So I have just arrived back from our Northern neighbors’ country and am utterly exhausted. We will have much more on the trip tomorrow and some of the behind the scenes action from Canada. But for tonight’s late night post, the storyline of the trip for me was the realization that Brandon Knight will be a star. Partially because of watching him over the last few months and partially because of the hype from NBA folks, up until now Enes Kanter had been my focus on the UK team. It wasnt that I didnt think about Knight…I mean he is the two-time national player of the year in high school basketball…but Kanter had taken the buzz and most of the fans’ attention. The trip to Canada served notice that Brandon Knight is going to be excellent and will be the 4th straight star Point guard to lace them up for Calipari. In Canada he was exceptional. He scored over 20 points every game, dished out an average of 9 assists a game and showed a remarkable ability to limit turnovers while playing at a high speed. I knew Knight would be solid and likely very good. But what we had confirmed in Canada is that he will be a star in college. It is that simple. And when we look back on the Canadian excursion, that truth (along with the brilliance that is “I love it when they call me Dom Papa”) will be the lasting memory.
Some quick hitters:
— Calipari seemed very pleased about the time in Canada and what he saw from his team. Whereas last year, he always liked to downplay the early success his team was having, he seems to have taken a very different, more uplifting approach to this group. He said today that he felt the guys were far advanced in offensive preparation and that he was amazed at how few turnovers they are committing, considering the pace of play. He likes the leadership of Miller and Liggins, and thinks the Freshmen are starting to find their groove as well. While he complained a bit about losing some August rest, he acknowledged that this trip will put the team far ahead come the fall and he plans on giving the team at least two weeks off until the end of the month.
— As Calipari said today, the entire trip was basically an informercial for Kentucky basketball, as the $35,000 spent on the trip was rewarded with three games televised all over the country and publicity for college basketball in the summertime. In that respect, it far exceeded any expectations.
— There was a moment in the second game of the series in which the participants had a halftime show of human bowling. The KSR crew were one of the three teams, and the Turkey Hunter/Tall ended up with a poor showing that put them in last place. But while we thought they would be the highlight of the event, two guys from Windsor stole the show. Running and pushing his friend in a roll cart, a Windsor native pushed too hard, sending his friend through the pins and into press row….directly in Jerry Tipton’s lap. It knocked into Tipton’s table and nearly knocked him to the ground….and the UK crowd cheered. For Jerry’s part, he did laugh and take it well…but it was a VERY funny moment that the Windsor guys could not truly know what they had done.
— A great moment also occurred in Game 2 when Jorts got a big blocked shot on a break, let out a yell and flexed a bit in excitement. It was a funny sight and Calipari (dressed in whatever contraption he chose to put on that day) turned around and nearly fell over laughing. Jorts said he needed to be “punched in the face” to get ready before a game and after that block, he looked like a budding pro wrestler in training.
— In non-Canada news, the football team was given a partial day off today due to solid practicing in Lexington. We are close to getting a QB announcement and more clarity in the move towards a starting rotation at the various positions. There has been virtually no news to come out of practice, which is good in one sense (bc most news is of the injury variety) but bad in another (it leaves us little to talk about). Just know that if there is football news, we will have it here. But when we dont have something, it isnt because we dont care about football….it is that there hasnt been a lot to say.
— Two bits of football news we did miss last week. While it was sent out via our Twitter, it was not mentioned on the site that Elliott Porter did sign with UK and is currently practicing with the team. A former LSU signee who had an offer from Oregon and Texas A&M is a HUGE pickup for the Cats this late in the game. Also, today Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke were named as Preseason watch candidates for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile player in college football. UK was the only SEC team with two players on the list.
— Finally, the Karen Sypher story keeps going. Besides the KSR crew meeting her twin at a bar in Windsor (and telling her that she had a twin in Louisville, prompting her to look perplexed), Sypher was also in the news today as her lawyer filed a motion asking for a time extension on his Motion to Reconsider due to possible perjury in the case. Sypher’s attorney alleges that one of the Prosecution’s “key witnesses” committed perjury in their testimony and that he needs time to make his claim clear. The key witnesses are few….Pitino, Lester Goetzinger, Tim Sypher and Dana Kolter seem to be the big ones…so it will be interesting to see where (if anywhere) this takes us.
More all day today as we get back on our normal path and push towards the Launch of the Kentucky Sports Radio Show on Monday. If you havent listened to the podcast, please do and stay tuned….