“Hey Cawood, are the Cats gonna win tonight?”
This question started many a call-in show for the radio legend, and consequently, starts many a pregame chat between me and my parents. Like clockwork, each game day, my parents call and ask that question, and until my husband, a Tennessee native, asked me why, it didn’t seem the least bit odd. It still doesn’t, really. In a time before live blogs, Twitter, and television, Cawood was the Voice of the Wildcats, his voice as synonymous with the team as the coaches, the players, or even the court that would later bear his name. His voice was both soothing and stirring; in our house, you knew not to speak when Cawood was speaking, not for fear of what your dad might do to you if you did, but because you wanted to heard what he’d say yourself.
Cawood was deeply respected by his peers for his style and professionalism, but to his fans, it was his passion that made him family. As Oscar Combs said, Cawood was “your eyes, your ears, your judge, and your jury for everything that happened on the court.” Oscar’s right; at times, you could tell if the Cats were winning or losing just by the tone of Cawood’s voice. For a fanbase that is so intrinsically attached to its basketball team, he was the perfect storyteller.
On this day eleven years ago, Cawood succumbed to cancer at the age of 75. Feel free to share your favorite Cawood memory in the comments section.
— On Tuesday, we headed back to work and moved on from Sunday’s painful loss to the Cards. There were a few roster shakeups, including the promotion of Aaron Boyd and Daryl Collins to starting wide receivers, alongside La’Rod King. Boyd jumped EJ Fields for the spot after trying a career high for catches against Louisville, which is something considering Boyd is now a senior. But, it’s never too late, even for “Oh Boyd,” who Joker says is finally buckling down and buying into the system. He’s also keeping his mouth shut, which is a blessing, even if it results in a tamer Twitter feed. We’ll always have that trip to Europe…
— Daryl Collins’ ascent to the starting lineup is no surprise after an impressive debut and preseason. Need another reason to get excited about Collins? Randall Cobb, to whom many have compared him, told Collins he could be the next Kentucky football star this summer. If Golden Eyes says it, it must be true…
— On, on to happier things. Tickets are still on sale for the Alumni Game on September 15th through Ticketmaster. Keep waiting for a roster of who’s playing? Well, apparently, that’s against NBA policy, but Calipari assured reporters on Tuesday that the rosters will include most of your favorite NBA Cats. He also said the 1996 team really wanted to be involved, but knowing their limits, didn’t want to take on what is basically a who’s who of today’s NBA (fair enough). Instead, Derek Anderson, Anthony Epps, Walter McCarty, Jared Prickett, Jeff Sheppard, Wayne Turner and Antoine Walker will take on Cal’s Fantasy Camp All-Stars. That didn’t stop them from trying to recruit the team’s only remaining NBA player, Nazr Mohammad, whom Cal joked they couldn’t have because they “wouldn’t let him play when he was here.” From running after the team bus to being the last remaining NBA player on the ’96 squad. Not too shabby, Nazr, not too shabby.
— One detail Cal was allowed to divulge was that select families from West Liberty will receive grants directly from the players: “The best thing will be in the game, if we have three, four five families from West Liberty that get grants directly from a player. John Wall gives this family a grant whose house was wiped out and they had no insurance. Think about that.” A big hug from DeMarcus Cousins is just an added bonus. In addition to the West Liberty Recovery Fund, Cal said the following charities would receive proceeds from the event: Samaritan’s Feet, 4 Paws for Ability, and Everfi Financial Literacy.
— Recruiting tidbits! On Saturday, the Cats will host Huntington Prep stars Dominic Woodson and Teki Gill-Caesar. Woodson, a four star center ranked 36th in the 2013 class by Rivals.com, does not have an offer from the Cats, but has received “interest” so far. Gill-Caesar is a four-star wing player recently ranked 18th in the 2015 Scout.com rankings. If you know your prep schools, you know that both are teammates of the highly coveted Andrew Wiggins. In fact, Cal is so interested in the Huntington Prep pipeline that he’s traveling to West Virginia on Sunday, the first day of the fall contact period, to check in on Wiggins and catch Woodson and Gill-Caesar in action.
— Karl Towns announced on Twitter on Monday that he officially had an offer from the Cats, and on Tuesday, he opened up about it to SNY.tv:
“It was a just great feeling. The whole staff liked what they saw with me with the Dominican team even though they just wanted to see what I can do. Kentucky is definitely a program that can make me the best player I can be.”
— Things are not getting better for Billy Gillispie. Sources close to the Texas Tech program told CBSSports’ Jeff Goodman Gillispie “reneged on several promises to coaches, kept players in scholarship limbo, causing them to miss opportunities and money, and also practiced injured players so severely that they openly wept in practice.” Sound familiar? Scroll down to Matt’s post to read more about it. All those in favor of going to Lubbock and pelting him with Pop Tarts, say “aye.” Aye.
— Finally, happy birthday to one of the newest Cats in the Lodge, Julius Mays. Julius, tell me what Mrs. Calipari’s infamous birthday brownies taste like. I’m dying to know.
That’ll do for now. We’ll be back soon. In the meantime, enjoy the familiar tones of Mr. Cawood Ledford: