When I heard the news, I admit that I was somewhat down. Charles Nelson Reilly, the star of one of my favorite game shows of all time, Match Game (and the focus of a great Alec Baldwin sketch on SNL), passed away yesterday at the age of 76. I discovered Reilly in law school during those late nights when nothing else was on television and we would watch old “Match Game” reruns on the Game Show Network until the wee hours of the morning. The show featured Brett Summers, Richard Dawson (complete with a moustache), Gene Rayburn and others, but the true star was Reilly. With his flamboyant hair, black glasses and absurd scarves, he was the show’s focus and our favorite character. I was such a Reilly fan that I dressed as him at Halloween (no known pictures exist), which was a perfect costume since only people alive in the 70s and goobers who watched old game shows knew who I was. Reilly was ridiculous….and that is why I liked him. Today I found out he passed away when a friend texted me this message: “Charles Nelson Reilly
To the UK news….
(1) The biggest difference I noticed this weekend at the Tournament of Champions was the unbelievable positive buzz that is accompanying the UK program right now. I am not just talking about the fact that more players are listing UK (although they undoubtedly are), but the chatter amongst the recruiting folks at the event. The universal feeling amongst the group was, “Kentucky is about to blow up on the recruiting front.” Everyone to a person thought that UK with Gillispie would have its pick of players, with one analyst telling me, “The big three for the forseeable future in recruiting will be UNC, UCLA and UK, with Ohio St and Florida just behind.” I spoke with one of the more respected recruiting guys in the nation who had a couple of interesting comments. “I dont think Tubby was a bad recruiter….his assistants were not good, but I dont think he was bad. But he didnt have the passion for it. Billy Gillispie has the assistants and the passion and when you mix that with the UK program, watch out.” The future certainly looks bright.
(2) Along those lines, it was interesting to see former UK recruits under Tubby in action at the tournament and compare them to the current UK names. The best of the lot that I saw was Kevin Jones, who looked awkward during play, but was very effective…..sort of like an early Eric Daniels, getting rebounds and passing extremely well. Much less positive was the play of Kenny Frease, who in a word, looked dreadful. Tyler Zeller completely dominated him in the game I saw and Frease spent much of the first half on the bench due to ineffective play. I liked Frease’s game and still do, but if Zeller ends up with the Cats, UK wil definitely have gotten the better end of the bargain. And Teeng Akol was there (although I didnt see him)….and, well….you know what I think. But for those of you that remember our famous Marshall County Hoopfest play by play, you will like this…..there was a Leek Leek sighting…..happy times.
(3) A name floating around a lot for the third assistant job is Jeff Kidder. I know very little about him, but I heard his name in NC a lot and from other sources. One to watch…..
(4) Shagari is staying in the NBA draft. Some are even saying he may be picked in the second round. All I can say is wow.
(5) I am hearing that UK is recruiting the guy considered to be the best three point shooter in America, Rotnei Clarke, a lot more in the last couple of weeks. Rotnei is from Oklahoma and may be one of the best pure shooters in the last five years. Plus he is good friends with Willie Warren (who has the best dunk in history linked a few posts down). Get those two as a combo…..and watch out. The Cats need big guys…..but those two are special.
Make sure and listen to the Sports Mob today for some GREAT TOC stories…..Friday is Woo’s graduation party at Shenanigans in Louisville….plan on being there as it is going to be epic. More on Calasan tomorrow……Hank Thorns is likely headed to Virginia Tech…..stay tuned…..