As a child you grow up with certain legends, myths, fables and folk stories that it seems as if everyone just knows. The tales are passed down from generation to generation, with certain details being lost, forgotten, added and smudged along the way. But we know the names and can often ramble off at least a piece of the history– the accuracy of the pieces are certainly debatable. Famous trials and crimes from our past fall into a similar category: Lorena Bobbit, the Salem Witch Trials and then the woman who was born on this day in history (July 19th) in 1860, Lizzie Borden. If you are anything like me, you somehow inherited the knowledge of the following little Lizzie Borden jingle: “Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks, When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one.” Creepy, I agree. But the other option for who to dedicate the night post to was Adam Morrison. And if you google image a recent picture of Morrison, you’ll uncover a whole different level of creepy.
The mystery and eery details of the time before, during and after the crime that took place in the late 1890s still intrigue many to this day. The Lizzie Borden trial was quite possibly the closest thing to that of the Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson trial for its time, due to the drama and the way it captivated the attention of those surrounding the area. Borden was on trial in 1893 for the brutal murder of both of her parents. Some of the details of the dramatic scenes from the trial have been debated, but according to some records, the prosecution pulled stunts such as dropping the skulls of her parents on the table in front of her mid-trial. Multiple witnesses flooded to the stands to point the finger at Borden, who was apparently the only other person in the home on the afternoon of the crime. The rumors of attempts to poison the family previously, as well as strange behavior also led many to believe Borden was guilty. In a trial that was filled with what has been described as “more surprises than any trial in history,” Borden was eventually found not-guilty of the crimes. Many have speculated that had the trial taken place today, with the crime-solving capabilities and tools we have available now, Borden would have been found guilty. Nancy Grace needs a cold shower after simply thinking about the Lizzie Borden trial. And I will have nightmares after looking into Borden’s eyes in the above picture. I’m not one to judge the crimes of the late 1800s, but those are guilty eyes if I’ve ever seen them.
Now on to some brighter news…
– While the good times and memories from last season will forever dance in the back of our heads, all eyes are clearly on the future now. With the kick-off of the 2012 Peach Jam and an interview on the radio show today with one of Cal’s right-hand men who has seen next year’s team firsthand multiple times, the future looks bright…
– “Andrew Wiggins is really, really, really good.”- Everyone. Julius Randle may have put up the sexiest numbers on the day, but Andrew Wiggins received a massive amount of public praise, especially via social media, for his performance today. The talk had nothing to do with Wiggins’ scoring numbers (which by the way, weren’t too bad either– 19 pts in his first game). The talk centered around the fact that Wiggins is oozing with talent in a variety of areas in his game. His dominating athleticism and ability to drive and score at will had many echoing some of the sentiments we’ve been hearing for a while now– that Wiggins very well might be the most talented player in high school period. Whoever lands this kid (whether he stays in the 2014 class or reclassifies to 2013) will be getting a star quality type of player, ranking amongst the likes of John Wall and Anthony Davis. Don’t worry, John Calipari and Kenny Payne were both sitting court side for the Wiggins show.
– As I mentioned above, Julius Randle had the most talked about line of numbers on the day with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Almost immediately following his monster game, Randle rattled off a list of schools he will be considering which included Kentucky, Duke, Texas, UNC, Ohio State, Baylor and Florida. Florida is a rather new addition to the list for Randle. Randle did just finish playing for Billy Donovan for the United States U-18 national team, which might have something to do with the Gators’ recent inclusion.
– Julius Randle gave the following nugget on Kentucky to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com, “Kentucky says it all. Coach Cal gets the job done. He’s a great coach, he’s a players’ coach and he’s a great person. Kentucky’s a great school. You see what they’ve done the last three years and what he’s done the last couple years in the draft so that says it all.” Randle also notes that if UK gets he, the Harrison twins and James Young, it could very well be “the greatest class ever.” Yep. Until Cal’s next greatest class ever.
– We reported earlier that 2013 Kentucky target (and a player who many believe will pull the trigger for Kentucky soon) James Young had a tough first outing. Young showed up in a big way tonight with 23 points and 9 rebounds to lead his team to a 74-60 victory. Take him off the struggle bus, Drew Franklin.
– Tyus Jones, a 2014 point guard and #5 overall player, received an offer from the Kentucky coaching staff last week. Kenny Payne was on hand tonight to see Jones pour in 21 first half points against Andrew Wiggins’ team. Jones commented on his recent offer from Kentucky, “With them winning a national championship, it’s definitely a great feeling. They’re the top school right now.”
– Eric Lindsey, the head honcho over on CoachCal.com, spent some time sharing his thoughts and observations on some of the 2012-2013 Kentucky players this morning on the KSR radio show. Lindsey has had the opportunity to see most of Kentucky’s summer practices. He gave some insight on almost all of next year’s players, but the most interesting tidbit for me was the fact that when Orlando Antigua originally contacted Julius Mays, he wasn’t interested. Take them for what they are worth, but my two conclusions from Lindsey’s info on Mays are:
1) Kentucky had to work hard for Julius Mays/Kentucky must have REALLY wanted Julius Mays. We know that Kentucky needed another shooting threat heading into next season. But if he wasn’t initially interested, with only a year of eligibility remaining, Kentucky must have taken the time and effort to really do some serious convincing. It sounds obvious, but Calipari has said it over and over again. Kentucky is not for everyone. And clearly the staff felt like Julius Mays was worth the effort to convince him to come to Kentucky.
