Well it has been quite a weekend in UK land and full of interesting news and tidbits to discuss. This is a special holiday edition of the News and Views as we prepare to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. I wont claim to have any thing to say about King that is any more insightful than any other tributes that you will hear, but those of us at the Kentucky Sports Radio Compound were discussing King tonight and came to a realization. It is very unlikely that there is anyone in America alive or to come in the future who will ever have a holiday named in honor of him (or her). Holidays are named after our nation’s founders, those that led us through the most difficult of times and pioneers of civil rights. Today’s politics are too contentious to support a national holiday and it is unlikely any individual will ever garner the support to produce a national unification holiday. King has, and today we honor him in a way I am sure he would most certainly appreciate….by talking about college basketball. So here we go….
(1) So what was the biggest news of the weekend? Well it is hard to say for sure, but it was likely the Kentucky media’s first en masse interview of Patrick Patterson. Patterson was in town for a high school game versus Lexington Catholic (in which he played well) and the Mississippi State game (which may not have been the best entertainment) and gave a mass interview to many outlets in which he gave a rundown of the teams he is interested in and the pros and cons of each university. As to UK, he said he loved the coaches, tradition and Rupp Arena. However he said he was not a huge fan of the city of Lexington which he described as being “too big.” In addition, Patterson confirmed what we have said on here for a long time, which was that Florida was his early leader, but now the schools are all about the same. I believe the first…..I dont believe the second. I still think UK is in this race, but I caution all about reading too much into any of Patrick’s comments. We have talked to Patterson a number of times and have learned that you can get a number of different reactions based upon the day. His views tend to fluctuate and trying to follow a logical arc is a bit odd. This is especially true when the questions and answers are taken out of context. We will have Patrick on again in the next two weeks and he may say Lex is his kind of town. I still think this is a Florida-UK-Duke-UVA race, and if I were a betting man, I would put them in that order. But we still may not know for sure for some time…..
(2) We found out on Friday that the Marshall Moses visit was once again cancelled and set for later down the road. The obvious likelihood is that there exists a grade issue that is keeping UK from bringing him on campus and accepting a commitment. Marshall Moses’ coach spoke to Jerry Tipton (more on him in a minute) and said that UK was Marshall’s leader and that there may be no one else even in second. This seems to follow my conversations with him. But something must be up on UK’s side. This is (by my count) the third time a visit has been scheduled and postponed. I find that to be poor form. I will trust that there is reasoning behind the individual decisions, but collectively it strikes me as not sound. My hope is that before the next visit is schedules, UK knows FOR SURE that it wants him there. Losing Moses for anything but grades reasons, will be a huge blunder on UK’s part.
(3) Then there was of course the game on Saturday. Some folks were critical of my quick take on the game, but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the performance. Yes we won, and Mississippi State is a much better team than people have given them credit for. However, the game essentially came down to the last two possessions and UK got away from some of the inside-out ball movement that had made them successful. Having said that, there were some things to be positive about. UK won a game (like against UL) when Morris didnt seem completely on par with his usual performance (although he still ended up with a number of points). The Cats got a great lift from Derrick Jasper who may have had one of his two best games as a Cat. He kept the ball under control (for the most part) and initiated some of the key plays down the stretch. Bobby Perry rebounded a bit and had some good shooting. Joe Crawford put up some big points and Ramel was serviceable. All in all, a win is a win….and UK continued its streak of closing out games well. This Tuesday’s game at South Carolina will be interesting…..still only TWO GAMES in the entire SEC have been won on the road, UK at Ole Miss and Florida at South Carolina. Becoming number 3 on Saturday would be a great achievement for the Cats.
(4) Turmoil and ridiculousness in the UK media also became the news of the day. First, I woke up this morning to a tidbit in Jerry Tipton’s weekly column that simply made no sense. For some reason, Jerry picked this week to talk about the fact that Roy Williams and Tubby Smith often go to the Marshall County Hoopfest. OF course the Marshall County Hoopfest was in December (called the Marshall County Suckfest by our crew after this year’s debacle), Kentucky played UNC in December and there contained no link to anything currently going on. Add to that the fact that the interview about Moses said nothing about his potential visit here this weekend, and….well, you wonder what is going on at the LHL. Then there was news that Alan Cutler has lost his job as a nightly host at WLAP. Alan has never been a fan of our site and we enjoy tweaking him on here, but we still take no joy in the news. And why is that? Because he is being replaced with an Big Blue Network radio show hosted by Dick Gabriel that will be on throughout the state. Yes you read that right, Dick Gabriel. What happened, was Rob Bromley not available? We have an announcement coming in a few weeks about Kentucky Sports Radio which we thought would be exciting….but with Dick Gabriel now on throughout the state, well how can anyone compete?
(5) Finally, our 2008 recruiting preview is coming this week. We will have a rundown on who UK is looking at, who is looking at them and what chance (if any) UK has at getting early commitments. 2008 was originally thought to be an important, but not crucial class, one in which UK can take some chances. And, this may still be true if Patterson, Lucas and Moses are donning blue next year. But if not, 2008 may be a turning point year in the future of the program. Thus we should learn the names…..if for no other reasons than I need to say some different names and talk to different players. So be ready, once one year is finished, the next is soon behind.
Finally, there are some rumors that Arizona transfer JP Prince was visiting Kentucky this weekend and meeting with the coaches about a possible transfer. I have no confirmation of this but have heard it from (now) a couple of sources. Just keep an eye on it, and I will let you know when I hear something for sure. Prince has already been to Tennessee and Vandy, so UK would seem to be (at least geographically) a possibility.
Two things to look for if you havent seen them yet…..
First, EPISODE 20 is ready for you to download. IT contains my interview with Jai Lucas and ESPN’s Bomani Jones. You should enjoy that until tomorrow night when EPISODE 21 from the Mississippi State postgame with Ravi Moss is ready for consumption.
And also check out the Intern’s rating of SEC college girls. It is both funny and informative. And if you get the holiday, enjoy it…..be back tomorrow afternoon….