Kentucky Sports Radio is coming to you live from Middlesboro, Kentucky today as we take some time off and get ready for the blitz of sports action coming in December. Over the next couple of weeks (beginning with the game on Wednesday), we will be live at every UK home basketball game covering it in our own unique fashion. We will also be doing a play by play audio cast of a game featuring Darius Miller, Dakotah Euton and DeAndre Liggins so that those who have never seen the young men play can get a taste of what is to come. Add to that our Bowl Coverage, which will include the whole crew giving spots from wherever we are and it will be an exciting month in December.
However this is the end of November and we are still waiting to see where the next week will take us. This is a huge few days in UK sports with the big game against Tennessee, another UK basketball contest and the potential (yeah right) for a final decision on Leonard Washingto. With that in mind, some thoughts on these subjects.
(1) While the difficulty of getting great internet access in Middlesboro made the post-game report impossible, I was still fairly impressed with Kentucky’s performance against Liberty on Wednesday night. After two weeks off, the Cats came out relatively sharp, played solid defense against a patient basketball team and used their athleticism and shooting ability to gain a comfortable lead and victory. After the game, Billy Clyde seemed somewhat disappointed by the performance (but that seems to be his modus operandi), even chastising the walk-ons for two minutes on his post-game radio show for their performance in practice over the past week. Nevertheless, the game was a victory and many of the areas of weakness, especially on the defensive end, seemed improved.
As far as individual effort, you have to like what you saw from Patterson, Crawford and AJ Stewart. Patrick Patterson showed why Mike Gundy is not the only sports figure who is a man, getting a double-double and scoring 23 in an almost effortless looking performance. He is such a smooth player, but more importantly for a freshman, he knows the game. Steady and reliable….Chuck Hayes who can score….he is special. Joe Crawford put forth another good performance, scoring 22 and showcasing why he is so important to the future of the team. For all the hand-wringing about Crawford’s play this year, he is averaging 18 a game and is looking more patient on the offensive end. And what about our man AJ Stewart? AJ showed what he can do with his athleticism and energy, scoring 10 points and playing more minutes than anyone else on the team. With Harris and Jasper out, AJ HAS to step up and contribute and he did that on Wednesday night.
All in all, a very solid performance, and one that sets the team up nicely for its game against Texas Southern on Saturday night.
(2) I cant put into words how excited I am about the game against Tennessee on Saturday. For me, Tennessee is the team I want to beat the most in all sports. Growing up on the border, you deal with UT fans at all times who (understandably so) exert their general supremacy over the Cats at every possible instance. This year is going to be different however. Since the beginning of the season, I have been 100% confident that the Vols were going down and going down hard and I am holding to that belief now. The UK football seniors (who deserve a great deal of support and recognition from the fanbase) are primed to end the longest losing streak in college football, all the while preventing the Vols from reaching the SEC Championship game. Its meant to be folks and it is happening on Saturday…..and I for one CANT wait.
(3) I know that I said I was putting a freeze on all talk about Leonard Washington, but we have to at least mention his name today. Leonard’s coach told the Lexington Herald that he would be making a decision by Saturday. There is no doubt that he has an offer from USC and that the coaches there want him on campus. The only reason for the delay at this point is to try and work out something with the UK coaching staff. The last I heard (which was on Wednesday), the UK coaches still didnt know if they were going to offer Washington and there was still some disagreement as to whether he should join the team mid-season. It would surprise me absolutely none if we hear nothing today or tomorrow and it drags into next week. But the possibility still exists that Leonard decides this weekend and could become a Cat. Worth watching…..
Tomorrow is a rare double-dip of football and basketball for the Cats. We will have coverage through the day and be back to our normal schedules beginning on Monday. Hope you are having a great holiday!