We all want to wish Antoine Walker a happy 35th birthday from the entire Big Blue Nation. I really can’t tell you much about Walker that you don’t already know – he was a beast in college, a solid player turned all star turned journeyman in the NBA (and eventual champion as a part of the first Heat Big Three,) and after gambling problems and bankruptcy is currently trying to mount a comeback as a part of the Idaho Stampede D-League team. Maybe he should try out for the Dominican Republic national team. But in all seriousness, Walker is one of the top five faces most fans remember from the 90s. He will always been a legend for what he did at Kentucky and his role in the 96 championship team, and we hope 35 is a little better to him than 34 was.
On to a little news and a smattering of views:
— The big news from the night centered around Texas A&M’s endless pursuit to make everyone stop caring about where they play football. Like an ex-girlfriend desperately trying to make her ex jealous by flirting way too obviously with anyone within eyesight, TAMU has made it’s desire to leave Texas and the Big 12 for the SEC painfully obvious this summer. The term ‘done deal,’ hasn’t been used this much since Billy Donovan was going to coach Kentucky, then the Magic, then Florida again. Earlier tonight the TAMU rivals site said the deal was official and the Aggies would be playing in the SEC. Since then a number of sources have said that the story was premature and no deal has yet been reached. But it did lead to NC State coach Mark Gottfried throwing FSU in the ring as a potential 14th member of the SEC if TAMU does join (according to what he is ‘hearing,) so there’s that.
— Darius Miller started out the pursuit for the gold medal with a solid night against a Chinese professional team in an exhibition. Pros? No problem for Miller, as he has been practicing against them for the past three years. Miller only had 7 points but contributed 8 rebounds and despite not making the double double, gave Kentucky fans hope that if he can consistently produce those numbers next season he could easily be a killer glue guy. Of course, he could just as easily average 13 points and 8 boards next season as he leads Kentucky to number 8. We’ll keep a close eye on how his stint with Team USA goes.
— We found out yesterday that ESPN gameday won’t be coming to Rupp this year, and this is most likely for two reasons. First, any game at Rupp (outside UNCE) won’t be that exciting to watch this year for the casual fan because Kentucky will demolish everyone. Secondly, ESPN is probably afraid to lose earlier game ratings with every BBN fan packing Rupp and not in front of a TV. Still, Kentucky will be a part of a gameday experience when they play at Vanderbilt on February 11th. No word on whether the Commodores will let the ESPN crew set up on the court or make them sit behind the goals.
— Related to gameday, apparently Bob Knight is scheduled to be at this one. Unlike when they conveniently misplaced him for the last UK game in Rupp. If that’s not a way to guarantee BBN makes the trip to Nashville then I don’t know what is. Oh yeah, Anthony Davis. Forgot about him.
— Meanwhile, the NCAA made a ruling that your APR has to be above 930 for post season play in college basketball. We have been over how the APR works before, and with Kentucky pulling in a 974 average from the last four seasons it’s not something we should be too concerned about. Still, APR can shift drastically with a few years of poor performance, so it’s something to keep an eye on. Interestingly enough, both Ohio State and Morehead State would have missed the tournament last year, robbing everyone of two of the best moments from March. Maybe it’s okay to hate this new rule.
— Perry Ellis did what people were predicting since earlier this week. Sometime over the weekend Jeff Goodman claimed Ellis had cut his list to four, the idea was confirmed by a number of media members, and Perry Ellis said he would be announcing the four later in the week. Now, according to Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports, Perry has cut his list to Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and… Wichita State? If that list holds, that means Ellis cut Duke in place of Wichita State, a school that wasn’t on any of his lists according to multiple recruiting services. Of course, Perry is from Wichita, but it’s still a bizarre move. The list reportedly comes from Perry’s mom though, so it has a ring of legitimacy to it. I find it the least bit ironic that Wichita State refers to themselves as The Shockers.
— Psh, now twitter is complaining saying that Perry may not have received an offer from Duke. Whatever. Sore losers.
— The NFL started today, kind of. On that note, for a while it looked like Derrick Locke’s days of playing football were going to be coming to a close. He had a decent but not spectacular senior season, went undrafted during a lockout period, but got some good news when he was poised to be signed by the Vikings. Then he failed his physical. It seemed as thought that would be all he wrote, but then the Philadelphia Eagles went crazy and signed everyone including making room on their roster for the former Wildcat. Locke got a chance to show his skills in a preseason game tonight, rushing for 15 yards on two carries. He had a team longest rushing gain of 12 yards, the highest yards per carry, and the third most rushing yards on the team. Of course, 15 yards in a preseason game is still 15 yards in a preseason game, but it’s good to see the former Cat getting a chance and making the most of it.
— I wrote a post on Wednesday discussing which streaks were the most important to continue/break going into the football season. I think we have one more to include.
That’s it for tonight. Make sure to tune in to the radio show later today as Matt tries to get a straight answer out of ESPN on why they won’t bring game day to Rupp and whether it’s related to Drew and myself stealing their sharpies last time around.
These stories and more all day, so stick around.