It’s late, it’s Friday and I’m filling in for Matt Jones……let’s rush through this. A couple of notes:
– First and foremost, an interesting article that I think we all missed came from Yahoo’s Jason King (a real home run hitter when it comes to UK stories). King wrote about abusive coaches and talked extensively with Tywanna Patterson about her relationship with Billy Gillispie, who became a totally different person when recruiting was over. It’s a pretty cool piece and says that she and Buster became so concerned that they started attending practices. As anyone who has ever been in the presence of Buster Patterson can attest, that’s not a guy you want watching over your shoulder. He is a large man.
– As far as Vanderbilt goes, there will be more pre-game analysis tomorrow, but keep an eye on Commodore point guard Jermaine Beal. While not the scorer that Devan Downey is, Beal might be just as underrated and, arguably, the best point guard in the conference (non-UK) division. He’s incredibly efficient offensively, leading the conference in assist/turnover ratio each of the past two season and has developed a knack for making big plays this year. He’s coming off of a 25 point game at Tennessee that saw him commit zero turnovers in 38 minutes. I don’t expect him to torment UK like Downey did, but he’s a better point guard and dictates every single thing Vanderbilt does.
– One position that does have the high potential of tormenting UK is the small forward position. In order to beat Vanderbilt, Kentucky must get offensive and defensive production from the “3” spot. Jeffrey Taylor and super freshman John Jenkins are the two most explosive offensive players for the Commodores and, given the struggles of UK’s forwards and decided advantage inside, you can bet your Richie Farmer collector’s mug that Beal and Kevin Stallings will do everything to get those two involved and established early. Kentucky has the man power to more than counter Taylor and Jenkins, but they’re not consistent enough to assume they’ll be there. The Cats will need them bad.
– If, for some idiotic reason, you thought a loss to South Carolina would cool UK’s NBA intrigue, think again. Brett Dawson tweeted tonight that 21 NBA teams will have scouts at the UK – Ole Miss game.
– With much of the UK football focus centering on National Signing Day next week, Kentucky got some good news for the immediate future as Derrick Locke announced he would return for his senior season. Most projected Locke as a 7th rounder or an undrafted free agent and expected him to return. In an interview with WKYT and Kentucky Sports Network, he made it official.
– With the promise of a few “surprises” on the recruiting horizon, many Kentucky fans met the commitment of defensive end Farrington Huguenin with disappointment. The repeated declaration that the first mission of “Operation: Win” is to recruit at a level not normally associated with the Kentucky program, along with Phillips saying that the Cats would save scholarships rather than take players to fill spots, makes the commitment of an unranked player perplexing. Having said that, though, Huguenin’s size and measurables make him out to be quite an intriguing player.
-On another recruiting note, Vandy struck the first blow in the Wildcat-Commodore battle this weekend as UK target Rajaan Bennett gave his verbal to Vanderbilt. Bennett, a four-star running back, visited UK for the Georgia basketball game and had the Cats in his final group with Tennessee, Louisville, Vandy and WKU.
– I think I’m behind on this one, but I just saw that Bengals linebacker (and UK fan?) Rey Maualuga got popped for a DUI in Northern Kentucky. Maualuga was driving an 18 year-old’s car and hit a parking meter at 1:45am, which is a truly uninteresting crime when you compare it to the fighting wrestlers the night before.
– Finally, Mike Bianchi, a Florida sportswriter/blowhard dummy, wrapped up a piece of quick hitter notes with a quote from Jack “Goose” Givens about the “resurgence under ‘shady’ new coach”. Givens said, “Funny how your opinion of a coach changes when he’s at your school.” I don’t find this statement inflammatory, but I’m assuming Bianchi does, which is why it was published. Whatever.