Happy birthday to the man with the hair I’ve always wanted. Coolio (or Artis Leon Ivey Jr as his friends call him,) turns 48 today, which officially makes him one of the oldest guys that’s predominantly known for being a gangster without a pinstripe suit. Admittedly, most of his fame was just a little before my time as most of his cultural relevance to me comes from Gangsters Paradise and his role in Hit ’em High – the best pre-game anthem this side of R Kelly’s World’s Greatest. Still, Coolio has managed to keep his presence known through charity works and appearances on Celebrity Big Brother and The Surreal Life. And then, of course, there was that whole crack cocaine possession a few years back. All that’s left for Coolio, in my book, is to make a guest appearance on a USA comedy. I’m thinking Psych, but that might just be because I’m a big fan of Dule Hill.
Anyways, on to the news and views. Most of the dust from late last week has settled, but for those of you who missed out, blue skiddo and we go too:
— The big story from the weekend was the mysterious handling of the Joe B Hall situation. If you haven’t read it yet, Matt had a thorough break down of the NCAA’s response which you can check out here. But in a nutshell, it looks like the decision to make the changes we saw on Thursday (Hall being removed from the game, UK Legends not being called the UK Legends, no former player recognition) may have come from the University and not the NCAA. However it was primarily a preemptive move from UK after the NCAA stressed the rule that there be no school affiliation with an event that pays former players. In order to be extra cautious, UK may have made the decision to bench Hall as well. We’re still not certain, and for all we know the details may still come out. However, after Calipari placed Hall on the Dominican Republic staff it looks as though he once again is able to coach the exhibition team, so there’s not much reason to worry anymore.
— The fallout from the story has gone in pretty much three ways. Some point to UK, blaming them for not clearing up the situation earlier and seemingly leaving Joe B Hall (and the media) in the dark. Some (including the NCAA) point to the media for ‘irresponsible reporting,’ when they assumed it was a decision drafted by the NCAA and not UK, stirring up another anti-NCAA hate machine. Some point to the NCAA for refusing to answer reporters questions about the situation, instead letting the hate machine fester until Saturday when they could call reporters out for jumping to conclusions. Either way, there is likely blame to share for all parties. But in the end it really doesn’t matter as the situation seems to be resolved, the NCAA is free to try and pass the blame created by their silly rules, we are free to irrationally hate the NCAA, and Joe B Hall is free to do what he damn well pleases.
— On to things that might actually matter, Darius Miller made the second to final cut for the USA’s World University Team. This certainly doesn’t come as much of a surprise as Darius has international experience (with the U-19 team a few years back,) and would be a huge help to any World University Team. He will still have to make it past one more round of cuts but the smart money is on the Senior wildcat. The extra game time experience would certainly help Darius as he goes into his last year in blue, but it really just feels like this is a sign of things to come for him. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very special year for the Maysville native and representing the USA won’t be the highlight of it.
— Over the weekend we saw a little update in the 2012 recruiting efforts. On Saturday, Jeff Goodman reported that Perry Ellis has decided to make five official visits, one of which would be to UK. It seems only fair after Calipari spent so much time visiting him this summer. It will be Perry’s second trip to UK (the first was an unofficial visit last year,) and will be one of five visits, with the others being Kansas, Kansas State, Memphis and Duke.
— Meanwhile, resident fan favorite BTI chatted with Evan Daniels yesterday and confirmed that of the recruits out there, Archie Goodwin is priority number one for the UK staff. That’s not to say Shabazz Muhammad isn’t priority 1a, but Archie has been getting a lot of attention from the coaches in blue as of late and for good reason. There may be a little competition from the home school in Arkansas though. While you generally never want to count out the home state school, you moreso never want to count out Calipari. Plus with John Pelphry gone, can you think of a single good thing Arkansas has to offer? Me neither.
— There’s not a lot of new news to offer from the Kentucky Football program yet, but I can say the fan opinion of the program seems to be shifting. Earlier in the summer there was a general malaise about next season, fueled by the uncertainty of key players and the lackluster bowl game. However a few weeks ago, particularly around the unveiling of the new uniforms, football interest has picked up in the Bluegrass state. There is still a lot of uncertainty headed into the season, but the coaches seem optimistic and that attitude has carried over to the fan base. I am now officially excited to watch Morgan Newton grow this season, to see Danny Trevathan make his name known nationally, and to try and figure out the intricacies of the Nuclear Minter offense. #RISE
— Don’t forget, if you were not one of the lucky few that got tickets for the UK Legends game on Friday, your last chance will be today. And it will likely only be for about 20 minutes today. Tickets go on sale at 10 o’clock through ticketmaster and will likely be gone faster than Calipari can tweet #OrangeLeaf. The allotment for today will be a little larger than on Friday, but the demand has likely increased as well. The event is a must see for any UK basketball fan – don’t let it pass you by.
More all day as we delve into the blatant disregard for NCAA rules shown by Coach K and Duke, Part 2 of Tyler Thompson’s adventure in Commonwealth and Matt Jones on the radio. Stay golden, Coolio.