When googling around to find a News and Views honoree, I learned that April 19th is “Bicycle Day.” Smiling to myself, I pulled up cheerful pictures of bikes, ready to encourage the BBN to break out the old bicycle, tie some streamers on the handlebars, and do as the Dutch do. What a healthy, wholesome idea!
I was already scrolling through Craiglsist ads for a new bike when I discovered that Bicycle Day actually has nothing to do with bicycles, really. It celebrates the discovery of LSD.
Back in 1939, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann synthesized the chemical lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in an attempt to create a respiratory and circulatory stimulant. Unsatisfied, he put it aside, not realizing he had created one of the most powerful psychedelic drugs in history. Five years later, he decided to play around with the drug some more and on April 19, 1943, he performed a self-experiment and took some. After he started having hallucinations, he had his lab assistant escort him home on the bike trip of a lifetime.
While cycling home, Hofmann became convinced that his next door neighbor was an evil witch and that he had been poisoned. Once home and assured by his doctor that he hadn’t been poisoned, Hofmann relaxed and enjoyed not only the effects of the drug, but the satisfaction of his discovery. So, there you go: the history of Bicycle Day.
(As always, KSR does not condone the use of drugs. Be safe and responsible, and please enjoy Bicycle Day by simply riding a bike.)
Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, and Dominique Hawkins are now officially Cats
On Thursday, UK received letters of intent from Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, and Dominique Hawkins, which means that for the first time, Calipari could finally talk about his three new players. Cal called Julius a “dominator” with the will to win that all of his most successful players have had. He highlighted Julius’ versatility as one of his strengths, saying he has both the speed to slash to the basket and the strength to score down low against bigger defenders. Best of all, he said that Julius is a “true leader” with the off court character to match his on-court talent. Yes, please.
One word to describe Dakari Johnson? Potential. Cal said that Dakari’s improvement over the past year and a half was “phenomenal,” and that he will give the Cats a true low-post threat. Even more, he’s a proven winner, which this team will need down the stretch.
We finally got Cal’s side of the story about Dominique Hawkins, who Cal said popped on his radar thanks to Marquis Estill and his dentist, who lives in Richmond. Cal said that watching Dominique lead his team to the State Championship “totally sold” him on the in-state talent, and compared him to fellow Kentucky Mr. Basketball Darius Miller, which is more than enough to convince me.
Cal’s comments about his 2013 class (so far) pretty much draw the contrast between last season’s team and what lies ahead:
“The thing I like most about this group is its competitive spirit and its will to win. These guys are All-Americans and award winners, but more importantly they’re world champions, national champions and state champions. They know what it takes to win. The size and talent of the group will allow us to have tough, hard-nosed practices which will carry over to the games. I’m excited for the opportunity to coach this group.”
In his comments about Randle, Johnson, Hawkins and the 2013 class as a whole, Cal used the term “will to win” three times, which is very telling considering he was searching for it in last year’s group all season. We won’t truly know anything about this group until they hit the court in November, but Cal’s confidence in his incoming freshmen is the polar opposite of his feelings towards their predecessors. From the sound of it, this group won’t need many motivational posters.
Wiggins’ high school coach Rob Fulford called in to KSR on Thursday to give his thoughts on Andrew’s recruitment. While Fulford didn’t intentionally tip the hat towards any school in particular, he did make some interesting comments about why Wiggins is taking so long with his decision. Fulford said that Wiggins didn’t want to offend anyone by eliminating them from his list, especially his teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who will attend Florida State in the fall. Does that mean he’s decided against the Seminoles? Who knows, but it’s as close to insider information as we’re going to get.
Also, Fulford shot down that pesky rumor that Andrew will commit to North Carolina on Tuesday, as well as the one that he had been hired as an assistant coach at UK, Kansas, or Louisville. He also told the BBN not to read too much into Roy Williams, Bill Self and Leonard Hamilton’s visits to Huntington next week; each coach has a certain number of visits they can use, and Calipari has visited Andrew plenty, including right before he left for the McDonald’s All-American game.
When will the Andrew Wiggins saga be over? Fulford hopes by May 15th, the end of the Spring Signing Period. He’s so ready for Andrew to decide that he’s got the letters of intent sitting on his desk.
Karl Towns continues to impress
Wiggins’ roommate at the Nike Hoop Summit and 2014 UK commitment Karl Towns continues to impress in Portland. Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony said that Towns is showing off an “incredibly high skill-level” during the practices and is shooting, passing and scoring with both hands inside. Fran Fraschilla said that the best thing about Towns is that he’s a gym rat with skills that are “off the charts” for a seven-footer. And he’s tough. Towns took an elbow to the face during one of the scrimmages on Thursday, and played through the pain.
When it comes to his famous roommate, Towns tells Larry Vaught he’s giving him space and hasn’t mentioned Kentucky at all:
“I haven’t talked to him about Kentucky at all. He has so much talent, but we are good friends. Iâ€ˆjust wish him the best for any school he picks. I want to let him enjoy the time here and just be friends and talk basketball and play video games. Stuff like that.”
Some housekeeping before we part ways:
— The 42nd annual Cardinal Hill Telethon is this Sunday and some of UK’s former greats are pitching in to help the cause. Jimmy Dan Conner, Jim LeMaster, Kyle Macy, Jared Prickett, Lester Boyd, Joe Bryant, Freddie Maggard and Johnny Williams will man the phones and take donations on air from 4 – 5 p.m. The Telethon will air live on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. — 6 p.m. on WKYT-TV 27 (Lexington viewing area) and on WYMT-TV 57 (Hazard viewing area).
That’s all for now. See you soon.