NBC showed this adorable picture of baby Randall Cobb on “Sunday Night Football” to emphasize how young he is compared to the other players or something. Honestly, I kind of tuned out once it came on the screen. Before I start squeeling over it again, here are ten notes from the weekend that was in UK sports:
1. Neal Brown Comes Home
On Sunday evening, we found out that one of Kentucky’s sons will soon be headed home. Neal Brown met with Mark Stoops on Sunday afternoon and hours later, multiple news outlets reported that Brown would be named the Cats’ new offensive coordinator in a press conference Monday. Brown has been atop of Stoops’ list since he took the job, but spent most of the past week interviewing for head coaching jobs at Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech, something which Stoops reportedly encouraged. Brown, who calls Danville home, is a protegee of the Air Raid offense, which he first learned at Kentucky while playing under Hal Mumme, Tony Franklin, and Mike Leach. Is it time to dust off the old Air Raid siren?
2. The Rest of the Staff Assembles
Two more coaches are likely to come with Neal Brown: Chad Scott and John Schlarman. Like Brown, both played at Kentucky, and will join the staff as Running Backs Coach and Offensive Line Coach respectively. Also on board: former Northwestern State head coach Bradley Dale Peveto as UK’s new Defensive Backs Coach and UT quarterback and receivers coach Darin Henshaw as the Cats’ new Wide Receivers Coach. In addition to being well-respected coaches, each of the members of Stoops’ staff are considered excellent recruiters. I think Patrick Towles put it best…
Who’s pumped for spring football??? THIS GUY!!!
– Patrick Towles (@patty_ice14) December 10, 2012
3. Cats Finish Strong
The first thirty-seven minutes of Kentucky’s game against Portland put Rupp Arena to sleep. The last three minutes were a thrilling wake up call in what may have been the Cats’ strongest finish this season. With two absolute monster dunks from Archie Goodwin, the Cats put an exclamation mark on an otherwise lackluster performance. Even better? They looked like they were having fun. I know it was Portland, but did I finally hear a “click” on Saturday afternoon?
4. Ryan Harrow Emerges
The most promising thing to come out of Saturday’s game was Ryan Harrow’s performance. Harrow came off the bench to post career highs of eight points, four rebounds and six assists. He still had moments where he lapsed into bad play, but overall, it was an encouraging performance for Harrow, who is clearly the team’s best option at point guard. Harrow’s hard work in “Camp Cal” and practice the past week showed on Saturday, and with each made basket, his confidence grew. Keep it up, Ryan.
5. For the second year in a row, Cats posterize Pilots
This time around, it was Archie Goodwin, whose monster dunk was named SportsCenter’s Top Play on Saturday:
6. Cal hits the recruiting trail
After seeing him play in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Coach Cal went to see 2014 star point guard Tyus Jones play again on Saturday night. Jones is considered by many to not only be the top player in his class, but the top point guard prospect in the country right now, and according to Adam Zagoria, Cal was the only coach in the building watching him on Saturday. Jones plans to visit Kentucky in the coming months.
Cal and crew also stopped by Florida to visit Dakari Johnson on Sunday:
Johnson, a five-star big man, is one of Kentucky’s remaining 2013 targets. With Julius Randle reportedly favoring Texas, could Johnson go ahead and make it official?
7. Camp Cal continues
It’s finals week at UK, which means the Cats have Monday off before returning to practice on Tuesday evening. It will also be week two of Camp Cal, the team’s new daily thirty-minute conditioning session. Last week, Ryan Harrow was Camp Cal MVP, working out three times a day with results. Who will step up this week? Kyle Wiltjer, please??
8. UK Hoops cruises
The ladies’ team cruised in wins over DePaul and Middle Tennessee State this weekend, even setting an attendance record of 18,488 against the former in Rupp Arena Friday night. Matthew Mitchell’s squad is currently ranked 6th/7th in the nation, a number which will likely climb this week. You go, girls.
9. I see you on Sunday Night Football, Randall Cobb.
It wasn’t just baby pictures: Cobb was everywhere on NBC Sunday, pulling in one-hand catches, fielding kicks in the snow, and even sharing the stage with Faith Hill (sort of).
10. Nerlens Noel spreads goodwill
Nerlens Noel continues to be an impressive young man both on and off the court. On Sunday, Noel visited a local nursing home and spent time with the residents, who he said were big UK fans. During his short time at UK, Nerlens has opened his heart to the Big Blue Nation, becoming friends with the late Lane Goodwin, riding go-karts with Reese Kemp, and now, spreading Wildcat cheer with the community’s elders. Can you say “class act”?
Monday will be a big day around these parts, with the announcement of Neal Brown as offensive coordinator and several more coaches on the way. Rest up…