He’s your favorite basketball player; he’s my favorite basketball player. And today, John Wall celebrates his 21st birthday. Who can forget when John Wall first came into our lives just a few years ago, not long after that Calipari guy came to town. Little did we know that the young high school phenom would join the program and win over every heart in Big Blue Nation. The love started with a simple dance at Big Blue Madness, then a buzzer-beater in his first basketball game, and blossomed into an unhealthy addiction to his merchandise and YouTube videos. The season John, DeMarcus, and Co. gave us in 2010 will forever be one of the most exciting years in Kentucky basketball history. That group of guys singlehandedly put Kentucky basketball back on the map – for good.
So raise your glasses to Johnathan Hildred Wall, Jr. He’s legal now and I think we all owe him at least a drink for what he’s done for us. Let’s make it a John Wall shot for good measure.
It has been a long holiday weekend. Let’s get this over with…
— I won’t spend a lot of time recapping Joker’s Monday press conference; we have two posts that pretty much sum up everything that was said. The key points of the presser were Joker’s praise of the defense and special teams and his disappointment in the offense, mainly the receivers. We can expect to see a lot of bodies being rotated in and out at wideout until someone proves they can catch the football when it’s thrown their way. Freshman DeMarco Robinson, E.J. Fields, and Aaron Boyd will get some looks against Central Michigan. It’d be nice to have Daryl Collins out there competing right now.
— Luke McDermott was named Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week in the SEC. The former walk-on had four tackles and a sack against Western Kentucky in the season opener. Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph also played well at defensive tackle; it’s a position that Kentucky appears to be set at for this season. Well, at least against non-SEC linemen.
— Another UK defender received praise for his play in Nashville. Winston Guy was named Defensive Back Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards. Guy recorded ten tackles and two interceptions against the Hilltoppers. Ryan Tydlacka and Joe Mansour also received recognition from the CFPA. Tydlacka was named Honorable Mention Punter of the Week and Mansour was Honor Mention Kickoff Specialist of the Week.
— In case you missed the memo, Saturday will be “Heroes Day” at Commonwealth Stadium. All military, fire, police, and EMT personnel with a valid service ID will receive two free tickets to the game.
— Maryland’s new uniforms are hideous. Er… Maryland’s armour is hideous…
Someone needs to slow this uniform craze down before it gets out of hand. Only Oregon is allowed to do this.
— Ricardo Ledo committed to Providence for the eleventeenth time. Ledo previously committed to Providence last Christmas. He flirted with Kentucky a bit when he re-opened his recruitment in the spring but no one is surprised by his decision to rejoin his hometown school. He is Scout.com’s No. 6 shooting guard in the class but attitude issues are a major concern. UK fans should not be upset that he’s a Friar.
— 2013 forward Chris Walker enjoyed his visit to Florida over the weekend. Billy Donovan told the 6-foot-9 forward that he is recruiting him the hardest and he could get it done is his homestate. Walker will take a few more visits over the next month or so, including a stop at Big Blue Madness in Lexington.
– I’m sure you’ve seen — or at least heard about — Edgar Sosa’s gruesome injury in the Dominican Republic’s win over Panama. Sosa suffered a complete break of the shin bone and fibula after landing awkwardly on the leg on a drive with just 40 seconds left in the game. It was so ugly, Coach Cal couldn’t bear to watch. Calipari called it one of the most devastating things he has been through:
“It’s one of the most devastating things I’ve ever been through,” Calipari said. “I’ve been through one other thing like this and that’s when Marcus Camby passed out in the hallway during warm-ups. We didn’t know if he had died of a heart attack. That just ripped me apart. This is the same thing.”
The flood of support and well-wishes for Sosa from Big Blue Nation has shown that there really is more to basketball and a rivalry can be put aside when something like this happens. While at U of L and even after he left, Sosa was easily one of the most hated UK opponents. But his new relationship with Coach Cal warmed us up to him just a bit, and now this injury has all of Big Blue Nation feeling sympathetic and concerned for his future. Sosa is currently in the hospital in Argentina awaiting surgery. We wish the young man the best in his recovery.
— All of the talk from the Dominican Republic’s game was about Sosa’s injury, but there was also a final score. Coach Cal’s Dominican Republic defeated Panama, 92-68 in the second round of the FIBA Americas Championship. The team will face Uruguay on Tuesday for a spot in the semifinals. Win the next two and the DR is going to the 2012 Olympics.
— Before we go, I have one request for you, #BBN. Lyle Hord, a Kentucky fan and a loyal KSR reader from Maysville, could use a prayer. Lyle’s mother, Janie, passed away Sunday morning after a fight with ovarian cancer. Lyle just started his junior year at Mason County High School and now he’s dealing with the unimaginable pain of losing his mother. So please keep Lyle and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
That’s all for now. We’ll get back on our normal schedule tomorrow at 9:00 AM with Bryan The Intern’s best post this week, followed by Matt Jones on Kentucky Sports Radio at 10:00 AM.