I had planned on putting up the journal entry on the beginning of the Barnstorming Tour, but there is just too much going on right now, so we will put it off until mid-day. Plus, how can we not acknowledge Ashley Judd’s 40th Birthday this week. The most known UK fan in the world has hit the milestone age right in the middle of a huge stretch of basketball recruiting for her beloved Cats….there is something fitting about that. When you think about Ashley’s life so far, it is actually quite fascinating as to how much she has been involved with in such a short time. Everyone of course knows her best for her acting roles and many have seen her in roles ranging from “A Time to Kill” to approximately 36 movies in which Morgan Freeman is chasing her through the fog. But she has also found her way into various political causes, including become a leading voice for children living with Aids in Africa. While many celebrities talk a good game, Ashley lives it and likely does more behind-the-scenes work in the area than any celebrity not named Bono. Plus she is married to a top-flight race car driver, all the while staying close to her Big Blue roots and cheering for the Cats. Now she is 40….but I bet she could still pull of a UK hockey poster if the right opportunity came along. As always Ashley, the open invite to become a Kentucky Sports Radio girl remains….have your people call my people (aka Hubby) and we will get this thing done. Oh yeah and tell Wynonna that I still jam “I Saw the Light” every once in a while…..
To the news….
(1): Huge recruiting weekend on campus as a number of names ranging from Josh Harrellson to Paul McCoy to Maurice Sutton found their way to Lexington. McCoy and Sutton are actually visiting tonight in Lexington and my guess is that if Kentucky wants both young men (and there is still some question about that regarding Sutton), they could likely have both very soon. McCoy is, in my view at least, a need player at this point as he is a scoring point guard who can take the ball to the basket with extreme quickness. He told TCP this weekend that he is leaning towards UK and it may very well be the case that an announcement comes soon for the Oregon kid. Virginia is likely the Cats’ top competition at this point, but watch out for Arizona, who wants to get a visit….if they do, the Cats will have competition. Committing in the next week would be a good situation for the Cats.
(2): As for the big man situation, Josh Harrellson was walking around Lexington all weekend and most reports are that he is high on the Big Blue. His visit included a trip to the Spring Game, a rendevous at Keeneland and hanging out with his host Ramon Harris (who has become Gillispie’s go-to guy in recruiting) and the team on campus Saturday night. He will visit St. Louis next week and at this point, the hometown school looks to be the major competition for his services. I have said all along that if the Cats get McCoy and Harrellson, they get better for next year and the future….and that is all you can ask. I love Ater Majok and would like to see him in Lexington. But UCONN has always been the favorite and unless that changes, McCoy and Harrellson represent the best future for UK in my opinion. But I will add that assuming Turkey Hunter’s report that Josh was wearing jean shorts at the Spring Game is true, there may need to be a fashion overhaul soon.
(3): The Derby Classic went down on Saturday and UK fans had a chance to see the future for the first time. A word here again that cannot be repeated enough….YOU CAN TELL NOTHING FROM THIS GAME! It is a great showcase and it is nice to see players that many have only heard about. But it is an all-star game….no defense is played. Thus quick trigger guards and big men who attempt to hustle always, ALWAYS get better stats than they would in a regular game. Thus when Jerry Tipton (who strikes again) criticizes the performance of Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins, ignore it….it may be the first time he has seen those kids in person and the game is no representation of what they can and cannot do. Similarly, I wouldnt get to excited about Maurice Sutton’s 17 points in put-backs, etc. He has some potential, but is not ready for big time Division I next year…..but if Harrellson goes elsewhere or another scholarship comes open, he could be a good future investment for the Cats. The two interesting things about the game for me however….Majok showed just how athletic he really is and Tyler Zeller won the three point contest. Long-term, both of these kids are going to be special.
(4): I didnt get to see the Spring Football Game but I talked to some who did. It can be summed up with these two sentences. Defense looks very solid. Offense is really, really behind. The quarterback play was not stellar and Curtis Pulley struggled for a good deal of the game. The running game for the Cats has potential, but right now there must be some development of receivers and some consistency at the QB position before I can get any confidence for next year. But on the bright side, the defense could be really solid…..more depth there than at any time in the last 10 years. So you take the good, you take the bad…..you take them both and there you have the Spring Game (with Rich Brooks as Miss Garrett and Dicky Lyons as Jo.)
We will likely speak with McCoy and Sutton soon after their visits and will give you any news as it comes. Plus the barnstorming journal and more later on. Until then, some highlights below (shot by Jeff Pile) of the Derby Classic, focusing on the future and potential Cats….