KSR readers, if you’re on the East coast and you’re reading this right now, please shut down your computer and run for cover. Hurricane Irene is on its way and it’s expected to hit North Carolina this weekend with winds as high as 115 miles per hour. Meteorologists believe the storm could continue its path up the coast all the way to New York City. If that happens, it will be the first hurricane to hit the city directly in over a hundred years. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police are deploying more than 80 boats and several helicopters around the city in preparation for the worst. Beach towns along the coast in North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York are already being evacuated for what could be a historic tropical storm. Over 150,000 people are being evacuated in Ocean City, Maryland alone. For now, it’s a waiting game for the Category-3 hurricane to hit the coast. But this weekend, we could be seeing one of the most devastating storms in a long, long time.
I didn’t mean to scare you. How about some news and views to cheer you up? Yeah?
— Coast2Coast Recruiting spoke with Shabazz Muhammad during some downtime at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event and the website asked the No. 1 player in 2012 where he stands in his recruitment. Shabazz said he only has one official visit scheduled at this point and it is to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness. Kentucky was also the first school out of Shabazz’s mouth when Coast2Coast asked him which schools are recruiting him the hardest. Does this mean Kentucky is his favorite? Not at all. UCLA has long been considered a favorite for the 6’6 lefty out of Las Vegas. Muhammad is an ‘Adidas guy’ and the Bruins are an Adidas school, so UK has to fight to pull Shabazz away from his brand and the West coast. Big Blue Madness could be a knockout punch in that fight. The October 15th spectacle is unlike anything else in the country and it’s an opportunity for recruits to see the passion and excitement Big Blue Nation has for its players and program. If Coach Cal is going to land 2012’s most prized recruit, bringing him to Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness will certainly help make that happen.
— One month after Shabazz visits college basketball’s greatest arena, Kentucky fans will be filing into the world’s most famous arena for UK’s first game of the season. Tuesday, November 15th is college basketball’s opening day and ESPN just released the schedule for its fourth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. It all gets started out West with Washington State vs. Gonzaga at midnight. Over on this side of the country, Duke and Michigan State will play in the first game of the Champions Classic in New York at 7:00 PM, followed by Kentucky vs. Kansas at 9:00 PM on the same court. The 24-hour college hoops extravaganza also features the highly-anticipated 6:00 AM game between Drexel and Rider. Go ahead and pencil us in for a KSR Live Blog during that one.
— For those of you making the November journey to New York City, tickets for the Champions Classic go on sale in late September. We’re constantly being bombarded with questions about tickets for that game and we’ll keep you updated as information comes available. The only thing I can tell you now is that Manhattan will be painted UK blue, just as it was for the UConn game two years ago. I’m constantly talking to our friends at Jack Demsey’s and the owners are looking into closing down 33rd St. in front of the official UK Alumni bar for Cats fans to fill the streets. The only thing that stands in the way is security issues with something called an Empire State building, located right across the street.
— According to Rick Pitino’s blog, – yes, it exists and it plays hip-hop instrumentals! – Kevin Ware has still not been cleared to play for Louisville. It is an issue with grades and the NCAA Clearinghouse, and has nothing to do with the investigations going on at UCF. If Ware is not cleared when the grades come in, he could be eligible to play in January. That would be too late for the Kentucky game on December 31st. Shucks.
— The Dominican Republic lost again, this time to Brazil. The team is 2-0 with Eloy Vargas and 0-2 without him. The numbers don’t lie.
— A couple weeks ago Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (it’s going to take a while to get used to) tweeted about an HBO documentary on his high school to be aired October 25. We’ve since learned the documentary is called Prayer For A Perfect Season and it follows St. Patrick’s national championship run during Gilchrist’s senior year. The 90-minute documentary should give Kentucky fans a unique and thorough look into the life and upbringing of one of our soon-to-be favorite Wildcats. Set your DVRs now.
— Former Kentucky wide receiver Chris Matthews caught his first NFL touchdown pass for the Cleveland Browns in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Eagles. Jarrett Brown connected with Matthews on a 4-yard pass for the touchdown with just under two minutes left in the game. I really, really, really, really want Matthews to make it in the league and the touchdown helps his chances of at least making the roster. I’m a big fan.
— Charles Robinson, the man who broke the Miami scandal for Yahoo!, is reporting that several active Miami players have been granted limited immunity in the NCAA investigation. That means they’re all snitching on whoever participated in the scandal. These unnamed players were likely recruited to Miami by Clint Hurtt, so if he’s done anything wrong, the NCAA surely knows about it now. Louisville could remain unscathed in the whole ordeal but I don’t see any way Clint Hurtt can get out of this mess alive.
— Georgetown College introduced a new head basketball coach for the first time in fifteen years. Chris Briggs was named Happy Osborne’s replacement at Georgetown on Thursday. He spent four seasons as Osborne’s assistant coach on the Tigers sideline. Briggs was also a student manager for three years at Kentucky and he served one year as a graduate assistant under Tubby Smith. He is only the fourth Georgetown head basketball coach in 58 years.
— The Turkish Football Federation has removed multi-sports club FenerbahÃ§e from its Champions League over a match-fixing probe. More than 30 people, including FenerbahÃ§e‘s President, have been charged in the scandal. FenerbahÃ§e is the club Enes Kanter played basketball for in Turkey and the President involved in the football mess served as President of the club when Enes was a seldom used reserve for FenerbahÃ§e Ãœlker. He was arrested and taken into custody last month over several cases of player manipulation and corruption in the football system. However, he was not involved in the Enes Kanter investigations.
— Our good friend Mark Krebs has knocked down the price of his book in order to push out the remaining copies before he begins a speaking engagement tour again this fall. KSR readers can purchase Beyond A Dream online for only $15, shipping and handling included. There aren’t many left at this price and it’s the final run of the book, so if you’ve ever thought about buying it before, this is likely your last opportunity. I’ve read the book and I highly recommend it; not only for yourself but as a gift for family members. It is a truly inspirational story with an added appeal to Kentucky basketball fans. You won’t be disappointed.
— Want to be a world record holder? Now is your chance. The UK Christian Student Fellowship is looking to break its own world record Friday night for the largest water balloon fight. 5,976 people showed up to the Johnson Center fields last year to throw 153,487 water balloons at each other. This year UKCSF is shooting for 10,000 people to lock down the record for good. Sign up here. Or just show up. I don’t think they’ll turn you away.
— And, as always, tune into Kentucky Sports Radio on Talk Radio 1080 at 10:00 AM. Matt will be joined by Rex Chapman for his first appearance on KSR. That’s big time. Doves will cry.