I have a knack for discovering TV shows long after they’ve become mainstream. I was way behind the curve on “Lost,” “Justified” and “Breaking Bad,” and am only now catching up on “Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey” and “Homeland.” Thank God for Netflix, right? In true me fashion, I found out about “Flight of the Conchords” right after it had ended and the duo performed in Nashville. If you’re similarly behind on the times, “Flight of the Conchords” is a New Zealand-based comedy starring Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. It started as a BBC radio series featuring the duo’s quirky parody folk songs, and in 2007, was developed into a fictional TV series by HBO that followed them as they tried to make it as a band in New York City. The highlight of the series was the music, which the two describes as “guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk.” Confused? Just watch:
This one isn’t as blog-friendly, but it’s my favorite and pretty appropriate it being Wednesday night and all.
Happy 39th birthday to my favorite Kiwi, Jemaine Clement. Jemaine, you’re ridiculously talented and I hope you continue to land movie roles. But seriously, make this hypothetical “Flight of the Conchords” movie happen. And please shave that beard.
You know when I’m down to my socks it’s time for business, that’s why they’re called business socks! Oooh… Oh. Yes, it’s time for news and views.
— The Cats have arrived in Nashville to get ready for Thursday night’s matchup against the ‘Dores. Cal met with the media to preview the game, which he says is a good opportunity for the Cats to show off everything they learned during Camp Cal. Cal says the players formed a lot of good habits over the break, eating healthy and putting on weight, but it means nothing without “demonstrated performance” on the court. After Tuesday night’s team dinner, Cal said this to his players:
“I said, ‘Now, we just went through a great month of training and now you go on the court and show what you’ve worked on. There are going to be bumps in the road, there are going to be ups and downs. It’s not going to be like you’re going to beat everyone by 30. You’re going to be down at half at times but the whole point is, you get a great foundation out of fight. To battle, to know that you can play with anybody if you choose to.’”
— Part of that battle tomorrow night will be communication. Everyone knows about Vandy’s funky court setup with the benches in the endzones, which Cal says will force his team to rely less on him and more on each other. Ryan Harrow has made strides in recent games, especially with his communication, and it will be more crucial than ever for him to be in tune with Cal’s plan. Fortunately, Cal says Harrow has earned his teammates’ trust, making him easier to rely on if things get rough on the road.
— The game is also a homecoming of sorts for Alex Poythress, a Clarksville, Tennessee native. Poythress said he’s excited, but “at the end of the day, it’s just another basketball game” and the team will have to “take care of business.” For that to happen, Poythress must continue to give effort and “bust through” when he gets tired. Cal said that’s something every great player goes through and that Alex recognizes it and is trying to change. Any chance Alex will go out and try too hard? Not possible: “If it’s an effort thing, he can do as much as he wants. Go until you pass out.”
— On Wednesday’s radio show, Barry Booker called this Vandy squad one of the worst in recent memory. In fact, he went as far to predict an Alabama-Notre Dame style beating of the ‘Dores for the Cats. Vandy ranks among the worst in college basketball in pretty much everything, including points per game (316th), rebounds per game (299th), assists per game (300th), field goal percentage (222nd), and free throw percentage (345th). BUT, that doesn’t mean this will be a cakewalk. Vandy’s still hitting 35.5% from behind the arc, and if there’s anything to get that awkward place going, it’s threes. Let’s hope the Cats continue to clamp down on the perimeter to keep the crowd out of it.
— For those of you going to the game, the halftime act is Quick Change:
I’m suddenly very excited for halftime.
— The other major news of the day is the upcoming approval of the long-awaited bonding request for the UK football program. In a press conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Governor and Leaders of the Kentucky House and Senate will announce support of a bonding request by the University of Kentucky for a $110 Million dollar renovation that will allow for the upgrade of Commonwealth Stadium and the Nutter Football Training Facility. According to KSR’s sources, Governor Steve Beshear, Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers will announce their joint support for the measure and their desire to have it passed in both the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor. To say this is huge for the program is an understatement. For years, Kentucky has lagged behind its SEC counterparts in almost every area, especially facilities. Mitch Barnhart and company were able to make small strides with upgrades to the video boards, but until now, lacked the funding to make the major improvements required for the program to take a significant step forward. With excitement in the fanbase and buzz around the program near an all-time high, now was the time for change. Drew Franklin is covering the press conference for KSR and plans to ask all the hard-hitting questions. I’ve already done my part to help him prepare by sending him the School House Rock episode, “I’m just a bill, ” which pretty much sums up my knowledge about politics.
