When George Clooney‘s name pops up on the list of birthdays, the normally impossible job of picking a news and views honoree becomes very easy. (Picking which picture to use, on the other hand…)
In addition to being one of the sexiest men in the world and a cruel reminder that men age better than women, Clooney is a Kentuckian. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Clooney is the son of a beauty pageant queen and a news anchor, and the nephew of a very famous singer, Rosemary. Clooney and his family moved around the area before settling in Augusta, Kentucky, where George played high school baseball and basketball. He was so adept at baseball that he even tried out for the Reds, but didn’t make it past the first round of cuts. He put in some stints at Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati before dropping out to pursue acting.
As if we needed another reason to love him, Clooney is also a UK fan. Skip to the 5:30 mark of this video to hear Clooney talk about playing basketball with Charlie Rose, who went to Duke: “I’ve played basketball with Charlie, and he went to Duke and I’m a Kentucky guy. In his basketball game, he cheats and fouls. I play like a good Kentucky guy, and he plays like a Duke man.”
Cheers to you, George. I’m sure you’ll ring in 52 in a much cooler manner than any of us could ever dream of.
Now, on to the news and views from another offseason Monday…
— On Monday, we learned a little more about the condition of Asheley Lowery, the junior defensive back who was in a car wreck over the weekend. Mark Stoops traveled to Georgia to see his starting safety and released the following statement:
“I went to see Ashely today and was glad to see him and spend some time with him. We’re thankful for the progress he’s made and are hopeful he will continue that improvement. He’s heard from a lot of teammates and is grateful for all the good wishes and prayers that so many people are offering on his behalf. We ask the Big Blue Nation to join Ashely’s football family in continuing to pray for a speedy recovery.”
Ashely’s family also released a statement, saying that his condition has been upgraded from “stable” to “satisfactory,” and that his injuries are no longer life-threatening. Amazingly, Lowery suffered no broken bones or internal injuries after being thrown 100 feet from his car after it flipped several times. His family says they expect Ashely to make a full recovery, and thanks the BBN for their thoughts and prayers:
“On behalf of the Lowery family, we’d like to thank everyone for their concerns and prayer. From Georgia to Lexington, we can’t thank everyone enough. You are like family to us.
Best wishes to Ashely in his recovery.
— In other football news, redshirt freshman running back Justin Taylor will transfer. The news isn’t terribly surprising, as Taylor had a difficult spring that scooted him further down the depth chart behind Raymond Sanders, Jonathan George, Josh Clemons and Dyshawn Mobley. With what Stoops said was “a lot of work to do” and 4-star JoJo Kemp on the way in this summer, playing time was pretty much nil for Taylor at UK. It’s a disappointing turn for the former high school star, who was committed to Alabama before he injured his knee his senior year and the Tide took back their offer. It’s rumored he will end up at South Carolina State.
— Perhaps aware of Taylor’s intent to transfer, UK’s staff went to visit 4-star RB Stanley Williams on Monday. Williams has offers from a plethora of major programs, including Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, and Kentucky, and is the 16th best running back in the class of 2014. I’m going to try not to read too much into the fact that he used the following hashtags when tweeting about the visit: #BBN #StoopsTroops #Lafamilia #WeAreUK #LexVegas
— Not surprisingly, Mitch Barnhart isn’t in favor of the SEC increasing its conference schedule to nine games. Since the SEC Network became a reality last week, rumor spread that ESPN may pressure the league into adding a conference game to beef up the television slate. Because ESPN owns the network outright and only shares the profits with the league 50/50, they pretty much get what they want. Here’s hoping the ADs of the other middle and lower tier league teams stand with Mitch to oppose the idea, or the hopes for Kentucky to achieve six wins every year just got a little dimmer (or, perhaps, the lifespan of the Kentucky/Louisville football series shorter).
— Wiggins Watch: Only a recruit like Andrew Wiggins could garner so much “non-news.” On Monday, the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach caught up with Lesley Thomas, Andrew Wiggins’ host mom in Huntington, who said that Wiggins’ mother, Marita, will come down “within the next week or so” for the announcement to lend support. Thomas also said that Wiggins spent his Monday at Wal-Mart shopping for boxes to pack up his shoes in to go back to Canada. What do these juicy non-news tidbits tell us?
1. Wiggins will announce his decision “within the next week or so” (kind of already knew that)
2. Wiggins mom is coming down to support him during the announcement. (didn’t know that)
3. Andrew thinks enough of his shoes that he’s buying boxes for them to go home in from Wal-Mart. (Considering basketball players’ love for sneakers, could have guessed that)
I think Wiggins’ coach Rob Fulford said it best in a tweet Monday afternoon: “There is nothing to see here… Move on about ur day lol.” Wiggins’ host mom said that while she doesn’t know much about his announcement, she knows “he’s just ready to get the decision over with.” That makes all of us.
— Many think that Friday could be the day Wiggins announces his decision. That’s also the day Drew Barker will tell the world where he’s going to college in a public press conference at Conner High in Hebron. Could it be a blue-letter day for UK? Most believe Barker is down to Kentucky and South Carolina, but the fact that he’s holding an open press conference in his high school gym and invited all of his followers to come bodes well for the Cats, in my opinion. Regardless, it will be a big day for the program, as both Wiggins and Barker could be game-changing players at UK.
— Your random Kentucky news headline of the night: Kentucky man threatened to eat officer.
— Finally, Nerlens Noel is off to Birmingham to finish his rehab. John Calipari visited Nerlens at the Lodge Monday evening and tweeted the following:
“Stopped by the lodge with my son @The_bcal25 to see @NerlensNoel3 off before he heads to Birmingham to finish his rehab. I almost teared up after seeing the story of Nerlens hanging out & taking Kelly to the Derby this weekend. He’s a special kid with a big heart.”
It’s not goodbye, it’s see you soon, right? See you in the morning for another fast and exciting day in Kentucky sports.