I must say, if you are an author whose works I admire, you might need to make sure and check your health (this means you Philip Roth). A day after the death of Howard Zinn, today saw the passing of JD Salinger, whose book “Catcher in the Rye” is a 20th Century classic. The story of a 17-year old New Yorker kicked out of prep school is an American Classic and one of the seminal books of the 20th Century. Among many other traits, it stands as the “most censored book in American history” according to the New Yorker, the cause of more PTA and school board disputes than likely any other work in modern times. Salinger’s novel had salty language, sex scenes and other traits that made many high school English teachers find trouble when they assigned it to their class. However its popularity made Salinger a star, which he immediately rejected and beginning in the 1950s he became a recluse like none other. Its hard to imagine in today’s celebrity-driven culture, but Salinger has basically lived in hiding since the mid 1950s and was rarely ever seen in public after his book’s publication. He wrote a couple of short stories here and there, but never published another novel, making “Catcher in the Rye” his one gift to the literature world. He died today at 91, a living testament to the view that it is better to do one thing in your life truly meaningful than have a lifetime of mediocre achievements.
I will admit that I am exhausted after a day in depositions in Eastern Kentucky, so we will move relatively quickly:
— We have to start out with a huge shoutout to the UK Women’s team who is putting together its own special season this year. The UK Hoops group went to LSU and won 71-62 over the Tigers, their first win in Baton Rouge since 1995 and the first victory over LSU in 16 tries. The win represents the big step that the program needed, a road win over a RANKED team. Get on board folks, this team is headed to the NCAA and has the potential to do something special. Big congratulations to Matthew Mitchell and the team.
— UK was back hard at it on the practice court today, as they get ready for Vandy coming into town on Saturday. The game is of huge importance on the conference standings race. Vandy is 5-0 in conference and if they could somehow squeeze a win out in Rupp, winning the SEC East might not be assured. IF that happens, a #1 seed might not be certain. Simply put, you got to hold court and win on Saturday, which I think the Cats will.
— Some in the national media have started a mini-John Wall backlash, which is beyond stupid but shows the contrarian nature of modern media. I heard two sports shows today in which Wall was hinted at being overrated and one host claimed that “Downey is a better player than Wall.” Both points are silly. John Wall is a tremendous talent and will be the #1 pick, without question. One average game (it certainly wasnt bad), doesnt change that.
— By the way, in case people forget, Devan Downey was 9-29 in the game on Tuesday night. Yes he hit big shots, but he isnt the reason Kentucky lost. Lack of rebounding and poor offensive execution is much more to blame.
— There is absolutely no one at the Arkansas game on ESPN2. Yes I know they are getting a snow storm, but things dont look good for our man Pelphrey right now.
— Big congratulations to Rajon Rondo on making the all star team. While he was at Kentucky, Rondo was a difficult person for me to figure out and his relationship with teammates and the program was chilly. But since he has left, he has matured and embraced his school. I am very happy to see his success continue.
— I have said this a number of times, but it deserves repeating in the days following the South Carolina game. If you know Demarcus Cousins, you know that he is a great kid. When people say things about him being this or that, they dont know him. Yes he loses his temper and yes he sometimes need to be calmed down, but he is a great guy who does love his team and who his teammates love. That should not be forgotten.
— Brad Nessler is orange, both in person and on television. That isnt brought up nearly enough.
— Does anyone know the girl from Lexington that was on the “Bachelor”? Is she real? Does she still live in Lexington? Does she want to be a KSR Girl?
— As we start making plans for the next two months and the postseason, I will say what I have been saying for a while to friends. There may not be a better SEC Tournament atmosphere than the one that is coming up this year. It will be in Nashville, with the UK fans in full effect and a chance to start a great and special Tournament run. I dont care if you have tickets or not, you need to be there…it will be one to remember.
We will have more all day as we get ready for Vandy. Expect lots of making fun of Vandy and their dorky fans all day.