Since Cal took over, we’ve had a lot of random celebrities pledge their allegiance to the Big Blue Nation: Jay-Z, LeBron, Irv Gotti, etc. While most of these “fans” are merely acquaintances of Cal’s that occasionally drop by to do the “Y,” one seems to have genuine love for the Cats: Drake. Drake first showed up on our radars back in June 2009, when Cal tweeted about meeting him in NYC. Back then, the former “Degrassi” star was the next big thing in rap, a mere glint in Drew Franklin’s click wheel iPod. Now, he’s one of the most successful performers in the world, with over five million albums sold and more number one singles on Billboard’s rap chart than any other artist.
When he’s not getting into fights with Chris Brown over Rihanna or working on his next album, Drake still pays his dues to the blue and white. He’s attended several games over the past few years, the most recent being the Alumni Game, in which he served as a guest coach. Despite all the fame and fangirls who fawned over his every move at Rupp, Drake was just a fellow Kentucky fan that day, oohing and ahhing after each DeMarcus Cousins dunk or Anthony Davis block. After the game, he told the crowd and reporters that his relationship with the Cats goes past just basketball:
“Kentucky has given me a real home. I actually dropped out of high school, which I don’t know if a lot of people know that, but I dropped out of high school. I never really got like a school experience. When Coach Cal asked me to come here for the first Midnight Madness, it just really gave me a sense of school, a sense of love, a sense of belonging to something. That’s why I feel like I belong in the UK family and that’s why I’m graduating high school this month. I’m definitely inspired by UK.”
True to his word, Drake passed his final exam (with a 97%!) and graduated high school on October 17th. That night, he tweeted that the accomplishment was “one of the greatest feelings” in his entire life. On your 26th birthday, these news and views are for you, Drake. You da you da the best.
— The big news of the day had to be the scuttlebutt surrounding Andrew Wiggins’ recruitment. Wiggins told Evan Daniels Monday night that despite what the media thinks, he wasn’t down to only Kentucky and Florida State and that he wished other schools would continue recruiting him. Wiggins’ high school coach Rob Fulford clarified those comments to Adam Zagoria on Tuesday morning, saying that other schools have picked up interest in Wiggins because they think they might have a shot now that James Young has committed to Kentucky, taking over a wing spot on an already packed roster. However, Fulford also said that Wiggins, whom he called “extremely unselfish,” wouldn’t rule out going to Kentucky simply because the Cats already have a commitment from a wing player.
So, where does this leave Kentucky with Wiggins? It’s not exactly the best of news that Wiggins is entertaining other offers (Roy Williams stopped by Tuesday afternoon and Kansas is on deck Wednesday), but honestly, it seems to me to be a classic case of “the pretty girl wants more suitors.” Wiggins is considered by many to be the most talented high school player since LeBron James, and you know what? He’s a kid. Maybe he wants to be chased a little more before making his decision. Either way, if I could have any coach in the hunt right now, it would be Calipari. #InCalWeTrust
— More Andrew Wiggins news! It was announced today that Wiggins’ team, Huntington Prep, will play Christian Faith Academy of North Carolina at Scott County at 4 p.m., Sunday, November 18th, so if you want to go see what all the hype is about, there’s your chance. I expect full reports on the game on my desk by 5 p.m. the following Monday.
— When he wasn’t taking pictures with a different, possibly even more awesome Wiggins, Kyle Wiltjer helped Cal introduce another ball to his office wall (does this give new meaning to “balls to the wall”?). This wasn’t just any old ball though…it was the game ball from the National Championship game:
Pretty soon he’s going to have to start hanging those from the ceiling.
— Jeff Goodman and the CBS Sports crew trotted out another preseason position ranking on Tuesday, releasing their list of the Top 50 Big Men in the country. Three UK players made the list: Nerlens Noel at #3, Alex Poythress at #14 and Kyle Wiltjer at #44. Apparently, the CBS Sports crew hasn’t been drinking the Cal-ade when it comes to Willie Cauley-Stein just yet.
— You may have noticed a new player in the All-Access previews. You know, this guy:
You’re looking at Tod Lanter, UK’s newest practice player. He joined the team the day after Big Blue Madness and is now living the life our dreams are made of. If that blonde mop and last name sound familiar, it’s because he’s the son of Bo Lanter, who played for the Cats from 1980-1982. When asked about it, Brian Long just said he hopes Tod appreciates it all.
— Patrick Towles returned to the practice field Tuesday and looked exactly how you would expect a player who’s been limited for the past few weeks: rusty. “Really, really rusty,” according to Randy Sanders, who pointed out that on top of that, Tuesday’s practice was only Towles’ fourth time working with the varsity squad. Regardless, Sanders said Towles had tape, an air cast, and high-top cleats on his ankle to keep it stable and they hope to have him ready for Saturday’s game in Columbia. One thing that might make the Cats’ trip to Mizzou a little easier: James Franklin is doubtful to play, according to the team’s updated depth chart. UK Football 2012: Small victories!
— UK Hoops held its Media Day on Tuesday, and like the boys, were picked to finish first in the SEC. However, Matthew Mitchell said that’s all a bunch of hooey, and that if anything, it speaks more of last year’s team than this year’s team. When asked for his own predictions, Mitchell said he thinks his team is a Final Four team. His confidence comes with good reason: reigning SEC Player of the Year A’dia Mathies was named Preseason Player of the Year and junior Samarie Walker was named to the Second Team. Coach Mitchell nailed it when he said “Kentucky is the most exciting place in the country to play college basketball.” Mitchell played up the partnership between the men’s and women’s teams, himself and Calipari especially, joking that he has helped Cal out a lot, “particularly public relations; he’s had some trouble with that.”
— The spotlight may have been on his team, but it seems everyone still wanted to talk about Matthew Mitchell’s dancing at Madness. When asked about it, Mitchell joked, “People are extremely impressed with my ability to entertain. I’m sure my parents are proud.” Does he ever encourage Cal to dance? “I try to only bring things up to Cal that don’t waste his time. He’s a very busy man.”
— Busy busting a move!
— How can I not end on that note? Wednesday should be a fun day around these parts, with the KSR Dating Game at 11 a.m., the latest episode of All-Access Kentucky, and of course, the Blue/White game. See you soon.