As some of you know, Drew and I have spent the week in Cincinnati covering the Western and Southern Open for Tennis Channel. The trip has included some great tennis, beautiful weather and my toes being introduced to America in HD. However, the real lesson of the week has been the chance to learn of the New York Times’ tennis writer, Ben Rothenberg. For those of you who aren’t listeners to the radio show (and honestly, shame on you…at least go now and subscribe on iTunes and fix this discrepancy), you may have not heard us talk about Rothenberg as a reporter. He has a huge tennis knowledge base (much more than us, but that says little), wears bright colored shoes and runs the Straight Sets Tennis Blog (which is really quite good). But he also has a great voice and speaking style that drives Drew insane, but I love…it is…well I can’t do it justice. The best way to describe it is to hear this audio clip of him talking about an announcement concerning his tennis podcast. As you can hear, it is awesome and if you don’t come away from that talking about peeing in your tuxedo and saying “SLASH/SLASH”, then I don’t know what to tell you. We salute Ben Rothenberg for being a good sport (he came up to us today, not all together happy but also not necessarily angry…somewhere in the middle) and for actually providing some knowledge and entertainment during these long tennis rallies. Next time you are in Kentucky Rothenberg, the BBN will treat you to a drink and a sparkling good time.
To the news of the day, interspersed with a couple of non-UK things:
— It was a slow day in UK news today, in large part because the UK football team had a day off from practice. As the posts below showcase, they used that time to have a pool party and do their own thing, but this represents close to the halfway point of fall camp before they start the season at Western. As Nick Roush noted last night, a number of storylines have developed throughout the course of the camp, but the two most important have been with the QBs and WRs. At this point it seems almost impossible to imagine anyone but Jalen Whitlow being the starting quarterback. At all opportunities for people to see practice, Whitlow has looked the best and when the coaches talk, they make clear that he will be playing in some form, even if he doesn’t get the starting job. The issue with Whitlow has only been one of accuracy and by all accounts he has improved on it greatly. His athleticism gives the offense some more options and as Johnny Manziel showcased last year, being in this offense and being able to move can create huge opportunities. The surprising positive has been that UK has some Wide Receivers stepping up in a position that was thought to be weak. As the caller “Kelly” said today, it could be the case that the system can make Wide Receivers, and if so UK has a lot of candidates. Most surprising has been the play of Freshmen Alexander Montgomery and Jeff Badet. While Javess Blue and Ryan Timmons got the preseason publicity, these two newcomers have also come in blazing and will likely see significant time in the opening game. What once was considered a weakness, now looks like a position with not a lot of star power, but potentially 8-10 deep of solid guys who could make an impact. That is new, and a positive.
This compilation of the best Vine videos is really funny actually…although I just cannot believe how long it must have taken this person to do it:
— On the basketball side of things, all anyone wants to talk about is the Harrison Twins and James Young and I understand that. But at this point, there is nothing left to say. I am told they will be in Lexington by the end of next week. When they arrive you can tell all of your Louisville friends to shut up. For now, they are going to whisper, mostly as a counter to all the Kevin Ware rumors. What is much more important is just how amazing Julius Randle is going to be. I have talked about this on radio, but not on here and it is worth repeating. I have talked to a couple of people around the program who have been here since Calipari’s first year…all tell me the same thing. In terms of being ready to play at this point in his career, they say Randle is the best player Calipari has had at Kentucky. Think about that…it means better than Wall, Cousins, Davis and Gilchrist. That is absolutely amazing. But when you see his body type (honestly built like Lebron…not comparing him to Lebron but build like a baby Lebron), with amazing dunking ability and a pretty decent outside game) and you can’t help but be excited. When Demarcus Cousins gave that smirk and just said, “Randle is damn good”…well that was all I need to know. Julius Randle is going to be the kind of player you don’t see very much…well at least you don’t see very much at any place outside of Kentucky. I hope you are as excited as I am…at least you should be.
You may not have seen this last night on “Colbert Report”, but it has taken the internet by storm. The show took its satire to Vicco, Kentucky and in the process made an internet hit about how Vicco has been a pioneer in a new “Fairness Ordinance.” Regardless of your political stance, I actually found this very sweet and showcasing how the people of Eastern Kentucky, defy the stereotypes so many want to give and have some of the biggest hearts you can imagine. This video of Perry County has gone viral so you will see it again:
— Finally, are you upset that UK is not playing Tennessee twice this season? UK has played the Vols twice every year since the 1940s but that all changes this season with the new UK basketball schedule…under its terms, the Cats will only play Tennessee once a year (this year in Rupp, but next year in Knoxville), and the only permanent twice a year game is Florida. Does that make sense to you? Tennessee is the more traditional rival, but Florida is the 2nd best team in the conference (most years) and a much better nationally marquee game. Which would you pick? I love playing the Vols but take Florida because UK needs more marquee games in conference play when the lack of power teams sometimes pushes the Cats slightly to the side. But I wonder the view of others on this…would you rather play UT or Florida twice. Vote and let me know:
We have a big day tomorrow…more radio here from Cincinnati, we will do a LIVE BLOG at 1 pm around a tennis match (Djokovic vs Isner) but also use it as a chance to answer any questions you have about UK sports in football and basketball…and we will keep you up on the news on one of the last free Fridays for some time before we get going in sports. Check it out…and we at KSR continue to be firmly behind Ryan Lemond’s Godson Zack Hodskins, the one-handed basketball player Florida has offered as a preferred walk-on. Our story about him was up earlier, but it didn’t include the below highlight video…check it out. He is something else and a huge UK fan. Great kid and a great story