Good evening, Kentucky Wildcats fans and those of you trolling us from other fan bases. Tonight, we pay tribute to a Kentucky legend on the eve of his 71st birthday. That legend is Charles Francis Nash, also known as “Cotton” for his shiny blond hair.
Before guys like Anthony Davis and John Wall consumed all the Kentucky basketball popularity — long, long, long before them — Cotton Nash was the star of the UK show. A three-time All-American in his three years of basketball at Kentucky, Nash scored 1,770 career points for the Wildcats, good enough for seventh on the all-time leading scoring list while playing all five positions for the Cats and starring for the UK baseball team, too. He posted a .271 batting average as a senior first baseman and would later go on to play 13 games for the Chicago White Sox.
But despite his affinity for baseball, basketball was his bread and butter and no one knew that more than his head coach, Adolph Rupp. Rupp once said, “If I had my choice of one man in the country to build my team around, it would be Cotton Nash.” That’s pretty high praise from the Baron.
Today, Nash’s No. 44 jersey hangs high above the rafters in Rupp Arena and most, if not all, consider him to be one of the best to ever wear Kentucky blue on the basketball court.
That is why, when I had my choice to build this week’s Wednesday News and Views around one man, it was him.
Let’s get to it…
Tuesday kicked off with an appearance from Jeff Sheppard on Kentucky Sports Radio radio to put his recent controversy to bed. Shep was a guest with Matt Jones in the first hour to explain what he meant by his comments at a UK fundraiser in Ohio over the weekend when he jokingly, kind of, called Calipari the enemy; said he feels more comfortable in the Louisville offices; and spoke out about how much emphasis Kentucky puts on NBA draft picks over national championships. He admitted to misspeaking about Cal as the enemy, calling it a poor joke attempt, and said his problem is with the one-and-done system, not the way Kentucky plays to it.
“I can’t question anything that Coach Cal has done,” he said on Tuesday morning’s show. “What I personally feel the right balance is for a national championship team in today’s environment is what we did in 2012.”
You can listen to the interview in the video below:
We can put it all behind us now. Love you, Jeff. Always and forever. #96RickPitinoBasketballCamp
The real controversy from Tuesday — although not exactly groundbreaking stuff to Kentucky fans — came in a report from ESPN’s Dana O’Neil and Mike Fish regarding how terrible of a human being Mark Emmert is as NCAA president. In an online feature for Outside The Lines, the dynamic journalism duo reported that former NCAA staffers have come forward with claims that Emmert targets specific coaches and programs and labels them as “dirty,” particularly within a separate in-house group investigating basketball. Those same accusers also said Emmert shares and reviews student-athletes’ academic transcripts with the media, a violation of federal privacy laws.
Now, by show of hands, how many of you are shocked by the accusations?
Mark Stoops was a guest at ESPN’s Bristol campus on Tuesday for the annual SEC head football coaches’ ‘Car Wash’ with the network. The new UK head football coach’s one-day ESPN media marathon kicked off with the ESPNU College Football podcast with Ivan Maisel (link here), followed by a live chat on ESPN.com (link here), College Football Insider with Travis Haney (I don’t know what this is), a stop in the digital media room (this either), College Football Live (no online video), and the grand finale, an appearance on SportsCenter (video here).
What we learned from the washing of his car:
— The debut of the new black matte UK helmets is very unlikely this fall. “Maybe somewhere in the future,” Stoops said. “But probably not this year.”
— He believes the quarterback position and the defensive line have the most depth on the team.
— Tight ends will be utilized more in the passing game to make up for the lack of depth at wide receiver.
— Walking into the spring game is the highlight of his time at Kentucky thus far.
— It’s a long process to go through but they’re excited.
The Commonwealth Stadium renovation is still in its early stages, but thanks to Jen Smith, we now know UK has signed formal deals with an architectural firm and a construction manager and has rough drawings for the $110-million renovation of Commonwealth and other football facilities. An open records request from Jen found the contracts and drawings, which can also be found in the new UK football media guide, as Tyler posted last week:
UK spokesman Dewayne Peevy said that a formal model of a renovated Commonwealth Stadium will most likely be unveiled in October, and that the design may look different than the one you see above.
Big Blue Nation did not make SportsGrid.com’s list of the 25 Schools With Football’s Most Engaged Fans. Wait ’til next year, SportsGrid. Wait ’til next year. Give us time.
Randall Cobb is one of the faces of Under Armour’s new superhero-inspired workout gear. The tight-fitting sports apparel company is collaborating with DC Comics and Warner Bros. to release a new collection of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash Under Armour gear that will “inspire athletes to new heights.”
Superman has since inquired about a Randall Cobb line of athletic performance wear to inspire him to new heights.
KentuckySportsRadio.com, that’s us, and DraftStreet have teamed up once again to provide KSR readers with a completely free and easy to manage fantasy baseball contest. The free one-day fantasy league will go live this Friday night and DraftStreet is giving away up to $400 for the players, all of whom come from this website. Check out the post from Wednesday afternoon for more details and then get over to DraftStreet.com to assemble your roster. Make sure you visit through the KSR link or you won’t be eligible for the KSR contest. Good luck.
KSR will be at Big Rock ATV Park in Maysville for Wednesday morning’s show. The Louisville game tickets are still up for grabs.