Good morning. Thanks for stopping by and for sticking with us on what has been a week filled with a lot of waiting in the world of Kentucky basketball. Tonight’s game in Portland, Oregon is essentially the start of the real Kentucky basketball season as the Cats will face four nationally televised games in six days against teams that have varying degrees of sexiness, but all of which could factor into those “Key Wins” and “Key Losses” column around tournament time. Tipoff in Portland also means that it’s time to say goodbye to all of those things that might have taken your attention away from the Wildcats during these dull days and, for me, that means the strangely mesmerizing “Bread People” website. Much like my other favorite non-sports sites of the past year, Texts From Last Night and Awkward Family Photos, Bread People is strange, mindless and never seems to get old. But, unlike the other two sites, Bread People brings the star power in the form of celebrities like Biscotti Pippen, Estelle Baguetty and 2 Live Crouton. And I have no idea what this has to do with UK.
Now onto some UK notes…
– As Matt mentioned on both the radio and the site Thursday, Coach Cal’s notion that UK could return from Maui with a 1-4 record is ridiculously insane on a number of levels. But, predicted record aside, this road trip will be extrememly telling of what kind of team Kentucky has at this point. If things go as expected, the run of games will be against Portland, Oklahoma, Washington and Michigan State, with each team presenting an increasingly difficult matchup. To this point, Cal’s squad has played six games together and each team was severely lacking in both talent and, most importantly, size. If Kentucky comes out with at least three wins, you’d have to count it as a great success. Honestly, even 2-2 wouldn’t be awful. As Herm Edwards said, you play to win the game. But, UK is playing these games not only to win, but to see what this new group is made of and where they need to develop as the season evolves. When the Maui tournament concludes, expect a lot more clarity on that subject.
– In case you missed the radio show Thursday morning (shame on you), Matt spent some time talking about how the Enes Kanter appeal will play out. According to Matt, the appeal is likely to be filed around Thanksgiving by UK and the NCAA will hold a hearing as soon as a the week after. Representing UK in the hearing, which will be held on teleconference, will be Sandy Bell and Enes Kanter himself, who will not argue the money issue, which is agreed by both parties to be a fact. Instead, they will speak to the circumstances of Kanter’s situation, which will likely include his decision to turn down pro contracts and the details regarding the steps he took in order to remain eligible to play college basketball. A decision on the hearing could come as soon as the following week and most likely will be decided before Christmas.
– FoxSports.com posted episode three of Coach Cal’s Mailbag on Thursday. In this edition, Calipari talks about how special the 2011 class is for UK and who he thinks could go pro from this year’s team. He also answers what seems to be about 100 other questions.
– Kentucky’s first opponent in Maui cruised in their final test before facing the Cats next week. Oklahoma beat Texas Southern by 30 to improve their record to 3-0, but that wasn’t what was important. The big news is that Texas Southern was led by former Cat Kevin Galloway, who went for 19 points and 7 assists in the humiliating loss. Galloway’s strong showing came on the heels of scoring 20 in a loss to Wichita State and 10 turnovers in a loss to Drake.
– During the ESPN telecast of North Carolina destroying Hofstra, Hubert Davis mentioned that he didn’t think it’s “going to work” at UK with John Calipari bringing in a group of star freshmen every year. Then, he summarized everyone’s thoughts on his opinion. (Warning: Language you wouldn’t use in front of your mother)
– There was some late news courtesy of Larry Vaught regarding a big-time UK football recruit. Four-star Boyle County linebacker Lamar Dawson was named as a finalist for the Army National Player of the Year award. He is one of 16 players to be named as a finalist.
– If you fancy yourself as the creative type, be sure to enter the John Wall shoe design contest, which challenges you to find the color scheme that makes that strange zig-zag sole unnoticeable. If you win, Wall will wear your shoes at the All-Star game, which you will attend. If you have any questions, you can go to Foot Locker and talk to Edgar Sosa. He works most nights.
– In case you didn’t hear about it from Matt, who I think must be making a commission from Versus, Patrick Patterson made his D-League debut Thursday night. It wasn’t the greatest outing of his career as #33 (seems weird) posted 7 points and 7 boards in under 20 minutes before fouling out. But, proving he can’t be stopped, Patterson re-entered the game later.
– Sadly, not everything was good news out of the the D-League as Shagari Alleyne was cut by the Austin Toros. Hopefully, this does not affect his ability to send out vulgar Tweets on a daily basis.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day for some stuff. There will be lots of it. See you in a few…