Good morning, fine KSR friends, and welcome to your Friday News and Views for June 11, 2010. Since every member of my family has caught some sort of illness this week, daddy duties kicked into high gear this evening and we got a late start on things. And, since time is money in most places not named Kentucky Sports Radio, we’re going to make quick work of these notes, but not before we honor the 27th birthday of Chuck Hayes, Kentucky hero and a Rockets starter in all 82 games this year. Instead of spouting off a lot of man-love for #44, we’ll just say that if you aren’t familiar with Mr. Hayes, then you should raise your hand. Now, take that hand, make a fist and punch yourself in the face. You deserve it. For the rest of you, please join me in wishing a happy birthday to our old buddy Chuck and, if you will, wish a little birthday love to KSR Friend of the Program, Matt Boone. It’s a birthday bonanza at KSR!!!!
Now, onto some UK notes…
– The big story continued to be the conference realignment and the late-breaking news that Texas A&M could be joining the SEC, along with another team that is yet to be determined. Even a one-and-done player is smart enough (don’t yell at me, that’s a joke) to know this is strictly a money game at this point, but, from a competitive standpoint, it could make things even more difficult for the Cats on the football field. Though the potential addition of A&M (or especially Oklahoma) would affect the West more directly, it means that another equally tough opponent would join the East. For a rising program who grades each season on bowl eligibility, the road likely gets more difficult. However, it does help raise the program’s status in certain areas of the country, though I think the recruiting effect in Texas is likely exaggerated at this point. There are about 350 college football teams in Texas and, even if the Aggies join, Kentucky will likely keep their same relative place in the pecking order in terms of recruiting. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.
– On the basketball front, word broke on Thursday that Enes Kanter will wear #0 next season, which would make him the first player in UK history to wear the number (according to Jon Scott’s site). The only other legal numbers to have one owner? #41 (Mark Pope) and #53 (Rick Robey).
– We also received word that the Cats will play three games on their Canadian vacation, facing the Windsor Lancers two times and the Western Mustangs once at the St. Denis Centre, a formidable venue that seats 2,500 people and features a court surrounded by an indoor track. When asked for a comment, Billy Gillispie laughed and pointed out that the lack of a chandelier and an open bar courtside made this pre-season exhibition slate a joke.
– The Kentucky football team continues to host their week-long youth camp this week, with the “Elite” camp kicking off on Friday. It’s a super top-secret Operation: Win affair and only those with the highest clearance can attend without facing the risk of being killed. And we’ve all died from UK football enough already. However, a friend of mine is coaching and relayed back some things that can’t be printed here. Not because they’re heavy on inside information, but because they’re not suitable for this family site. Buy me a beer sometime and we’ll talk.
– We mentioned last week that the Sixers are considering DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors with the second pick and have scheduled the pair for a workout a week before the draft. The pair, whose fate seems intertwined at this point, worked out for the Kings on Wednesday, but their agents restricted them from going head-to-head, according to the king of the salacious Twitter name, Chad Ford. Obviously, this means Favors has a smart agent.
– In other news, Daniel Orton made a travel buddy on his way back from Houston.
– The NCAA leveled serious sanctions on USC (and the greatest form of karma on Lane “I was on the USC staff when it happened but I won’t acknowledge it” Kiffin) in the form of forfeited wins and a bowl ban. Some jumped to link Calipari and Pete Carroll together as coaches who left as penalties were levied, but I, not surprisingly, think it’s unfair and inaccurate. Though they both left while investigations were underway, Calipari left Memphis for UK, an elite job, the first time it was offered and after fairly recent allegation was being investigated. On the other hand, Carroll left one of the best jobs in college football – a job he had kept despite numerous offers and interest over the years from big-time NFL teams – for a mediocre NFL job weeks before the penalty was handed out for violations that were investigated for years. To me, only one of these departures seems more than a little fishy.
– On a positive note, the USC sanctions led to my favorite Twitter exchange between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and teammate Clay Matthews. Rodgers tweeted that he coudln’t wait to get his Pac-10 Championship ring since Matthews’ season was vacated and Matthews responded by saying he had plenty of rings and then made fun of some kid’s acne.
– It’s another day and I’m still amazed at the size of John Wall’s shoe deal. Although, despite getting $25 million dollars over five years, he’s not the big winner in this deal. The true victory was claimed by us parents of little Wildcats who were duped into shelling out well over $100 for LeBron’s this year thanks to Coach Cal’s marketing blitz and can, hopefully, look forward to a more affordable Reebok John Wall shoe next year. If not, we might be going the Drew Franklin velcro route.
– Speaking of Wall, it became official in the wee hours of Friday morning that Washington will select the former UK point guard as David Falk told Michael Lee of the Washington Post that the Wizards will not even work out Evan Turner. Start color-coordinating your fall wardrobe accordingly.
– On a basketball recruiting front, it appears that four-star point guard Jabarie Hinds is not interested in Kentucky. Or, at least, not that glossy direct marketing with Cal’s pretty face on it.
– It should be noted that the World Cup starts today. I’ll watch, though it will be reluctantly. I’ve got no beef with the actual game, however, you’ll never convince me that there’s a sport whose players are more unlikable. It’s can’t be too long until they start letting them pop their collars and over-gel their hair wear Von Dutch hats and take Jagerbombs at halftime.
– In some baseball news, Dick Vitale got popped with a foul ball at the Rays game on Thursday – something that he’d be better prepared to avoid if the fair-weather fan showed up to more games. Vitale was ok, but Coach K still showed up in a matter of minutes and offered mouth-to-mouth just in case.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we write about sports and stuff. It might not be good, but it’s going to be ridiculous. Make sure you stick around. See you in a few…