Last night’s game was altogether perplexing for me on a number of levels. First, was the unbelievably awful play on offense, which culminated in Michael Porter’s five second half turnovers and a great line from Billy Clyde after a Ramel turnover where he looked at him and yelled, “why not just throw it to the other team’s bench to save time?” Second, was the amazingly sparce Kentucky home crowd for the fourth game in a row, a feat I didnt think possible. Usually a new coach and a new season brings energy to the home fans, but either due to football fatigue or simply a protest on the game scheduling, Cats fans are simply not coming this early in the year. And finally, it was the site of the man sitting next to me looking at one of the walk-ons and saying, “Is that guy old enough to play in college?”
But most interesting was the news that AJ Stewart did not play because he fell asleep during a the team’s film session. Now I will admit, I am predisposed to like AJ a great deal. HE was a frequent guest on our old podcast and even announced his commitment to UK while talking with us at the old Shelbyville studios, an event that is still one of our highlights of this whole endeavor. But AJ falling asleep during a film session reminds me of a bad episode of “Saved by the Bell.” Maybe it happens all the time and we just dont know about it, but who falls asleep preparing for a major college basketball game? It is almost unbelievably juvenile and seems like something that would be in a movie about a coach taking a bunch of rag-tag kids and straightening them up and leading them to a championship. AJ Stewart stars in “Mighty Ducks 4.”
Still though, even though falling asleep was odd in and of itself, the strangest part of the whole scenario might have been Billy Clyde’s postgame reaction. He required AJ Stewart to come talk to the press about why he didnt play. At first, AJ just said he didnt play for discipline reasons, but then after talking with the UK media folks, he admitted that he had fallen asleep. It is clear that Billy Clyde has no problems throwing his guys out to the press and occasionally even throwing them under the bus publically (see his postgame comments after most games). My feelings on this are a bit mixed, but I am not totally opposed, in part because he is confronting a reality in the UK basketball program. Play at UK and EVERYTHING you do will be scrutinized. No matter what, people will wonder why AJ didnt play….why not get the truth out and quash the speculation…..while also letting the kid give his side. I have no problem with that and it made “Sleepgate 07” a bit less of a story.
Either way, UNC comes on Saturday and it could get ugly. Heres hoping that Ramel Bradley doesnt slip in a copy of Maxim into his playbook during study hour…..