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Matt’s Random Friday Thoughts


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Been awhile since I have written here on the Blog, so I thought I would take a chance to round-up a few thoughts/tidbits going into the weekend. If you get an opportunity this weekend start on the terrific S-Town Podcast that is making waves across the country. It is from the folks that do “This American Life” and while I have yet to finish it, I must say it is one of the more intriguing Podcasts I have ever heard. It starts as a fairly regular “Who Dun It” type story, but quickly moves to something else, an engaging character portrait of an individual (and town) that is enthralling. It is worth your time if you are driving or lounging and need some entertainment.

A few notes:

— The big stories right now are recruiting-based, specifically whether Kentucky will get Mohammed Bamba or Kevin Knox. I am unsure about whether either player will be a Cat, but as I have stated on the radio, my opinion slightly diverges from the consensus on both guys. For Bamba, I have assumed Kentucky was the leader for at least two months, and while I am still in that camp, my confidence isn’t quite on the level of most in the UK Fanbase. Up until three days ago, everyone I had spoken with said Kentucky leads and all of the circumstantial evidence, including his friendship with UK recruits and public statements, have made UK seem the obvious choice. But then I spoke with a source that is very good who said to me for the first time that UK was not getting him. While this person is against the grain and the only individual I know who believes the choice won’t be UK, it is someone with a great deal of knowledge and close to the situation. So I am left unsure of UK’s position. If I were forced to pick, I would still say Bamba to UK, but my confidence is much lower than it was last week (and I get a good test going forward for this particular type of source). As for Knox, I think UK is in a better position than most do…I still would not pick UK for Knox (I am not sure of any of the Big Three get him), but the folks around Lexington feel better about their position with him than the general consensus seems to suggest. Either way his decision comes soon and if they don’t get him, expect UK to go all-in after Pitt transfer Cameron Johnson.

— The main question to be resolved for UK’s roster next year in terms of returning players is Isaac Humphries. The big man is considering going back to Australia and playing pro basketball there. I don’t think that is his preference and Calipari wants him to stay, but he is considering whether coming back to UK will help further his career. I would say his future is a coin toss right now and it is my hope the singing Australian decides to stick it out, as I think they will need his physical presence next season.

— As for 2018, I really like Kentucky’s position with Zion Williamson. The kid is an absolute star and while there is still a ton of time for things to change, I would pick Kentucky for him right now. He would be an absolute explosive talent and is the type of player that you build a class around.

— Kentucky’s schedule for next season is up in the air, as the program tries to figure out what kind of roster they will have. At this current time, the Cats are scheduled to play UCLA, Kansas, Louisville and a Big 12 road game (possibly West Virginia?), but only have one other game locked in (Harvard). I am not sure if the Cats will get another marquee non-conference home game, besides Louisville. There is likely a possibility of getting a mid-level Power 6 team (like a Marquette, Seton Hall or Providence), but I think you will likely see a home schedule that includes no other huge names at this time.

— If you didn’t get a chance last night, watch the video below of Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins hosting “Hey Kentucky” with me (there are more at HeyKentucky.com). The guys were great and a lot of fun…going to really miss those kids at UK.

— Hearing some really good things about the Quarterback play at UK during Spring Practice. A lot has been written about how well Stephen Johnson has been playing but some KSR moles tell me that Gunnar Hoak has also taken major steps forward. He is by far the least known of the current crop of QBs but the staff likes him a lot and while there is certainly not a QB competition for the starting job, there might be more of one for the Backup than people realize.

— Finally, if you have been listening to the radio you know how frustrated I have become from the whole “Roofing referee” story and the idiotic behavior by some of our fans that occurred after the game. My position on this has been clear on the radio and it remains the same. Higgins called a poor game, especially in the first half. That to me is indisputable. However the terrible calls don’t mean that people should invade his personal (or business) life, especially in the form of threatening messages or calls. That is stupid behavior and there is no excuse for it.

With that said, the amount of people who engaged in such behavior is small. Those that attempt to paint those actions upon the entire UK Fanbase are doing it solely for their anti-UK and Calipari agenda and they deserve to be called out for what they are…reporters with an agenda. They have passed on a narrative that this what the UK Fanbase is like as a whole, knowing full well there are insane people in every fan base and terrible actions are ubiquitous. Similarly, I am tired of the narrative that has emerged that KSR had some measure of responsibility for this simply because we talked about the story. Even though virtually every national outlet weighed in, stories about Higgins have continued to include references to a “Kentucky Sports Radio” show that talked about the issue and the impact that may have had. All we ever said on the show was not to call or write and I resent the idea that we are responsible for behavior we had nothing to do with. The people who threatened Higgins engaged in stupid and irrational acts and deserve criticism. But that doesn’t mean every UK fan, media member or the Administration do as well.

