As we begin another wonderful week, thoughts go to the onset of Spring, the crowning of Angel Cabrera as Masters champ and of course, the 20th Anniversary of the first episode of “Saved By the Bell.” Aww yes, Saved by the Bell. Is there anyone in our generation who did not watch Saved by the Bell at least 4,000 times during our middle school, high school and college years. Honestly if you add up the amount of time I have spent watching that dreadful show, it could have easily equaled an amount of time in which I could have learned to speak a foreign language (potentially Portugese). Saved by the Bell brought us Zac, Slater, Kelly, Lisa, Jesse and Screech, not to mention strange intermediate characters like Tori (who Beisner hates). But the one constant, through each incarnation of Saved by the Bell, was the presence of Mr. Belding, played by Dennis Haskins. Belding was everywhere in the school and even found a way to follow the gang to Hawaii to watch Zac get married. His insight and frustration with Screech was a mainstay to our favorite show and he will live in tv sitcom history. Now you dont see Haskins that much (except in random internet photos and a commercial I saw during the NCAA Tournament), but as the moustache above showcases, he will always be with us in our hearts.
To the news…..
— A lot happened this weekend, but most of it was of the rumor, rather than the fact, variety. First, Jon Hood 100 percent confirmed his commitment to Kentucky on Saturday, saying that he would be in Lexington in June. Earlier in the week, he had stated that he was only 95 percent sure of his commitment, but that became 100 percent this weekend, although he said he couldnt say what was the basis for the change. Guesses have gone everywhere and I would just be speculating if I were to try and decipher what happened, but regardless Hood feels comfortable now with Calipari and he remains the only Gillispie recruit solidly on board with the Calipari regime.
— As for the other BCG recruit, it isnt quite as certain. Daniel Orton got through the Classic without making certain his future and when I asked him a percentage chance that he would be in a UK uniform this fall, he simply said that he couldnt say. Orton heard from everyone about what he should do, from Hood pushing him to stay with UK to Elijah Johnson suggesting he should go to Kansas. Orton seemed a bit uncomfortable with all the commotion but suggested he would make a decision very soon, possibly within the week. It will be Kentucky or Kansas for the big man, absent any major change, and we should have a final result for Orton by this time next week.
— This weekend in Portland, Coach Calipari met with John Wall and Xavier Henry after the Nike Summit game, this time in the team’s hotel lobby. While coaches are not allowed to attend the all star games and talk to the players while there, Calipari nevertheless made the trip to Portland, simply to get a chance to talk to the players after the game was over in the hotel lobby. He was the only coach to make the trip and he had both young mens’ ear about how they should attend Kentucky. It looks more and more like these two guys are the top choices for Calipari, while two guys that were in Louisville, Eric Bledsoe and Nolan Dennis, may be backup plans for both players. Henry has said he might have a decision next week….if that decision is Kansas, Dennis may quickly be a Cat….if its Kentucky, then a spot will also be made for his brother CJ and I would suspect that Dennis wont get an official offer. Should be interesting indeed.
— As for the players actually on the team, there will be two more practices this week and then that will be it for the basketball team. It is likely that very soon after this, the futures of most of the players will be decided. Josh Harrellson used the newsmaker known as Facebook to say that he was unsure about his future and where he will end up. I spoke with a source on Saturday that said it was very unlikely that AJ Stewart would return as well. Then there is DeAndre Liggins, who has questions about his academic status and Donald Williams, who has questions about what his role was to be on the team even if Gillispie had returned. After the last two practices, Calipari will be meeting with all players to discuss their futures. While there may not be official announcements made, expect word to leak out soon after as the scholarship situation becomes an issue. My guess is that we see Stewart, Harrellson and Williams leave and Liggins’ status be determined at the end of the semester. But that is just a guess….the truth wont be known for another few days.
This will be a busy week and this is the place to be for it. If you missed the Derby Classic interviews with Hood, Orton and Dennis, scroll down and catch up on them below. I will be on the Dave and Scott Show at 7 am on Monday with Scott Padgett and Dave Ragone and it will be available for download during the day. We will be talking recruiting and the status of the program, so check it out at the link below….