I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but since the dead horse never even existed, that’s exactly what I intend to do. The Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story fascinates me. I can’t get over it. College football’s golden boy lied about the love of his life and used her death, that never happened, as an inspirational story to win the hearts of America. It’s so perfect. He, for whatever reason, couldn’t find love as the star player at Notre Dame so he met a girl on Twitter and she instantly became his one and only, without ever meeting. It’s so, so perfect. He told the world that he met her outside the stadium following the Stanford game last season and they swapped phone numbers after exchanging glances and touching hands. It’s complete bullsh-t and it’s so, so perfect. Te’o also said she would visit him in Hawaii whenever he got to go home. Her, as in the person he never actually met. Lies, all lies. All awesome lies.
The best part about all this for Kentucky fans? Pete Thamel was the first to break the fairy tale love story. Thamel wrote it out like it was the script for The Notebook 2 without ever checking a single fact. It’s amazing how he can harass the Honey Badger’s family for comments or fly to Alabama to poke around in Eric Bledsoe’s hometown, but he can’t type a girl’s name in a simple Google search to find out she doesn’t exist. He must’ve been in a hurry to get a head start on investigating Calipari’s next recruiting class. What a joke.
With the help of Thamel’s portrayal of the couple, Twitter has been brilliant since the news broke Wednesday afternoon and it’s going to get even better when more details are released. If Te’o really is the victim, like he claims, it’ll be unfortunate but he will still be a punchline for years to come as the guy who got “catfished” on the internet by a fake account. But if it turns out Te’o was in on the hoax to amplify his image, he will go down as one of the biggest assholes ever. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
Now, let’s get to the News and Views so I can go to bed with my girlfriend. She’s in Oregon but I always call her before bed and leave her on the line to hear her breathing while I sleep. She’s the most beautiful girl I ever met, not because of her Twitter handle, but the beauty of her MySpace background and the way she uses Instagram filters.
Wednesday got off to a good start for Kentucky when the Cats picked up a commitment from Nate Willis. Willis is the seventh-best cornerback in ESPN’s JUCO 100 and he’s made it very clear that he plans to be a “one-and-done” player at Kentucky. New UK cornerbacks coach Derek Ansley gets all the credit for the commitment, considering Willis never visited Lexington or had a conversation with Coach Stoops prior to picking Kentucky.
Willis is Stoops’ fourth JUCO pickup and the 20th commitment in the 2013 class. If all 20 remain on board, which is very unlikely, Kentucky would have five spots to fill for signing day. However, the new regime is recruiting a long list of highly-touted prospects right now and they’ll take as many new commitments as they can get. They won’t hesitate to send some of the guys Joker pulled in elsewhere to make room for whoever they need.
One of those highly-touted prospects on Kentucky’s big board is Jason Hatcher, a defensive end from Louisville Trinity. Hatcher remains committed to USC, for now, but his visit over the weekend opened his eyes to possibilities in Lexington. Word is Hatcher really likes Stoops’ track record with defensive linemen and there are concerns about what Lane Kiffin is doing with his team in Los Angeles. A month ago we would’ve said a commitment from Hatcher is extremely unlikely, but now we wouldn’t be surprised if Stoops pulled off the upset and flipped Hatcher’s commitment to UK. Florida was also believed to be a major player for Hatcher, until Wednesday when canceled his upcoming visit to Gainesville.
It’s the middle of January and we’re talking about football. Mark Stoops, what have you done to us???
Circle April 13 on your calendars because it’s going to be an eventful day in Lexington. Stoops announced on Wednesday that Kentucky’s spring football game will be played under the lights on Saturday, April 13, which happens to be in the heart of Keeneland’s spring meet. That means you can cap off a long day of losing money on horse racing with a fun evening at Commonwealth Stadium to welcome the new staff and, hopefully, a top 25 recruiting class. I think it’s a brilliant move on UK’s part to move the game from the afternoon to the evening and a lot of people who never even considered going to the spring game, like myself, are already excited to attend.
Don’t forget: Mark Stoops will join us on Kentucky Sports Radio radio Thursday morning at 11:00 a.m. Plan your morning accordingly.
Kentucky basketball got a little help in the RPI rankings Wednesday night when Maryland upset No. 14 N.C. State. Alex Len scored with three seconds remaining to give the Terps a one-point victory. The Maryland fans we encountered in Brooklyn were some of the most vile human beings on the face of the Earth, but we’re going to have to join them in cheering for Maryland for the remainder of the season to help improve the quality of Kentucky’s win in the season opener.
It seems Coach Cal has given up on pushing his team and turned the reins over to the players to will themselves to victory. He looked like a broken man after the Tennessee game when he said he can’t see this team being up 20 on anybody. I think Calipari has finally accepted that this group isn’t going to develop in warp speed, as he likes to say, and they’re going to be in a lot of tight battles against teams we would like to see get “whomped.” It’s going to be a long and frustrating ride for the next two and a half months as the Cats fight to stay unbeaten at home and find enough quality wins on the road to build an attractive resume for the NCAA selection committee.
After the way he’s played in Kentucky’s last two games, any NBA GM who passes on Nerlens Noel in the draft should be fired and forced to watch the entire WNBA regular season. He’s easily the best defender in America, maybe even better than Anthony Davis was last season, and the effort he gives for 40 minutes makes up for his lack of an offensive skill set.
While Nerlens is deserving of MKG-like praise from Big Blue Nation, Archie Goodwin is driving all of us crazy. The attacking Archie we once loved is turning into the selfish Archie we all love to yell at. He has to learn when to lower his head and go, and when to pass the ball to an open teammate. We saw him keep the rock on more than one occasion against Tennessee when he should’ve given it up to someone else.
Jason Jordan of USA Today has a blog post coming out soon with new stuff from Julius Randle. He teased it on Wednesday with a quote from Randle about his relationship with Coach Cal. Randle said, “Me and Coach Cal click because we have similar mindsets. We’re both go-getters. We battle. We compete. Love that!” With Wiggins slipping away to Florida State, where he will be triple-teamed on every possession, Randle is the most important recruit to complete Kentucky’s 2013 class. And with some of the things he’s said over the past month, it’s looking like UK could very well be his college destination. Wiggins is the better of the two talents, but Randle isn’t too far behind and will be a dominant force in blue if he chooses Kentucky.
If you’re not willing to let Andrew Wiggins go, you can go see him play this weekend and let him know how bad you want him at Kentucky. Wiggins and Huntington Prep will be playing just north of Cincinnati in Kettering, Ohio in the Flyin’ To The Hoop Invitational. 2014 point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will also be participating in the tournament. For more information, Google it.
That’ll do it for now. We’ll see ya back here in the morning for another long day of loving the Kentucky Wildcats.
See you then.