The 2012-13 season is still a few weeks away. However, the guess here is that the Cats will not be able to improve upon last season’s performance, which saw losses to hated rival Indiana (which didn’t even make it past the Sweet 16 lol) and Vanderbilt (which is more known for its academics than athletics). To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*No One’s Gonna Love You: The John Calipari Fantasy Experience, which took place last weekend, saw several former Wildcats return to campus, desperate to relive glory days that are long gone. It also saw an appearance by someone called “Drake,” who is apparently some sort of rap music person from Canada. Bringing “Drake” to town was clearly an attempt by Calipari to connect with young people and Canadians, though the early results suggest that this move was a major flop. While the event took place almost a full week ago, Kentucky has yet to garner a single commitment from a new player, and calls to the UK admissions office revealed that Canadian enrollment in the university has not increased one iota since last weekend. And it seems that high school prospects weren’t the only ones underwhelmed by the event. Several ex-UK players, such as John Wall, refused to play in the event. In fact, sources indicate that Wall’s contract with the Washington Wizards specified that he would not have to play in the exhibition, presumably at his insistence. All Cats Everything? Apparently not.
*The Funeral: Speaking of the charity game last Saturday, reports indicate that attendance at the event was a little over 10,000 (though it appears that the university overstated the attendance, as I personally only counted 9,497 people in Rupp Arena). This was, to say the least, shocking. At home games last year, UK averaged approximately 24,000 fans per game, so to see a decline of almost 60% suggests that — despite winning a national championship last season — people just don’t care about Kentucky basketball any more. These paltry attendance figures are made even more staggering by the fact that the game was played on a Saturday, when nobody has to work, and that tickets were being sold at a reduced amount. And for those who want to blame the economy, consider this: Attendance at the Louisville football game that day was over 55,000. People can make excuses, but the current recession has nothing to do with the fact that Louisville football is currently 5½ times more popular than Kentucky basketball.
*Factory: It was recently reported that Tami Hansbrough, mother of beloved North Carolina superstar Tyler, was hired by the school while Tyler was contemplating whether to return for his senior year. This does not bode well for Kentucky. UNC has long boasted of a “family atmosphere” at the school, and by doling out 6-figure jobs to the mothers of players in order to give these players a reason to come back to school, coach Roy Williams puts his money where his mouth is. John Calipari frequently refers to the UK program as “a family,” but when was the last time he gave a job to someone wholly unqualified simply because that person happened to be the parent of an All-American who was considering whether to go to the NBA or return to school? Until Calipari shows this much loyalty to his players and their parents, UK will always lag behind UNC in national championships from 2005 to 2009.
* On this date: On this date in 2011, both Duke and North Carolina enjoyed reputations as schools who didn’t cheat, didn’t take short-cuts, and always did things the right way.