We’re still a couple of months from the start of the season, but there is always something going on with the Kentucky basketball program. Whether it’s meaningless exhibitions, trying to figure out how to replace one group of freshmen with another group of freshmen, or Coach John Calipari walking away from his job in order to be the coach of a national team of a country he’s not even from, something is always going on. To stay apprised and educated, you’d be well-advised to follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*I Told You So: Earlier this week, it was reported that UK freshman Anthony Davis has packed on 20 pounds since arriving on campus. This is on the heels of the bombshell revelation from last summer outlining Davis’s initial weight gain, and how it was apparently the result of impermissible benefits he received. We also outlined how this has been going on at UK for at least25 years. Obviously, the wrongdoers involved in Fattergate were not dissuaded by the allegations, as they have seen fit to provide him with 8 additional pounds of swag. Where could these free meals have come from? Who has been showering Davis with these complimentary calories? After an exhaustive investigation, it appears that the guilty parties are none other than John and Ellen Calipari. Yes, the high profile couple has apparently been sneaking free food to players ever they got to Lexington. The following student-athletes have been recipients of illegal handouts: John Wall, Eloy Vargas, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Darius Miller. This scandal is currently in its infancy, but based on what has been uncovered so far, this would appear to rival the point shaving scandal of the 50s and the multitude of violations of the 80s. Of course, from a macro standpoint, this is simply the continuation of a disturbing trend in college athletics. Whether it’s tattoos (Ohio State), hookers (Miami), or brownies (UK), student-athletes all over the country have been reaping the rewards of widespread corruption that’s spiraled out of control.
*It’s Just A Matter Of Time: Star 2012 recruit Alex Poythress announced a few days ago that he is cutting Duke from his list of prospective schools, and not long after that announcement, rumors began to circulate that he is headed to Lexington. The decision to eliminate Duke from his list was presumably the result of Poythress not feeling like he can cut the academic mustard in Durham, and based on that logic, his imminent commitment to UK must therefore be because he sees Kentucky as his easiest academic option. This will likely not be received well by Cat fans, as they will not take kindly to a commitment from a player who doesn’t have the academic chops to cut it in the ACC, and is only picking Kentucky because it’s the path of least scholastic resistance. And to top it off, he’s not even a top 18 player. There is ample evidence for this theory, as Poythress has repeatedly stated that “academics are important” to him, i.e., it’s important that he not be distracted by academics, and has no desire to spend his (probably) one year in college studying. Of course, if he ends up choosing another school, that will mean that the theory is unfounded, and that he does actually intend to focus on his schoolwork while in college.
*No Place Like Home: UK fans have been camping out this week so that they can be sure to get their hands on tickets for Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, which will be held on October 14. The fact that so many people will go to such lengths in order to see a “practice” (and I use that term as loosely as it can be used) can only mean one thing: Angry UK fans are fed up with early exits from the NCAA Tournament, and are ready to see their Cats win NCAA title #8*. If John Calipari and his band of ballyhooed greenhorns were hoping to take the court this season feeling no pressure, they’d be well-advised to get a shot of novacaine first, because Big Blue Nation will be turning the vise all year long. As evidenced by the thousands of people strewn about campus, and the hundreds tents that dot the landscape, UK fans have lost their patience with losses in the Elite 8 and one round beyond, such as they endured the past two seasons. Obviously, Calipari cannot be happy with the turnout on campus this week. And though he won’t admit it, the guess here is that Coach Cal is more than just a little jealous of Rick Pitino and Louisville, who operate in such a stress-free environment that nobody will even pay any attention to them on October 14. Must be nice, huh? (*The first 4 of those titles were won at a time when the NIT was at least as important as the NCAA Tournament, so while 7 is the official number, it would be more intellectually honest to say the Cats have 3 national championships.)
* On this date: On this date in pretty much every year, Kentucky was the only school in the SEC that even cared about basketball.