2) Julius Mays knows what role Kentucky wants him to fulfill, and he is accepting of that role. Julius Mays was the leading scorer for his Wright State team last season and knew he wanted a bigger stage for his final year of eligibility. That much is clear. But Mays could have found another more prominent program than Wright State that was in need of a player to fill a larger role, one closer to the one he played while at Wright State. Mays knew coming to Kentucky that he would no longer be the star of the show. It seems as if there was a chance that might have been why he was not initially interested when Antigua came calling. After hearing Antigua’s pitch, Mays not only understood the role that he could fulfill at Kentucky, but he accepted the role. Mays has been around the college game long enough to understand the new situation he will be in next season. I love the fact that a 5th-year senior chose to give up the star-role to come to Kentucky to be a part of a potentially great team. I truly believe Julius Mays is here for the right reasons and will be a pleasant addition to next year’s team.
– As the SEC Media
Day Week news continues to filter out, the reality is clear that the expectations among the league coaches and media members is that Kentucky will once again finish near the bottom of the pack. In fact, in a vote of the SEC media members, Kentucky was picked to finish last in the SEC East. The slights toward Kentucky football continued when Tyler Bray stated in an interview that “the Kentucky loss was an embarrassment to the entire state.” Tennessee coach Derek Dooley made a comment about how Tennessee will no longer be the team kicked around the SEC. I’m not sure I feel confident that Kentucky will contend for the top tier in the SEC East next season, but for some reason I feel confident about Kentucky’s chances against Tennessee. And not just this year, but moving forward. There was a point in time when Tennessee football had a certain aura surrounding the program. Tennessee was once a top dog in the SEC, competing for and winning on the biggest stages. The glow of the Tennessee football era of relevance slowly began to fade, and even Bruce Pearl’s fake spray tan couldn’t mask the disappearance. Tennessee football still held the trump card over Kentucky with the burden of “the streak” though. For most of the other SEC schools, Tennessee’s cards had already been folded. Tennessee was no longer a marquee game or an overly daunting opponent. But the cloud still loomed over Kentucky. And then that all changed behind an improbable performance led by Matt Roark. Now Tennessee no longer holds anything over anyone in the SEC. In their own eyes they may still see themselves as being above Kentucky or Vanderbilt, but the feeling is simply not the same. Dooley is grasping at straws to hang on to any morsel of relevance or any step that puts Tennessee clearly ahead of those at the bottom of the pack. Now, with that said– I am fully aware that Kentucky doesn’t necessarily have much room to brag or boast. But the reality is that I’m not so sure there’s much distance, if any at all, in where Kentucky and Tennessee stand heading into the season.
– Anthony Davis finally got the chance the crowd pleaded for in the last Team USA exhibition game. Team USA took on the Olympic hosts this afternoon, defeating Great Britain with relative ease. Anthony Davis saw action in the first half, even when the game was still within reach (eh). Davis immediately got in on the action with a few nice plays on defense, including a strong rebound followed by an immediate half-court heave into the arms of Kevin Durant for the flush. Davis only played a few minutes in the first half, but saw more significant action in the second half. The game was well in hand by the time Davis checked in for the second time, but Davis took full advantage of the opportunity. He finished with 11 points, 4 blocked shots and 3 rebounds in the final minutes of the game. As I watched Davis move around the court with some of the best the NBA has to offer, I couldn’t help but be struck by the notion that he looks like he belongs. Was he the best player on the floor? No. Was he doing some of the things he was doing in the crucial moments of a game against a top international team? No. But he looked the part and he had some highlight reel moments, including a few alley-oop “auto-lobs” (h/t Tyler Thompson) that brought back fond Teague-to-Davis memories.
– Coach K was complimentary of Davis’ performance following the game. While it’s still unclear whether or not Davis will fulfill a significant role on Team USA, Coach K does seem to be warming up a little bit more to the possibility with his post-game comments. Coach K said that Davis could play a key role on defense with his shot-blocking ability when the US decides to go to a zone defense.
– I will do almost anything not to spell out Coach K’s last name.
– Deron Williams, the star of the game for Team USA, also handed out some nice words on Davis’ performance:
“He’s definitely going to be a scary player, a franchise player. You can tell.”
– And one last Anthony Davis note:
– Does anyone else find this comment from Charles Barkley to be just slightly ironic?
– And last but not least, congratulations to former Wildcat Keith Bogans. Bogans signed a Free Agent deal with the Brooklyn Nets today.
– Oh and a shout out to everyone reading tonight’s news and views from the line to see the midnight showing of Batman 32. Enjoy. Let me know what happens, this time.