I was saddened to get on Twitter today and read of the passing of one of the favorite comedians of the KSR Compound, Greg Giraldo. Giraldo was a Comedy Central star, finding himself on virtually every show the station was a part of over the years. He most famously was a fixture on the channel’s series of roasts and with each one, his stock grew more and more. His last appearance at the David Hassellhoff Roast may have been his best yet and there were predictions that he was headed for major stardom over the next year. However, like many talented people in the entertainment business, he clearly had his own demons and it is being reported that he had a drug overdose on prescription pills over the weekend. Three days later he was dead, at the age of 44. Giraldo was scheduled to come to Kentucky in December for a series of shows that I had already marked on my calendar as must attend events. His death comes way too early and is unfortunately another wakeup call as to how serious abuse of medications can be. He leaves behind four children and our prayers go out to them and all of his other friends and family.
To the news:
— The big event this week is of course the Big Blue Madness Campout, which is said to have nearly 400 tents worth of people participating. There have not been the flurry of pictures and stories from the event this year that we saw last season, but the big night of player and coach visits is still to come. Usually you start to see players appear on Thursday and Friday will likely find a number of the coaches making a stop around the Joe Craft Center and Memorial Coliseum as well. There has been a lot of talk both locally and nationally about the mood and unification of the fanbase at the event and it seems like a positive time. I am going to stop by on Thursday night and I look forward to what is always one of the best events of the year. Mark Krebs told me that he thinks there is no better selling point for Kentucky basketball than the passion that is showcased by the campout. It is good to see it so popular once again this year.
— As the Good Doctor Tipton wrote on Wednesday, the unifying theme at the Campout continues to be the Free Enes! movement, with signs and banners hanging throughout. The actual question of Enes’s eligibility is still however very much up in the air at this point. There continue to be delays in the process and those around UK have said to me that they are now unsure when the process will end. Dick Vitale sent out a tweet that suggested the NCAA should make its decision very soon and that there is no reason to waste anymore time, a thought that most around the process would agree with. As for the practical implications, Enes Kanter has been given a practice waiver, but it runs out when the actual practice begins in two weeks. The NCAA would have to extend that for it to continue and it is expected to be renewed if necessary. But for now, the waiting game continues and there is no obvious end in sight.
— A story that has gotten some national coverage but actually very little local run is the comment made by Calipari that UK was distracted by thinking of Duke and thus lost focus when it lost to West Virginia in the NCAA Regional. Calipari said the players had Duke and the Final Four on their mind and may have not been totally ready for the game against the Mountaineers. I am not sure the reason for the quotation, but I hope that Calipari was incorrect on this sentiment. Of all the teams left in the tourney last year, the one that had the athleticism to guard Kentucky and give them trouble was West Virginia. If Kentucky wasnt ready for those matchups and the chance to get to the first Final Four in 12 years…well that isnt good. I would prefer to think that the Cats were ready to play but simply missed their first 20 three pointers against a team that was giving them the open outside shot. That would make much more sense to me.
— Everyone I know and their brother is getting in a car and heading down to Oxford for the UK-Ole Miss game this weekend. I am not sure that I can ever remember a UK game outside of the state of KY or TENN having this many people leaving the state to attend. Everyone I know is going and all are getting ready for the tailgate scene. “The Grove” has taken on mystical qualities and when I spoke with an Ole Miss blogger on the radio today, he said to assure all UK fans that even with the early start, it will be out in full effect. The reality is that this is the most important game of the year for both teams. The Cats need to win in order to get to the 8-9 win plateau that some fans dream as being possible. Ole Miss must win if they want to have a legitimate chance to get to a Bowl Game. It is a make or break game for both teams and with all the UK fans heading down, hopefully the Nation will do its part to offset the advantage by the Frat Boys and Sundresses hitting them in Oxford.
We have a big day of Madness Campout coverage, Ole Miss previewing and a look at the basketball player profiles that will be coming out early next week. Stay tuned….