Besides “hey can you get me (a) John Wall’s autograph, (b) tickets to the SEC Tournament, (c) away from Brian the Intern”, the question I most often get asked is some form of “what is (insert media member here) really like?” In part because we read and see them so much and in part because in today’s opinion-driven media, their personalities are of such importance, interest in media people seems to have grown in recent years. Inevitably I always say that most of the national and local media members are generally very nice, even those that many would assume are not. Like most people in general, media folks do their job and are generally friendly and quality people, even when you make fun of them.
I say that just as an introduction for our annual naming of the media members who have been the nicest to KSR since its inception. As the site has grown, more people have given us the time of day whereas once they did not, but there is a certain core group that have been great guys from the outset. We have talked often of Gregg Doyel, Alan Cutler and Dave Baker, all three of whom have been great to me and the site over the years and who are without question, the site’s biggest supporters. But there are also other “friends of KSR” media folks that I wanted to mention as well. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports, Gary Parrish of CBS, Larry Vaught, Jeff Drummond, Brett Dawson, Tom Leach, Mike Pratt, Lachlan Mclean, Terry Meiners, Jody Demling, Keith Taylor, Mark Story and John Clay, are all guys who have been very good to us over the years and we dont always do a good job of expressing how much we (and I) really appreciate it. And a special shout out is in order for our man Rob Bromley, who we have given a hard time to over the years, but who in recent weeks has reached out to us in ways we dont really deserve. He is truly a great guy.
Now with that sentiment out of the way, we can get back to making fun of all these people and look at the news of the day:
— Late night news from Kent Spencer who says that according to Joker Phillips, Randy Sanders will call the plays next year on offense. That is a big announcement and is one that I think will be of great benefit to the program for a variety of reasons.
— The one note from last night’s game that I dont think got any play today but that I found interesting was John Wall’s comments that he thought the team was a bit worn down. One media member asked Wall whether the team looked a little tired and he said yes and that the team had gotten somewhat fatigued during Tuesday’s game. That is a factor that I had noticed developing a bit and it was interesting to hear Wall acknowledge it. I dont think the fatigue is physical, but more mental. Basically this team has been story #1 since the day Wall and Cousins committed and the scrutiny, exposure and all-encompassing nature of the program has led to some exhaustion. That is sometimes called the “February lull” and it will be interesting to see if Gameday and the renewed push to win the SEC title can overcome it over the next few days.
— I love the John Calipari story about the SLAM Magazine shoot and how it went down. According to Calipari, SLAM originally only asked for Cal and Wall and they refused unless Cousins, Patterson and Bledsoe could be in it as well. SLAM came back and said yes to Cousins and Patterson, but no to Bledsoe. The players talked and said no Bledsoe, no shoot…and then SLAM relented. Great show of camraderie by the team.
— UNC is beyond awful and its ridiculous. The Duke-UNC game was as bad as I have ever seen it and watching the Heels be terrible is really strange. It goes to show how important point guard play is in college basketball.
— Rajon Rondo was not selected for the USA Basketball team, but according to a couple of people, it was because he declined the invitation. If so, an odd choice for Rondo as basically every other great player of his age group is going to be there and accepted.
— Expect some great stuff after the Gameday thing on Saturday. There will be former players involved, including a couple of great surprises. We will be around all day as well and will have more on our participation on Friday. It should be a great day to be a UK fan in Lexington.
— Can we officially call Tom Crean the most overrated “big” coach in the country? How many more years of pathetic IU teams will it take for him to not get the benefit of the doubt?
— And there is nothing worse than listening to Vitale talk about recruits during the Duke-UNC game. He always mentions UNC and Duke recruits by name and how great they will be, even though he has never seen any of them play. Talking without knowledge should remain the sole domain of Chris Cross on the radio in Lexington and Vitale should avoid it at all cost.
— Finally, I will be filling in for EZ today from 4-6 pm on 1450 AM in Louisville as we talk the Cats on ESPN Louisville. We will have the link for you to stream the show here later, but if you are in the area, make sure and listen for a dose of UK talk in the city of Red.
On a totally unrelated note, I became fascinated by a series of videos on a website entitled VBS.tv, an independent news organization that does all sorts of odd video reports. On CNN’s website today, I found the first of their 14-part series on North Korea, as they became one of the few groups to ever be allowed in the country. I was fascinated by it and I think you will be as well. Absolutely bizarre on so many levels, it provides the best glimpse of North Korea, I have ever seen. Part 1 is linked below and worthy of your viewing…but be careful or you will be like me and watch all 14 parts before you move on to something else:
More news all day as we move towards a Gameday in Lexington that will be exciting and one to remember.