, he will never win in the end because we are ENGLISH!” The excitment may not be as great for you on your couch, but if you don’t work, have plans in the afternoon or friends who want to see you, turn the games on. I bet you like them.
Ten quick hitters from the day:
1. Today was the NBA Combine in Chicago and as usual, the Kentucky guys were the story. The six former Cats used the time as a reunion, with media reporting that they joked and laughed the entire day. Most everyone around the event suggested that Kentucky will certainly get 4 First round picks, will probably see 5, and may even see 6. If the latter happens, it will be the first time in the history of the league and yet another “Best Day in the History of Kentucky Basketball” (and yes, for those that say I never criticize Calipari, I have always thought that comment was ridiculous).
2. The winner of the day may have been Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who didn’t even actually participate in workouts. MKG met with the media and after telling him that he had missed them (I dont believe this one bit), he then charmed everyone by talking about his goals in the league. He said that he worried he would spend a lot of nights crying during the season if drafted by a losing team, but that he would nevertheless give maximum effort at all times. It is also worth nothing that everyone involved noticed what was already starting to show at the end of last season, mainly that MKG as a public speaker has improved exponentially. Kudos to him for overcoming some of his early struggles. A truly great kid.
3. Doron Lamb compared his game to NBA legends and said he planned on being a combination of Penny Hardaway and Paul Pierce. High standards for our man Doron, but we all should aim high, which is why everyday I am the radio equivalent of a combination of Chris Cross, Don Imus and the Car Talk dudes.
4. Anthony Davis is still really good and the media swarms him at every move. He came to the Combine wearing a shirt that said “Check My Stats”, which caused Thomas Robinson to say that if people checked the stats, Robinson would be the first pick. I love Thomas Robinson’s story, but my man needs to check himself before the Unibrow wrecks himself (one of Ice Cube’s best hits).
5. The wildcard in the draft at this point is Darius Miller. The Kentuckian is projected all over the place on NBA Draft boards, from a sneaky selection at 22nd in the First Round to a mid-Second Round pick. Chances are that Darius hovers around the end of the first/early second round and more than any other player, his slot might be determined by his workouts during the next month. Many teams are interested in him, including some of the best in the league, the Thunder, Spurs and Heat.
6. I am beyond tired of talking about UK-IU, but it is worth noting that we have another reason to tell IU fans to hush. If you have been around one of them the past few weeks, you have probably heard some form of “UK and Calipari are scared” in reference to the end of the series. Well today, Rick Pitino said that he had offered to play Indiana, and even go to play in Bloomington, but Tom Crean said no. So there you go…now everyone is scared.
7. This wont be surprising, but UK is apparently the hottest recruiting program int he land according to ESPN and Dave Telep. In an ESPN Insider article, Telep says that when it comes to buzz amongst recruits, Kentucky is far and away ahead. The combination of Calipari, the national title and the NBA Draft success, has Kentucky on the top of the most kids’ lists in the AAU circuit. While that is not in the least bit surprising considering UK has four straight #1 classes, like telling your wife that you still love her, it is always welcome.
8. Kentucky is not however the best job in College BB according to ESPN, as Eamonn (“wears his war wounds like a crown”) Brennan picks North Carolina for the honor. Brennan says that while UK and UNC are essentially tied, the older status of Rupp Arena puts the Cats’ job in second place. While I don’t agree with the conclusion (I still think UK’s fan base makes it the best), it isn’t an absurd conclusion. However the biggest selling point to UNC has always been the pros it produces and Michael Jordan. Kentucky is catching up and may soon pass this as well…one legit transcendant superstar (maybe Wall, maybe Davis?) and then UK is the clear choice.
9. We have talked a lot about the Thunder being in Lexington this summer, but I have one story about the time there that I love. I snuck in one day and watched the Thunder guys playing pickup against a group of UK guys, and amazingly, the UK guys won a number of games in a row. After the third straight victory, Marquis Teague looked at James Harden and Kevin Durant as they walked off the court and said, “We are UK, we don’t give no f***s.” Both guys laughed and Teague walked off with confidence. At that moment, I knew he had the toughness to lead the team…we are Kentucky and we don’t give no….
10. Finally, if you get some time, read this article. It was sent in by a reader today and is about a young woman who is a UK fan and deals with her emotions following being raped. UK basketball is mentioned a great deal and there is a connection with a former player that is also intriguing. Not your usual KSR blog fare, but worth your time.
We get started with the radio with Mike Pratt in the morning at 10. See you then
[powered by WordPress.]
Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
7 queries. 0.357 seconds