— Phew. If all of that weren’t enough, we’re on the cusp of one of the biggest recruiting weekends in Kentucky history. On the basketball side, KSR learned that 2014 PG Tyus Jones will visit campus this weekend. Cal has watched Jones play several times over the past few months, and if the visit goes well, there is a distinct possiblity the Cats could land him and fellow 2014 star Jahlil Okafor in a package deal. For the football program, this weekend could be the start of something very special for Mark Stoops. Roughly a dozen recruits will be on campus, including Asiantii Woulard, Jason Hatcher, Ra’Shaad Samples and JoJo Kemp. Speaking of Kemp, the 4-star all-purpose back will announce his college decision on Monday. He’s down to Kentucky, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
— You can greet Ra’Shaad Samples at the airport if you like:
I will be landing in Lexington airport tomorrow at 5:40 shoutout to Kentucky#BBN
— Rashaad Samples (@10justscored) January 9, 2013
— Also visiting the Cats soon: MacKensie and MacKenro Alexander. The twins (we do love twins) are highly rated defensive backs that were recruited by Mark Stoops at Florida State. They’ve been offered by nearly every school in the south, with MacKensie even receiving an offer from Alabama. MacKensie is a four-star ranked the 7th best cornerback in the nation and MacKenro is a three-star ranked the 46th best safety in the nation. Florida recruiting guru Michael Warchant said it wouldn’t shock him if the Cats landed them, along with their talented teammate Deadrin Senat, a four-star defensive tackle.
— Wonder why Stoops is recruiting so many defensive backs? On Wednesday, he dismissed freshmen DBs Jonathan Reed and Marcus Caffey from the team for violating team rules. Also, Jalen Battle and Jevontey Smith are no longer committed to the Cats. Battle, a two star athlete, committed to Kentucky prior to the coaching change and is now considering other options, including Buffalo and Navy. Smith was a two-star wide receiver whose only other offer came from Middle Tennessee State. Happy trails.
— Enough bad news. 2013 QB Reese Phillips enrolled at Kentucky today, a semester ahead of schedule. Phillips, a three-star pro-style quarterback, graduated high school early so he could start at UK and participate in spring practice, along with other Stoops signees Za’Darius Smith and Steven Borden.
— Two bits of NBA news if you missed them: Boogie may be moving to Seattle and John Wall is now an adidas man. The Maloof family is finalizing an agreement to sell the Kings franchise to Hansen-Ballmer, which will move the team to Seattle for $500 million. John Wall is also making a move, from Reebok to its parent company, adidas. Let’s hope they come up with something more attractive than the ZigTech.
— Remember how we wanted you to vote for the Cats to be on the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2014? Well, we made it the round of 32, which makes your vote even more crucial now. The Cats need to make it into the top 16 to move on to the next round, so vote, vote, vote. Voting for round two ends on January 22nd.
— Finally, are you coming to the Kentucky/Vandy game? If so, would you like a place to congregate with fellow Cats fans? The Nashville UK Alumni Association is hosting a pregame happy hour and watch party at CORNER PUB MIDTOWN (2000 Broadway) starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday. It will be the place to get ready for the game and hopefully, celebrate afterwards. In addition to great drink specials ($2.50 domestic drafts, 1/2 price wells and $2 Dodo Bird shots, whatever those are), Corner Pub will also be giving away two seats to the game at 7:00 p.m. CT for those who arrive early and get a raffle ticket. Last year’s UK/Vandy game in Nashville gave us Helmet Guy…how do we top that?
Thursday is a huge day around these parts, with the football funding press conference in Frankfort at 10:30 a.m. and the Kentucky/Vandy game at 9 p.m. Rest up…