There are certain times that one starts to feel old. It might be when you go out to a particular place you like and see that most of the people there are no longer in your age bracket. It could be when you find yourself referring to the basketball players on your favorite college team as “kids” and just shaking your head. Or it could be moments like Sunday when I realized that Greg Norman is on the Senior Tour. When looking at my non-UK sports childhood heroes, there is at least an argument that Greg Norman ranks first. As a kid, I watched and emulated Norman and modeled whatever passes for my golf game after him. Every major championship in which Greg was involved, I was there, including his remarkable run in 1986 when he led every major championship going into the final round. But following Greg meant following bad losses and watching as he made careers for guys like Larry Mize and Bob Tway. I still remember distinctly the day in April of 1996, when I rushed home to watch Greg finally win the Masters championship he so deserved, only to watch his greatest defeat ever as he played the most painful nine holes in golf history. His bad luck/inability to finish was unfortunately the main legacy of his career, and I followed every minute of it, likely starting my general attitude towards favoring those who deal with adversity. But then yesterday, I sat down to watch sports and noticed that Greg Norman was in contention at the Senior PGA Championship. The SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP! Greg, the hero of my youth is now on the senior tour….the place once reserved in my mind for old guys like Arnie and Chi Chi. How is Greg that old….and more importantly, how old am I? It was very traumatic realization for me that the guys who once seemed like the embodiment of being a young adult are now considered Seniors. Heck, I am now older than Greg was when Bob Tway hit that bunker shot. It is just a bit too much to take. Thus lets just move on to the news….
(1): It was a relatively quiet weekend, with most of the major UK news coming from the various holiday AAU Tournaments. As I talked about earlier, the major story came from the continued development of the Hunter McClintock story. On a weekend where I was assured from a couple of different people that UK was indeed legitimately interested in the kid, he had a commanding performance, scoring 14 points in the second half of a game where he played with a team full of players he had never previously met. A good friend of mine attended the game and reported to me later that McClintock was “the real deal” and while he might project him as a player for a high mid-major, he “certainly can play at Kentucky if put in the right position.” The Hunter story will likely be on a bit of a pause over the next couple of weeks as the Elite Camp approaches, but that performance in two weeks could decide if the kid ends up at UK….and comes in with a level of excitement that you dont see a lot for a kid who was previously unknown. Should be quite interesting….
(2): Another story developing from the holiday tournaments is the stars in the 2009 class. Big man Daniel Orton, the 8th ranked player in the class, told Jody Demling that UK is in his final five schools and he hoped to visit this summer. He has also been invited to the Elite Camp, but he hasnt decided whether he will attend. Equally as important is the continued recruitment of John Wall from Raleigh, Rivals.com’s #1 ranked player in America. The point guard continues to shine on the AAU circuit and is likely to announce his short list in the next two weeks. Kentucky figures to still be in the hunt, but at this point is likely behind the presumptive leader, Memphis. An interesting sidenote…..John Wall’s very good friend is Marshall Moses (remember him?) and Oklahoma State will likely be in his top couple of choices based in large part on that friendship. You just never know how this stuff will play out…..
(3): I also wrote a bit yesterday on the rumored transfer consideration by Mark Coury. I spoke again with the person who talked to me about this and he said that Mark still hasnt made up his mind, but his reason for looking is “not completely basketball related.” I have seen many who have questioned why Coury would ever want to leave considering he started at UK, etc. But you must also remember that for a guy like Mark, who likely wont play basketball for a career, other considerations may trump what happens solely on the court. We shall see.
(4): The brackets for the NCAA Baseball playoffs were released and the Cats were sent to the Michigan regional. There they will play Michigan in the first round, with Arizona and Eastern Michigan also in the region. The tournament is double elimination and the Cats get going on their path on Friday night. We will have more throughout the week on this regional and the Cats chance to move on.
(5): Finally, watch for some news coming up on a new basketball home and home series against a major team. I have heard that there will be at least one other home and home to join the IU, Louisville and UNC series, with the thought of rotating the opponent every two years to get a different major conference team. The rumblings I heard mentioned two Big Ten teams as possible opponents (and no one of them wasnt Minnesota).
More throughout the day, including the release of the first of our behind-the-scenes journal entries from the Barnstorming Tour…..