Tonight on television involved flipping back and forth between UNC-Wake and the Golden Globes, a great dichotomy that allowed me to see constant shots of overhyped stars such as Kate Hudson and Tyler Hansborough. While seeing the Heels get beat was nice, I got special joy out of seeing the Golden Globe for Best Actor go to Mickey Rourke. I have been waiting to see “The Wrestler” for what seems to be an eternity (it comes out I believe on Friday) and the praise for Rourke’s performance has been ubiquitous. In many ways this movie and Rourke in it are seemingly almost crafted to specifically appeal to me. It combines a person down on his luck who is attempting to find redemption, a tale of someone who hit heights but whose own personal demons led to a downfall and professional wrestling. Add to it the fact that Rourke seemingly lived out the life trajectory of the title character and it is a movie that will be a first night viewing for me. Watching Rourke get up and give his speech in which he thanked (among others) his dogs, saying that “sometimes when a man is alone, only his dogs are there with him”, was great and moving. And when I heard that Ric Flair will be attending the Oscars if he is nominated, well Rourke hit another level. Congrats to him for the victory and to “Slumdog Millionaire”, which won best picture and which I saw Friday…..you should too.
To the news and views…..
(1) The Cats got off to a solid start on SEC play with the win Saturday. It wasnt the prettiest game in the world and the Cats nearly gave heart attacks to the host of early Rupp Arena exits (the most annoying part of the Rupp experience), but the Cats were still able to pull it out. There were a number of positives to come from the game, but most importantly from my perspective was the great team defense the Cats exhibited for most of the game. While Vandy is not built as a team that solely shoots three pointers (a la VMI), they are a team that likes to drive and dish to the three point line, the formula for upsetting the Cats early in Gillispie’s tenure. The Cats however did a pretty good job in limiting such activity (although they still are not rotating well to stop shots behind the three point line on the side of the court). Of particular positivity was the play of DeAndre Liggins (at least in the second half), who FINALLY got after it on the defensive end of the court. He sparked UK’s defense in the second half and if he can show continued effort and improvement on that end, his minutes on the court will finally increase.
(2): It should shock no long-time followers of the blog that I was thrilled with the play of Razor Ramon. Harris went 5-5 from the field, had 12 points and played the exact type of game he had been playing prior to his injury. After the Louisville game, the Razor took a lot of criticism from some fans for his lack of efficiency on offense and became the new whipping boy for some after Porter’s improved play. But Saturday showed why Gillispie is so high on him….he played great defense for the entire game, contributed on offense and was able to get a number of rebounds from the “3” spot. Razor’s defense ensures he will see the court his entire time at UK. But if he can just score 8-9 points a game, he can be a valuable contributor to a very good team and on Saturday he gave that output. His performance was so strong that afterwards Kevin Stallings mistakenly said he was a McDonalds All American out of high school, an award the Razor did not receive. I was pulling for Ramon hard on Saturday and it was great to see him have such strong success.
(3): It was not a great weekend for UK commitment KC Ross-Miller who had two very disappointing performances on his debut in Lexington. Ross-Miller played against two different teams and all reviews were at best mediocre and generally fairly poor. I did not get to attend the games, so I cant give a first-hand account but most individuals I spoke with complained about Miller’s lack of ability to run the offense, problems defensively and with the overall effort of he and his team. In addition, he was listed as shorter than 6’1″, causing Alan Cutler to say “if he is 6’1″, I have a full beard”, a great quote from the moustached one. As with all UK recruits, I pull for KC, but he is now entering the grouping of Avery, Zollo, Euton, etc who are being critiqued hard by the recruiting folks. We shall see how he and the rest develop and if the decisions to give offers so early to these young men will pay off.
(4): On the football front, recruiting is heating up and there are a number of guys coming to Lexington over the next couple of days. Rob will be here all week to comment on those visits, but there will also be decisions from Jarmon and Lindley on their futures and whether they will return to Lexington. Their decisions were all the talk at the game on Saturday and the consensus was that Jarmon got a bit better draft evaluation than first thought and may now be considering it, whereas before it had been assumed he would surely stay. Similarly, Lindley’s status is all over the board, from high second round to fourth round and that he is now considering staying more than before. This speculation is just that, but it puts some question as to what these two young men’s decisions will be….both of which are expected by mid-week.
We will have more all day as the Intern gives an SEC review, another UK fan song is released and Beisner lets it fly. In addition, on Tuesday it will be an official MAKE FUN OF TENNESSEE DAY on the blog as every member of the KSR crew (me, BTI, Turkey Hunter, Mosley, Tomlin, Fake Gimel, Beisner, Evan, Rob Gidel, Hunter and Bomani) will write a post making fun of Tennessee….it should be a great day and one that if you hate Tennessee (and I most certainly do), you will want to visit multiple times. Stay tuned….