You can choose to say the Big Blue Nation is represented by its worst actions carried about a selected few. I choose to think it is represented by people like a man who came to my radio show today. Before our drawing at the end of the show to win a signed John Calipari basketball, an older woman in a bundled up in a large coat walked in carrying a basketball (a rubber one with dimples) of her own in a plastic Kroger bag. She had heard me talk about Calipari and mistakenly believed that he would be there to sign autographs at the show. She was saddened when I told her that Calipari wouldn’t be in attendance and while she sat and listened to the show, it was evident on her face how disappointed she truly was. At the end of the show, I drew a man’s name out of the box and he took the ball, went over to the woman and offered it to her while giving her a hug. She was a complete stranger who he likely will never see again, but he knew having the basketball would mean more to her than him. That kindness and compassion is what the BBN is about to me…not the select actions of a few in anger, but the shared passion of a state that loves its team. That story won’t be written by most in the national media, but is the more representative one worth telling.

Have a great weekend and start watching “The Americans” if you have never seen it…

Article written by Matt Jones

31 responses to “Matt’s Random Friday Thoughts”

  1. WildWVCat

    There are a lot of good people left in this world and that gentleman is one of them.

    1. KYcats11

      ^^^^^^^^^^Definitely

    2. Luether

      There aren’t many of us left…

  2. catsarerunnin

    Yes KSR isn’t responsible for the actions of the fans. Us stupid folk think for ourselves.

    1. KYcats11

      Agreed.

  3. timewilltell

    Just broke my heart Matt! Bamba is the one player that can make the CATS a legit title contender. Kind of like Anthony Davis. Huge blow for next year’s team. But still a CATS fan. GO BIG BLUE!!

    1. 4everblue

      Bamba has not announced yet or did I miss something?

    2. WildWVCat

      No, Matt has a trusted source (to be named later) that says Bamba is leaning away from UK.

  4. Catcasey1

    Last time matt said that we didn’t get them either

  5. secrick

    Don’t apologize for Ky fans. We don’t give a crap what the media thinks of us. We love or team and we love to have fun. Yeah some people take it to far but not enough that we have to apologize .

  6. AllBlueAllDay

    Really hope the source is wrong. Was Really hoping that 9’6″ standing reach was going to be protecting the paint rocking blue and white.

  7. babydangy

    Jamal Murray was going to Oregon as well. I’ll take the words of Evan Daniels and Jerry Meyer saying they wouldn’t trade spots with UK and they that they are the front-runners.

    1. hensley79

      That’s right!!!

    2. timewilltell

      Matt has his sources and they are closer to the situation than Meyer or Daniels.

  8. stl_cat

    Wasn’t KSR the ones who made it well-known among the fanbase that Higgins had a roofing business? If so, I don’t see how you can deny that you played a part in it.

    “We don’t condone it, but we’re going to tell you guys what this dude does when he’s not officiating and how to contact him.”

    1. CATandMONKEY

      Don t blame KSR for that which can be found using Google.
      Higgins uses his referee career to promote his roofing business. That doesn’t excuse the idiots but in no way implicates KSR as the source of the foolish attacks.

    2. J-Dub421

      It was on ESPN first.

  9. Eli

    Did the same source tell you Nerlens Noel was going to Georgetown and Jamal Murray to oregon? Even if UK’s position with Bamba changes in the eyes of the media, I’m not gonna believe anything until he announces.

    1. Blue Jesus

      Forgot about the Nerlens-to-Georgetown prognostications. Imagine that team without Noel all season!

    2. babydangy

      Also said Poythress to Vandy was a done deal.

  10. Eli

    I also refuse to believe unnamed sources. Why isn’t this guy reporting it himself and why do you have to keep him anonymous?

  11. timewilltell

    So the CATS are in better shape with Knox than most folks think but Matt says we will not get him. How can you be in good shape with a recruit and not get him? Being the runner-up for a recruit is not a reward.

  12. scwhite9

    Great article. I love when you have time to post a nice long piece.

    I don’t even worry about the stupid stories of a few. That is not us as a whole. Your representation of the winner of the basketball is a great story about actions that happen over and over again. I do think Higgins is trying to get as much coverage as he can out of this story. There was no question that his officiating was horrific. If he thinks he is a good referee (or was in the KY vs NC game), then he needs to have one of his supervisors go through the film with him.

    Still hope we get Bamba.

  13. hensley79

    I hope we get Bamba he would do really good under Cal and with Payne helping him….

  14. shelby

    Unless matt’s source is either bamba himself, or his monma (monma bamba?), no point in getting worked up. Recruiting, and kids’ minds change 10 times a day.

  15. njcat54

    Cal is synonymous with ‘one and done’ yet not one of the top 10 recruits are coming to U.K. He said when he got here KY would get the best of the best. Looks like he’s now getting good players but not great players. Hard enough to win championships with the best freshmen. It’s impossible with second tier freshmen.

    1. KYJelly

      Love these fans that jump all over the smallest negativity and paint it to be bigger than it is. There’s are a lot more top recruiting classes that Cal has pulled in than second-tier ones, and his track record speaks for itself. He’s a successful coach doing this, accept it buddy!

  16. njCat

    Oh, and ‘S-Town’, like ‘Missing Richard Simmons’ started out great and kind of fizzled at the end. Both reminded me of Giraldo and his secret toom.

  17. BiasedBigfoot

    Thanks Matt! Always appreciate when you do a post.

  18. chase

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  19. Howdy Doody