At Kentucky, we don’t really “do” the offseason. There might not be any games being played, but there are plenty of events throughout the summer, plus football and basketball recruiting news. To get an idea of just how busy the “offseason” will be, I’ve put together this handy little summer calendar to keep you up to date.
June 6: Basketball players report to campus for summer session
On Thursday, most of UK’s basketball players will report to campus to begin summer school and an eight-week summer training session. Kyle Wiltjer will not be present, as he is participating in the Canadian National Team Training Camp in Portland, and a few of the freshmen will arrive a few weeks later because their classes are still in session. All of the others will begin an eight-week session in which they’re allowed eight hours a week of basketball activities: two hours of practice and six hours of strength and conditioning, led by Mike Malone, head of strength and conditioning. These eight weeks are crucial for the guys to get to know one another, develop, and for the coaches to begin teaching the dribble drive offense.
June 8 – 9: Football Saturday Night Primetime Camp
This is a big weekend for Kentucky football, as most of the 2014 commitments and top targets will come to campus to participate in the Saturday Night Primetime Camp. The 2014 commits planned the trip last week as a way to get to know the staff, fans, and each other better. Stanley “Boom” Williams and Denzel Ware are among the major targets expected to attend. Nick Roush will be by later this week with a full preview of the event, so stay tuned.
June 10: Drew Barker arrives on campus, Matt Elam begins visit
Part two of the 2014 commits visit may be more exciting than part one. On Monday, Drew Barker will arrive on campus after participating in the Rivals 5-Star Challenge in Chicago. Who else shows up on Monday? Elizabethtown’s Matt Elam, who will be fresh off a visit to Alabama. With the 2014 commitments on campus for his visit, I can’t think of a better time to sell Elam on coming home to be a hero.
June 24: The KSR Tour of Affiliates begins
Last summer, Matt, Ryan and Drew visited all of the radio show’s affiliates, which turned into a wonderful way to tour the state, meet fans, and sample each town’s local fare. This year, they’re doing it all over again, with the addition of a few new stops for the stations that have picked up the show over the last year. The full schedule of stops is still being finalized, but we’ll post it as soon as it’s ready.
June 27: NBA Draft
If the Cavaliers play it smart, they’ll pick Nerlens Noel first and John Calipari will once again get to hug a former player turned number one pick as they go on stage to realize their dreams. The latest mock drafts have Nerlens going first, and Archie Goodwin slipping to the early second round. There’s a lot of time between now and the draft, so Archie still has time to improve his stock.
July 7 – 12: NBA Summer League in Orlando
The Orlando Summer League isn’t as big as the Las Vegas Summer League, but 10 of the NBA’s 30 teams will convene in Orlando, Florida to test out the rookies and give some of the younger players a chance to shine. Teams participating in the Orlando league: Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz.
July 10 – 12: KSR Goes to the Peach Jam
For the third straight year, KSR will go to the Peach Jam, the summer’s hottest high school basketball event. It’s the finals of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, and in past years, has featured stars like Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins, James Young, and Nerlens Noel. Games take place on two courts divided by a curtain with John Calipari (aka The Godfather), seated right in the middle so he can see both. For most, the star of last year’s show may have been Andrew Wiggins, but to Matt and Drew, it was Bill Self’s wig, which they discovered while sitting nearby. I can’t wait to see what they find out this year.
July 12 – 22: NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
If you’re a true NBA junkie, then you’ll probably go to Las Vegas to watch the summer league games, or if you’re a true Vegas junkie, you’ll use that as an excuse to justify yet another trip to Sin City. Teams participating in the Las Vegas league: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
July 16 – 18: SEC Media Days
For the first time, KSR will be sending a reporter to the SEC Football Media Days–yours truly. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the South’s most widely publicized summer event, but if anything, I’ll just follow Les Miles around to see what hijinks he gets into. I can tell you what not to expect from me: regurgitated newsy tweets. While the rest of the media corps scrambles to tweet out the exact same quote from Hugh Freeze, I’ll focus on the important stuff, like whether or not he’s wearing socks with his loafers. Or which type of soda he prefers. And how he treats Mark Stoops. Because if anyone picks on Mark Stoops, they’ve got a spitwad with their name on it.
Here’s the SEC Media Days schedule:
July 16: Florida, Ole Miss, Missouri and South Carolina
July 17: Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M
July 18: Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt
July 22 – 25: Team USA Mini-Camp
Anthony Davis and John Wall have been invited to the Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas. 24 players have been invited to participate, and the weekend will culminate with an intra-squad scrimmage on July 25. Players will compete for a spot on the 2014 World Championship squad and eventually, the team that goes to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Davis impressed Coach K and the rest of the Team USA staff during the 2012 Olympics last summer, and John Wall is coming off his best year in the league.
July 27: UK Football Women’s Clinic
I’ll also be attending the Women’s Clinic later that month, an event which I went to two years ago. I really enjoyed it then, but I absolutely can’t wait for it now. This will be a prime opportunity for the program’s female fans to get a first look at the Mark Stoops era and the changing momentum in UK football. Even during Joker’s tenure, the clinic got great response, and it’s the best way to meet the staff, players, and learn the offense and defense. If I were a boy, I’d be pissed I couldn’t go. By the way, spots are still available.
July 29 – August 7: KSR Alaskan Cruise
In late July, Matt, Ryan, Drew, and the show’s most faithful fans will take off on a 10-day cruise around Alaska and the Great Northwest. Trip highlights include: seeing the Salmon Fishing Capital of the World, the majestic Alaskan landscape, and what happens to Drew Franklin when he’s off Taco Bell for eight days. Don’t worry, they’re still planning on doing the radio show and working the site.
Early August: Football Media Day, Fan Day, Fall Camp begins
By early August, football season will be so close we’ll almost be able to taste the beers on Broadway. In the first week of August, the players will report to campus and the fall camp will begin. That also includes Media Day and Fan Day. The exact dates haven’t been nailed down yet, so it remains to be seen whether or not Matt will be able to walk around the field barefoot to interview the coaches and players.
August 31: UK vs. Western at LP Field, 7 p.m. ET
It’s on. Welcome to football season.