It’s been a bad day for the Associated Press. Tuesday afternoon, someone hacked into the AP’s Twitter account and falsely tweeted that there were explosions at the White House and that President Obama was injured. As a result, there was mass hysteria and the Dow dropped 143 points. Once it became clear that the tweet was fake, the market recovered, but the incident remains a sign of how powerful Twitter has become, and how closely people watch it. (At least I’m not the only one staring at Tweet Deck all day?)
If that weren’t enough for the media giant to deal with, CareerCast.com came out with their “10 Worst Jobs of 2013” today, and right there at #1? Newspaper reporter. Why? Analyst Paul Gillin says “the print model is not sustainable. It will probably be gone within the next 10 years.” Ouch.
On that note, news and views?
Nerlens gets ready to fly from the nest
The Nerlens Noel Farewell Tour rolled on Tuesday, with Nerlens going before the local media one more time to talk about his career at UK and his decision to go pro. Nerlens said that his rehab is ahead of schedule and he’s coming along really well. He also admitted that he considered coming back because of his love for the fans and the program, but ultimately, couldn’t turn his back on his current draft status:
On reasons for considering returning to UK for his sophomore season:
“The Big Blue Nation. I loved playing here. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Great fans, a great atmosphere and playing in Rupp Arena felt like a once in a lifetime thing. I will never get to do that again. It was a hard decision. I love the Big Blue Nation, I love Coach Cal. That was one of the best things to do here.”
Nerlens is currently projected to go first in the NBA Draft, something he said would be “a dream come true.” And even though he won’t be back next season, he has faith that Willie Cauley-Stein will more than hold his own down low:
“Another year Willie can be one of the best big men in the country, definitely. I’m sure he will be. Willie is a freak athlete. He’s 7-foot; he’s fast, strong, quick. He has all the intangibles to be great. I mean next year, I’m sure he is going to dominate the collegiate rankings and move on to bigger and better things.”
When can we see Nerlens on the court? Sometime around Christmas, he expects.
Coach Cal’s not scared of 40-0
A discussion about next year’s team almost inevitably leads to a discussion about whether or not they can go undefeated. The ingredients are there: the All-American freshmen, the returning sophomores, and Kyle Wiltjer with another chance to be the veteran Cal’s teams so desperately need. Minutes after the 2012 team won the National Title, Cal told reporters that he had one accomplishment left on his bucket list: an undefeated season. In a speech over the weekend, he revisited that dream: “My goal before I retire is to coach a 40-0 team because they say it can’t be done. As the season goes on, it gets harder and harder. But I say let’s do it, let’s do something crazy.”
Cal is as excited about next season than he was apathetic about the last one. Since the season ended and next year’s roster has taken a more defined shape, Cal has a new snap in his step. Whereas many of the All-Americans coming in have gradually shied away from talk of going undefeated, Cal is embracing it. He’s throwing out comparisons to the Miami Heat, talking about going 40-0 and even wearing suits again. One might say he’s got his swagger back. Add Andrew Wiggins to the mix and he’ll be positively giddy.
However, don’t think that the lessons from last season are forgotten; in the same speech over the weekend, Cal preached the importance of playing together and surrendering yourself to your teammates. With a very long bench to play with, Cal can now enforce those lessons.
Larry Warford prepares for the NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is Thursday night and Kentucky fans have at least one former player’s name to listen for: Larry Warford. The offensive lineman is projected to go anywhere from the second to fourth rounds. On Tuesday, Warford told the local media that he’s still trying to decide whether or not he’s going to watch the draft. His dad wants him to come down and watch it with his family, but Warford thinks he’ll be too nervous and may just sit at his house and play video games instead. (Go watch it with your family!)
Warford said going to the NFL is a dream come true, and that he takes a lot of pride in the fact that he’ll be the first offensive lineman from UK to be drafted since 1993. When asked about the record crowd at this year’s Spring Game, Warford said he was in “shock” when he walked in and “wanted to jump back on the field” with his former team. He praised all the work Mark Stoops in his short time in Lexington:
“When I walked into the spring game I was in shock. I have never seen that before. I wanted to jump back on the field with them and wanted to be out there with those guys in that excitement. Coach Stoops has been doing a great job in getting people back in the program again and doing a great job with the excitement of the team. I go out to practice and talk to the guys and they are so energetic about it and so excited about what is to come. That plays a big role into how well they will do this season because if you are excited about it then it makes you want to learn and want to be better. Coach Stoops has been doing a great job about that and I am excited for them.”
Good luck, big guy.
Bits and pieces
— Where in the world was John Calipari today? St. Rita’s High School in Chicago, watching 2015 star Charles Matthews. The five-star guard is the 11th overall best player in the 2015 class and the fourth best shooting guard (ESPN) in the nation. 2014 standout Vic Law also attends St. Rita’s. He’s the 28th best player in the 2014 class and the seventh best small forward (ESPN).
— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (and possibly Nerlens Noel) is about to get a new coach: on Tuesday, the Bobcats fired Mike Dunlap after one season. Cue the “Calipari to Charlotte” rumors. (No, that will not happen.)
— Twany Beckham, Jarrod Polson, Sam Malone, Brian Long, and Kyle Wiltjer made the Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll, meaning they had a GPA of 3.0 or above in the 2012 Spring, Summer and Fall terms. Before you trolls start to chirp, because the 2012 Spring semester was included, current freshmen were not eligible. UK had the most student-athletes on the honor roll of any school in the SEC, with 49.
That’s all for now. 2014 UK recruit Matt Elam will be on the show in the morning to talk about his recruitment. He’s got offers from UK, UofL and Alabama and was wearing a UK sweatshirt at school earlier this week when Charlie Strong came to visit. Maybe he’ll tell us if that was awkward? See you soon.