– The saddest news of the day comes out of Knoxville, where Pat Summitt announced that she has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. In an interview with the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Summitt says she went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in May to undergo tests after months of erratic behavior. Summitt told her players the news today. She says has no plans to step down as head coach of the Lady Vols, and will tackle the disease with her own game plan involving medication and mental activities: “There’s not going to be any pity party and I’ll make sure of that.” Talk about an inspiration. Thoughts and prayers go to her and her family.
– There is no way to segue from news like that. So, here goes. On the heels of the Capital Punishment exhibition game over the weekend, players seem to be ready to continue to organize their own games, and now, they might even get their own league. HoopsWorld is reporting that Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, one of the most popular training sites for NBA players during the lockout, is planning to start their own league in the next few weeks.
Former Cats John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Rajon Rondo, and Tayshaun Prince have trained at Impact in the past, Wall and Bledsoe as recently as this summer. Other marquee names include Chauncey Billups, Kevin Garnett, Rudy Gay, Monta Ellis and nearly 70 other NBA veterans. Suns forward Jared Dudley has even gone on record about the league, which plans to stream games online with the ultimate goal of creating an NBA atmosphere in terms of game quality with shot clock and official NBA rules. You have to think this idea will be incredibly attractive to the players, who would not only get to hang out in Vegas during the lockout, but also train against some of the best in the business. Joe Abunassar, the founder and head trainer of Impact Basketball, says the league will kick off in mid-September, with two games being played each day for at least two weeks. For our sake, I hope it happens, because Lord knows I need another reason to watch basketball on my computer.
– This story was included Aaron’s links yesterday, but I thought it deserved another mention. John Wall tells the Washington Post he feels he is “back” to top form after his dominating performance in Saturday’s Capital Punishment exhibition game. Wall was plagued by a foot injury and bone bruise in his knee his rookie season but impressive showings during exhibition games this summer have boosted his confidence. Wall plans to continue to work towards his business management degree at UK through online classes for the duration of the lockout, and will alternate workouts between Los Angeles and Lexington (and maybe Las Vegas?). I know we gush a lot about John Wall on here, but his dedication to finishing his degree is refreshing; Wall says he promised his father before he died that he would get a degree, and his sister is working towards hers as well.
– You know football’s getting near when positional previews start popping up in the media. Today, UK’s Cat Scratches blog begins their series by focusing on the most experienced unit on the team, the offensive line. Lots of good stuff here, including a nice profile of senior right tackle Billy Joe Murphy, who has played every position on the line except center. Murphy, the only lineman able to play in last Saturday’s scrimmage, has embraced the role of leader and mentor to younger players, who are benefiting from his knowledge of lining up in both a left- and right-handed stance. After years and years of watching overmatched and inexperienced offensive lines at UK, it’s promising to see this unit get some attention.
– The UK Hoops schedule was released today, with several red-letter matchups on the list, including a date with Duke in Rupp Arena on December 8th. The ladies will play Louisville in Memorial Coliseum on December 4th and the 2011 National Runner Up, Notre Dame, on December 18th in South Bend, Indiana. You go, girls.
– Don’t forget to read about Billy Gillispie’s latest troubles below. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?
Here’s today’s podcast, which is a must-listen if only for the last few minutes, in which Matt may have made a grown man pee his pants in fear. #BEATEMDOWN