Good evening/morning, KentuckySportsRadio.com readers, and welcome to another edition of the News and Views, brought to you by the birth of Jodie Meeks. The former Kentucky star turns 25 on Tuesday, exactly one week after he signed his two-year deal worth roughly $3 million with the Los Angeles Lakers. Meeks is excited to be Kobe Bryant’s backup next season in L.A. on that new incredibly loaded Lakers roster.
“I’m looking forward to playing together with someone who will be in the Hall of Fame one day and go down as one of the best who ever played,” he told the L.A. Times. “I’ll take pride in hoping to help him out with his minutes. Last year, he played a lot of minutes. So if I can go in there and take some minutes off of him, it will help the team out.”
Just as Meeks is excited to wear purple and gold, Lakers fans are excited to have Meeks join the team and they’re expecting his three-point shooting to be a major asset. He’ll get a lot of open looks when the stars are drawing double teams, and if anyone knows about Meeks behind the three-point arc, it’s Kentucky fans.
Happy Birthday, Jodie.
The big news of the day, of course, was the announcement of Kentucky football’s starting quarterback. Joker Phillips broke the news to the media after practice when he named Max Smith the starter for the season opener against Louisville. But before he explained the decision, Joker made sure everyone knows how proud he is of his top two quarterbacks.
“The first thing I would like to say is how proud I am of Max and Morgan and how they have handled this,” he told reporters. “They have both done a great job of preparing and both done a great job of competing. When I was asked about this position (head coach), and the difference going from one chair to another, the difference is having to make the tough decisions and be accountable for them. This is one of the tougher decisions I have had to make. We have two quarterbacks that we feel like we can win with, but the guy that gives us the best chance to win at this point (gets the job.)”
Joker said Morgan Newton’s should injury wasn’t a factor in giving Smith the job. Smith was named starter because he gives Kentucky the best chance to win.
“A lot of things go into making this decision,” Phillips said. “There are a lot of different ingredients. We have to think about leadership and both of them are great leaders. Both of them have great knowledge of our offense. I think consistency and who can get the ball into the endzone and who can continue to lead this offense. Max Smith, we feel, gives us the best chance to win at this point and he will be our starting quarterback versus Louisville.”
Smith and Newton found out who won the battle Monday morning before practice. Smith said it’s a lifelong dream to lead the Wildcats under center.
“This is what I have been working for since I was a little kid to get a chance to start for an SEC team,” Smith said. “I am glad to be where I am and I am looking forward to having a good season.”
When asked if he knew he was going to win the job, he said, “I was just wanting to go out and work as hard as I could and that is what it was all about.”
Morgan Newton was very mature and held his head high when talking about losing his job to the younger quarterback. He joked around about taking the step back, saying “People will start liking me again now that I’m the backup.” Newton said he’s just going to continue to work hard so he’s prepared whenever he’s called upon.
Great attitude from the senior who has been through many ups and downs in his three seasons.
In basketball recruiting news, Andrew Harrison told The Kentucky Kernel that he and his brother will announce their decision on October 29, the day after their birthday. The two plan to take several visits in September.
Did you say you wanted a picture of Derek Anderson with the new Wildcat statue?
Here ya go. DA tweeted this photo out Monday afternoon.
Oscar Combs took to Twitter Monday night to tell a couple of stories about the old Wildcat Lodge. I copied them all and put them together on here so it reads a little easier than a bunch of different tweets. Gather around the fireplace and enjoy…
FYI: NCAA rule mandates there must be more non student-athletes than student-athletes living in new Wildcat Coal Lodge. Right after UK moved into the lodge back in 1978. Auction was held underneath Commonwealth Stadium. NCAA made UK take out private toilets. Southern Living magazine published spectacular section on JBH Lodge & when rival coaches saw it, they went nuts. NCAA quickly reacted. UK was upset because UK had already asked NCAA prior to construction if there were any restrictions on contents. NCAA said there was none. And no, Mark Emmert wasn’t around then.
Another controversy over JBH Lodge came when boosters who built lodge wanted to put JBH’s name on it & did without official UK approval. Night before UK played UNLV, UK workers cut the coach’s name (metal letters) off front of building. After game next day, issue came to head. When then prez Otis Singletary went into locker room to congratulate players, Jack Givens told him he didn’t appreciate what had happened. Two days later, Joe B. Hall’s name was back on Wildcat Lodge. Less than a month later, Givens & Company won NCAA title by beating DUKE.
Yesterday, it was Nerlens Noel. Today, it’s Brian Long.
— Brian Long (@BrianLong32) August 20, 2012
He has arrived.
Terrence Jones and Patrick Patterson will be side-by-side in Houston’s locker room next season. Patterson tweeted a photo of the two former UK stars lockers with the caption “Wildcats”
Mark your calendars for Friday, September 7th for The Cardinal Hill Kentucky Bash. Join fans of UK Football for a spirited evening benefitting Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. There will be bourbon tasting, a sophisticated southern menu, live music by The Johnson Brothers, the Jim Beam Quarterback Challenge, and an exclusive live auction. Visit the event’s website for more information.
Can I get a Go Cats?