Spent my time in the best borough in New York (at least in my view), Brooklyn. As I stepped off the plane in Louisville, fresh off my great weekend in Brooklyn, I was greeted with the news that WWE legend Chris Benoit and his entire family were dead in Atlanta. On one level, this news was not all that surprising. Professional wrestlers have a notoriously short lifespan and news of their untimely deaths is relatively common. However the Benoit news was nevertheless difficult to take. In part it was because Benoit seemed as if he was one of the good guys, a hard worker who was not known for rampant drug use and backstage ego maneuverings. He was simply a workhorse, not blessed with the gift of gab, but talented at the actual “scientific” part of pro wrestling (and yes there is such a thing….even if you dont believe it.) His victory at Wrestlemania XX (which was sad to watch tonight) is one that still is celebrated by fans as one of the most exciting of all time. Of the wrestlers whose early death you could have predicted, Benoit’s was not one high on the list. He just didnt fit the type. And then you throw in the fact that both his wife and his young son had passed as well…..and it is very tragic news indeed. We are starting to hear reports tonight that police believe it may have been a murder/suicide and are investigating it with a homicide team. I certainly hope that is not the case. While all death is tragic, the thought of a parent murdering a child is difficult to take. We will learn more in the days ahead and it may very well turn out that Chris Benoit’s life took a very negative turn at the end. (Update: It looks as if the murder/suicide reports may be true) RIP to the family
To the news…….
(1) Spending the weekend in Brooklyn saw me walking the streets of Ramel Bradley and attending services at the wonderful Brooklyn Tabernacle. However I also apparently missed a host of news on the recruiting circuit. The most interesting to me, and the news to watch as the week progresses is the pending visit of Willie Warren and Rotnei Clarke to UK. This electric combo, sharpshooter Clarke and dunker extraordinare Warren, are two of my favorite players in the class and two guys that UK fans should want to see in Blue. I think Clarke is the type of player any championship team must have and Warren has all-world talent, along with a healthy, but not mean, ego. Warren told the Kansas Rivals.com site today that he wants to go to the same school as Rotnei, which means that the alleged package deal (which almost never comes to fruition) could be in place here. If UK can lock these two guys down, watch out…..it would be a BIG day for the future of the program.
(2) I am hearing that there could be as many as five 2009 visits in the next few weeks by players to UK’s campus. We hope to get those names for you soon, but what is amazing is just how committed UK is to getting guys on campus early, and impressions made at an early age. That is how you win the recruiting battles…..and it will continue to happen under Billy Clyde.
(3) Marc Maggard introduced us a few days ago to 2007 big man Leonard Washington who got let out of his LOI by USC when that institution believed he would not get qualified. Well now he is, and the schools of the SEC and Big 12 are lining up trying to get involved. I am hearing that UK may get a visit within the next couple of weekends (Marc Maggard is now reporting it is this weekend). Washington is supposedly going to visit a couple of schools, but wants to make a decision very soon. And if you believe Marc Maggard (and you should), UK is the favorite for Washington at this point. There was a time where Washington was considered a top 15 prospect….if UK gets him now….well throw that in with Patterson and Legion and it is a beyond the imagination Spring class for UK.
(4) News also came out this weekend that UK is the leader for 2008 guard DeAndre Liggins. Liggins is an exceptionally talented player and one that is explosive in his ability to take the ball to the basket. Think Derrick Jasper with a better jumper. However I must admit that this news leaves me with mixed feelings. I am a bigger fan of Clarke, Warren and Miller, and I think Liggins may make UK have to cut ties with one early if he were to decide to commit. Liggins is a difficult kid to talk to, but there is no difficulty as a player. It will be interesting to see if he continues his goal of an early decision. And oh yeah, he is an AAU teammate of Tyler Zeller….which isnt bad.
We hope to have Willie, Rotnei and Leonard on the show this week, so stay tuned. There will be more news throughout the day and the beginning of an offseason feature that I think you folks will like.