Ferdinand’s Ball 2011
Tie those ties, polish those shoes, and get those camera phones out, because Ferdinand’s Ball is back to kick off the Kentucky Derby for the third year in a row. The annual fundraiser put on by sisters Kim Boyle and Aimee Boyle Wulfeck was created in honor of “Ferdinand”, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner that was sent to slaughter in Japan after being named U.S. Horse of the Year in 1987 and earning almost 4-million throughout his racing career. Ferdinand’s Ball raises awareness and funds so that legacies like Ferdinand can retire in peace and with dignity on a horse farm in Kentucky, instead of meeting a similar fate.
Last year’s ball — hosted by DeMarcus Cousins and my date who didn’t know she was my date, Kate Upton — was a blast and this year’s event is expected to be just as fun with Brandi Glanville of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills among those expected to attend. NFL linebacker Dhani Jones will be back to out-dress everyone in the building (the man knows style) and jockey Kent Desormeaux will be presented with this year’s Ferdinand Award. KSR’s own Matt Jones will also be in attendance, perusing the silent auction for bargains and filling his pockets with finger foods for the road home. (Hopefully, there won’t be another run-in with Pete Thamel by the cash bar this year.) The party gets going Thursday night in downtown Louisville and tickets are still available if you’d like to attend. Just check out the website for more details and we hope to see you there.
The fine citizens of this beautiful country can sleep a little easier now that Anthony Davis has the opportunity to defend this country from hot-shooting Argentinians and fundamentally-sound Germans. Davis was added to Team USA’s 18-man preliminary roster for the 2012 Olympic Games. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo originally said he wouldn’t make any additions to the group of finalists, but he didn’t have much of a choice after injuries to Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billips and LaMarcus Aldridge. Team USA’s roster will be cut down to 12 on June 18.
While it is easy to be happy for Anthony Davis, a very big part of me is disappointed that DeMarcus Cousins won’t be going to London. His name was tossed around as a potential finalist for Team USA, but he was added to the select squad that will scrimmage the Olympic team instead. Just the mere thought of Boogie roaming the streets of London and playing against foreign big men in the Olympics is better than anything the team will achieve in the 2012 games. The entire world is missing out on Big Cuz.
On Wednesday we learned DeMarcus is staying put on U.S. soil; we also learned that Kentucky might be staying put in Lexington when it comes to the rivalry with Indiana. Tom Crean told CBSSports.com that a verdict on the series will be reached very soon, and the news isn’t expected to be good for those who enjoy watching the two teams play annually. Calipari wants a neutral court and he’s made it clear he won’t give in. If Crean stands his ground too, the series is over, at least for the next few years. So much for those Peter Jurkin posters in Rupp Arena next season.
Knock-knock… Who’s there?… Assembly Hall has a display commemorating a regular season win over UK… Assembly-Hall-has-a-display-commemorating-a-regular-season-win-over-UK who?… That was the punchline.
Hoosier fans can never, ever, ever, ever say Indiana is an elite basketball program. Ever. That went out the window when they framed a Sweet 16 t-shirt and put it in the lobby of Assembly Hall.
Someone within UK Athletics is getting a raise on Thursday and his name rhymes with “Schmatthew Schmitchell.” There is a news conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum with UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell and I assume it’s about a contract extension. Of course, I’m not certain that Mitchell is getting a new contract, but unless they are announcing the release of a Keyla Snowden poster for male dorm students, I don’t know what else would warrant a press conference. And Mitchell certainly deserves a raise.
The Kentucky Derby’s Pegasus Parade will hit the mean streets of Louisville on Thursday with Cyndi Lauper and John Vincent Calipari leading the way. Louisville radio host Tony Vanetti is quick to point out that Lauper will receive a plaque as the official Grand Marshall of the parade, while Cal is just an honorary Grand Marshall, but that doesn’t change Louisville basketball fans’ thoughts about the rival coach taking part in the festivities. Many Cards fans are threatening to boycott the Derby’s kickoff event — your attendance will be sorely missed in the crowd of ten of thousands — and some who are still planning to go say they will boo Calipari as he passes. Someone should remind these “butt-hurt” individuals that this is an event for the state, and like it or not, Kentucky won the national title and Calipari is the biggest name in the Bluegrass. He should be celebrated for his accomplishments. It’s not the Louisville Derby. It’s not held at L1C4 Downs. Your Cardinals didn’t win anything. Sit down. Grin. Bare it. Happy Derby.
The news on Anthony Bennett is there is no news on Anthony Bennett. The wait continues…
Two of Kentucky’s incoming stars got some love from The Sporting News in the magazine’s player rankings by position for next college basketball season. First, Archie Goodwin made the top ten in the shooting guard category:
5. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Goodwin is pretty clearly the most athletic shooting guard entering college basketball as a freshman next season. And no one has more success converting freshman potential into college success than John Calipari.
It’s a bit tricky placing Goodwin this high because he hasn’t yet proven to be a consistent long-range shooter; Scout.com evaluated that as a weakness in its evaluation of him, and he was only 1-of-5 combined in three postseason high school all-star games. If he starts making shots regularly, he could end up traveling the road blazed by Anthony Davis and his classmates: over the Final Four podium and into the NBA.
Followed by Alex Poythress, the second-ranked small forward for next season:
2. Alex Poythress, Kentucky
There are three things to love about Poythress: 1) His uncommon power; 2) his sweet shooting touch; 3) his decision to attend Kentucky, which had a desperate need for a versatile scorer who can contribute from long range and around the rim.
Kentucky coach John Calipari knows how to extract the most from gifted freshmen. With the Wildcats set to play a center with limited offensive skill and a point guard who has not shown himself to be a shooter, they’ll need Poythress to be exceptional.
Ryan Harrow was left off the point guard rankings on Monday. The power forwards and centers will be released on Thursday and Friday.
Terrence Jones made his way around Louisville on Wednesday, including stops at the KSTV studio for an interview with Beisner in the afternoon and Wick’s Pizza for a rap concert at night. We’ll have video from both appearances on Thursday. Both are great, although Beisner’s interview was much more entertaining and easier on the ears. It had a lot more swag, too.
On a non-UK note, please take a minute to vote for the Klare family in the Life Moving Forward contest. Brothers Nicholas and Nathan Klare of Ft. Wright were both diagnosed with Charcot-Marie Tooth disease, a degenerative neuro-muscular disease which affects the muscles and nerve function in the arms and legs, within a year of each other and now they’re in wheelchairs. With your support, they can win a custom wheelchair accessible van through the Mobility Awareness Month online contest. Take a second to read their story and then give them a vote.
That’ll do it for now. Corey Nichols will be droppin’ knowledge on fools at 9:00 a.m.