Jerry Tarkanian is a little like that crazy old guy you always see in the coffee shops or late night at steak n shake. He’s a little too forward and direct, could probably use a bath, and for some reason is chewing on a towel. Still, he’s a legend when it comes to NCAA basketball if not for all of the above, for his winning ways, his humorous quips and for fighting the NCAA and living to tell the tale. And for committing a number of NCAA violations, but who’s counting? Now we would just say he was before his time. Happy 81st birthday to Tark the Shark, one of college basketballs personalities you have to love to hate. Let’s wish him many more, if not solely so he can watch Shabazz Muhammad turn down UNLV to play for Kentucky. And to watch Cleveland State get two more years probation because of it.
On to a little news and views for your Monday morning:
— First let’s start with a little football. This past weekend saw the start of Football season with the opening of Fall camp, UK Media day and the annual UK Fan day Saturday night. Most all reports agree that Fan day was a great experience, it was enjoyable to watch the players practice and the team seemed full of positive energy. The football program faced a tough battle this year with the basketball team coming off a final four trip and bringing in one of the best recruiting classes in history, but they managed to slowly build considerable excitement for the upcoming season despite a huge changeover in personnel. With new uniforms, new play makers, new gospel videos and a new mantra of ‘Rise,’ the football team finally has the attention of the bluegrass. Everything the coaches have been preaching sounds good, but we all know there is a difference between pre-season energy and regular season results. I’m ready for both, and couldn’t be more excited for football season to finally be here.
— One of the things I love about this years basketball team is that you can make an argument that pretty much any player except for Anthony Davis is being over looked headed into the season. That being said, Marquis Teague is one of the players being over looked headed into next season. An all start point guard has been the norm under Calipari, and Teague will have some huge shoes to fill after John Wall and Brandon Knight. Fortunately Teague is that talented and unlike his predecessors he won’t have as much pressure to be ‘the man,’ with so many other stars surrounding him. For the past few days Teague has been at the Adidas Nations camp, and according to NBAdraft, he’s been more than impressive. Here’s what they had to say on the freshman point.
Marquis Teague has been the best college guard by a long shot. He’s shown the ability to find teammates on the break, he handles the ball on a string, and his strength allows him to finish in the paint. At times he got a little erratic going for flashy plays and making turnovers but displayed some solid playmaking skills for others, which seems to be the biggest debate over his long term potential.
It wasn’t just Teague at the camp though, as future Wildcat point guard Ryan Harrow was also participating. He didn’t get as glowing reviews, but it’s clear he’s going to be a star in a year as well.
Ryan Harrow impressed today with his passing ability. He plays a little too flashy, something that two years at Kentucky under Calipari will help to tone down, but he has elite level quickness. He’s in a good spot being able to compete with Marquis Teague in practice every day and he’ll look to grab a first round spot in the 2013 draft. The biggest thing he needs to add is strength as he gets pushed around and struggles to finish at his current weight. He’s definitely one of the most intriguing prospects here.
Feel free to check out the rest of the NBAdraft write up here.
— A couple quick recruiting tidbits. Yesterday we saw Perry Ellis name his top four as Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Kansas State dropping only Memphis from the list we heard about a week ago. There is still no timetable for Ellis and no visits have been set, but expect the second to be decided on soon.
— Similar to Ellis, Archie Goodwin is beginning to narrow his choices down. His list currently sits at ten, but according to Adam Zagoria he is planning on cutting the list to five over the next two weeks. Per Zags “Goodwin said Arkansas and Kentucky would “probably most definitely” be among his final five.” but that the other spots “are probably wide open.” Most that are in the know say Goodwin will ultimately come down to Arkansas or Kentucky, so that statement comes as no surprise. Goodwin is tough to get a read on as far as his timetable is concerned – he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry but he does seem to have a good idea for where he wants to go, so expect him to announce anywhere between now and Christmas.
— Meanwhile there was a little shifting in the 2013 recruiting class as Bullit East Power Forward Derek Willis officially decommitted from Purdue. The big three schools expected by most to be on his new list are Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana, but it seems like Willis wants to thoroughly go through the process, so don’t expect any decision to come soon. Of course, this is the same guy whose dad said he ‘didn’t trust,’ Calipari or Pitino, so there’s no telling what turns his recruitment is going to take.
— There was some sad news yesterday as Tennessee legend Swiperboy is retiring. Swiperboy is the rap alter-ego for Renaldo Woolridge, Tennessee basketball player, and while he isn’t a great ball player, he was actually a decent rap artist. If this is what the post-Pearl life at Tennessee is going to be like, I demand he be rehired this instant. Or at least made an honorary coach for the UK Legends game in Knoxville.
— Finally there are some big congratulations to go all the way around today. You thought you would get away with only two KSR announcements, but boy were you wrong. Congrats first to Drew and Beis for their promotions, but we also wish them well as with the promotion comes the unlucky assignment of living in Louisville. Gross. Next, congratulations to KSR writer and fan favorite Tyler Thompson for her engagement this past weekend. I think it’s only fair we let her twitter announcement win Tweet Beats this week. Lastly congratulations to Tim Masthay as facebook has told me that he and his wife are expecting. If Randall Cobb isn’t the godfather, I think we will all be severely disappointed.
We’ll be around all day. Join Matt on the radio as he recounts the new moves on KSR and his experience at UK Fan day and be sure to stay tuned as Drew pens his first blogs from Louisville. It’s guaranteed to be a good day at the KSR compound.