There have been a lot of positives to come from the KSR era of my life. It has allowed me to be immersed in UK sports like at no other time of my life, has given me the ability to write to a wide audience every day and has changed my career from distracted lawyer to motivated sports guy. But the one negative that continues to hang over this era for me is how it has completely taken away from my ability to read. I will freely admit that I am a voracious reader and there was a time in my life when I gorged down on at least 1-2 books a week. But the blog world has changed that, and after a day of reading and writing, picking up a book isnt always the easiest task. While I am still working through this change, it does mean that when I read a book that is truly great, I appreciate it much more and want to recommend it to others. In that vein, on Thursday I finished the great “Losing Mum and Pup” by the wonderful novelist Christopher Buckley. You may know Buckley from his most famous work, “Thank You for Smoking”, which as made into a movie starring Jack Conway. Buckley writes satirical novels mostly and I have always enjoyed his wry sense of humor and ability to take intellectual topics and bring out their inherent absurdity. In this book, Buckley brings that same wit to a subjec that isnt often considered funny…the death of one’s parents. Buckley, whose father William F Buckley was the founder of “National Review” and likely the intellectual forefather of the post-World War II Conservative movement in America, lost both of his parents within a year and uses this book to chronicle his shift from child of his parents, to caretaker of them before their passing. He reflects on his parents honestly, not hiding their flaws but revealing his obvious affection for them in one sweet anecdote after another. It is a GREAT book and worth your time between airings of “Real World/Road Rules Challenge.” And it has me wanting to read more again, which may unfortunately cut further into my sleep.
To the Friday news:
— The only big news of the day for Kentucky came from SEC Media Days (an otherwise boring affair) as John Calipari repeated a number of comments on the Enes Kanter situation. In the last week, Calipari has taken a somewhat different public tone when talking about Kanter and has repeated many times how “difficult” the NCAA’s decision on Enes will be. He says that he wants to see the NCAA “get it right” but makes clear that it isnt the NCAA vs UK, but rather a collaborative process. It has been interesting to watch these comments evolve over the last week and I think the shift in strategy from “come on NCAA, do it” to “we know its tough NCAA, we are here to work with you”, is part of why the “Free Enes” shirt worn by Demarcus Cousins was blurred out at Big Blue Madness. UK believes the way to get Enes eligible is not to be antagonistic and to instead ease the NCAA along…winning them over with kindness. We will find out in a couple of weeks (likely) if that strategy ends up successful.
— The one consistent talk at SEC Media Days is the notion that the SEC East is wide open and the comment from some that Kentucky could be far down in the division. Commentator Joe Dean Jr said that he could make a case that UK could be the 5th best team in the SEC East, an absurd notion that has been implicitly agreed upon by a number of journalists previewing the league. Lets be clear about this…with Enes, UK is the best team in the league..a fact agreed upon by Billy Donovan today. Without Enes, Florida is probably a slight favorite, but UK is right behind them and ahead of Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Those teams are good and in Georgia’s case, the best two players are very talented…but they arent as good top to bottom as Kentucky and those that want to make the case for UK in “5th” in the SEC East, after bringing in the #1 recruiting class in America are simply talking for the sake of speaking and not worth taking seriously.
— Two years ago we saw two players on the UK roster that seemed to have virtually no future in the SEC. Deandre Liggins and Donald Williams were both deep on the Billy Clyde bench and when the former played, it was rarely a pretty sight. A transfer from Liggins seemed assured and it was hard to see how Williams would ever play. Now both may start for an SEC team this year. Liggins seems likely to make the opening night starting rotation as Calipari said today he has become a great shooter…making 66 threes in five minutes, a record for a Calipari player. Even more surprisingly, Donald Williams is contending for a starting spot at Ole Miss, a great ending for a kid that was previously best known for starting internet fights on whether he truly did or did not have a four year scholarship offer. Both bounced back from disappointing starts and it is great to see that both have the opportunity to excel this year.
— Beisner brought you the story last night of the proposed end to July recruiting in college basketball, which passed 31-0 by the conference directors on Wednesday. This is a big deal and is almost universally considered a good idea as a possible way to limit the influence of the AAU folks in the recruiting game. While those that prefer AAU coaches have balked a bit (Pitino said it was the worst idea ever today), most think it is a great suggestion, including John Calipari. Calipari believes taking all AAU away would take the AAU people out of the college recruiting process and put more emphasis on high schools and the high school coaches…where it used to be. What is clear is that by taking away July recruiting, early scouting will be even more important…as will be the impact on those who have strong connections around the country and the ability to scout at the top of their game. It will change the way recruiting is done and is worth a watch if it passes.
— Two UK fans are getting married in the Blue lot before the Georgia game on Saturday at 4 pm. We will have more on this couple tomorrow, but if you are in and around the Blue lot for tailgating, you ought to check it out. While the game is a big deal (the Cats can sniff the SEC East lead with a win), the idea of two people being married before the game almost intrigues me more. Ladies, would you like a tailgate wedding….and if so, how would you want it to be done? I admit, I am fascinated.
— Finally, because of their terrible week (Tony Woods, Pitino Coach’s show, Freedom Hall Floor, Terry Meiners), there has been a lot of UL talk this week on the site. To minimize it tonight, we will just say this….Qunicy Miller and Deuce Bello didnt become Cards, just weeks after every Louisville fan swore they would. And the reaction from the fans is to say UL “pulled out” (which Pitino has never seemed fond of) and that it was because they “wont cheat.” Whatever makes you sleep at night.
More all day as we get ready for the weekend. Check out the radio show today as I interviewed Terry Meiners, talked about the various news of the day and spoke some about Daniel Orton and why I have always had some reservations about the guy based on last season. Listen up and Go Cats….