There is no more time honored tradition of nothingness than the annual assortment of men with pot bellies known as Media Day. I actually had hoped to attend Media Day this year, but my pursuit of the practice of law and the fact that I got really sick made the trip to Lexington impossible. Of course at Media Day, the representatives of all the Kentucky outlets got to get “up close and personal” with the UK players, culminating in the above picture where the best and worst of UK Athletics were brought together in one train wreck of a photo…..I will let you decide who is who.
Now as for the news today, there was very little. All the players said the normal things and very few “breaking” stories were shared. But three tidbits do stand out….
(1) Absent the all star classes to be found in Columbus and Chapel Hill, I am not sure that Kentucky fans could be much happier with their group of Freshmen. While there are likely 10-15 classes that have equal to greater overall talent, this group is looking like an assemblage that will leave a great legacy on the program. Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper will be impact players right away and have the ability to turn heads immediately. As Ramel Bradley said, “people are gonna be real surprised how good these guys are.” In addition, Perry Stevenson has been an early revelation to me. After seeing him during his senior year, I questioned how quickly he would contribute, but he has raised his game quickly, gaining 30 pounds and showing a nose for defensive plays that will see him being very useful against the athletic SEC power forwards. Add in Micheal Porter who will have Tubby Smith critics eating their words for four years, and this is a group who on Senior day in 2010, will have made a HUGE impact on UK basketball.
(2) Maybe the most important news of the day came from the junior class, specifically Joe Crawford who made clear that he believed it was his job to become a leader for the team. This junior class has, while not exactly being disappointing on the court, been a bit sporatic in its leadership and team chemistry qualities. Ramel Bradley will be the vocal leader of the group, but the bulk of points will likely come from Crawford and Morris and thus it is imperative that they take upon them the role of team leader in clutch situations. Morris has already expressed a desire to play that way, and hearing Crawford talk about his role in teaching the younger players, is a very welcome sign indeed.
(3) Finally, the media got a tour of the new practice facility, which gave the world the great shot of media “hard laborers” wearing hard hats for the first time in their lives. This facility will be of significant importance in coming years, and will be a foundation for recruiting visits for years to come. UK has advantages over every school in the country on lots of levels, but it has always struggled to compete in the world of facilities. This practice facility will likely be the best in the land and will become the basis for the remodeling of UK as a more modern program….a welcome change.
So that was that…..news from a day with no news. We will be at the Blue-White game on Saturday, when there will be much more to discuss and contemplate…..but until then…..Woo rules!!!