Another Derby Weekend is in the books with Billy Clyde’s favorite horse, I’ll Have Another, taking the victory in a Derby that included a record crowd. I went to part of both Oaks and Derby Day (the heat made it impossible to have too much fun for me), but the best part of Derby weekend to me is seeing random celebrities. From Clay Walker to Dante from “Clerks”, the chance to talk to the randoms (I prefer B and C listers to Ashton Kucher any day) is always intriguing. I was especially excited to meet Paul Shaffer, the leader of the band for David Letterman. As longtime readers of this site know, Letterman is in my Top Three, along with Tony Kornheiser and Charles Barkley, of individuals who I have liked for decades due to their sense of humor and keen wit. Thus with Shaffer being connected to over 20 years of watching Dave, I looked forward to getting a picture and saying hello. As should be expected, he walked into the Barnstable Brown party wearing his trademark sunglasses, carrying his usual odd smirk on his face and touching everything in his proximity (I have never seen anyone walk with his hands out in front of him more…it is somewhat mesmerizing to view). I said hello and he declined the chance to be interviewed for KSTV (I wanted to know his opinion on whether Jon Hood would see meaningful minutes this season). But once inside, he didn’t let me down…his performance with Travis Tritt (another odd combination) was the highlight of the musical part of the evening, which included Boyz II Men, Jason Aldean, DMC, Joey Fatone, Cyndi Lauper, Eddie Montgomery and Cece Peniston…quite an eclectic collection. As he left, he gave me a high five and said, “keep cool in the Kentucky breeze”, which didn’t make any sense, but will nevertheless become my new departure line to end conversations. While Kid Rock and Kate Upton may have no showed, Shaffer saved the evening and as he walked away, I overheard Terrence Jones say, “hey, isn’t that the guy from that show?” Yes it is Terrence…
To the news:
— The big news of the day is the change in the recruiting situation for Kentucky going into a new week. While no one is shocked that Mark Lyons picked Arizona, the news that Anthony Bennett to UK is a longshot is a surprise to all. Last week we all thought Bennett was choosing which SEC school he would attend, and now UNLV seems his likely home. I was told about the development by a couple of different sources this weekend and all said that UK getting Bennett was very unlikely. The combination of issues that I detailed in a post below, means that Kentucky is still without a backup big man or shooting guard at this stage. UPDATE: Adam Zagoria is now reporting that Bennett has officially eliminated Kentucky.
The Cats are still after Amile Jefferson, who presumably will now get all of the attention from the staff. It will be interesting to see what happens with the next interview of Jefferson (which I wont do since we are out of t-shirts), as we can find out if UK has truly turned up the heat. The other big development is that Wright State’s Julius Mays is apparently a serious target for the UK staff. I am told that they are very interested and hope to get him on campus this week. If that happens and UK gets Mays for his Senior season, you will have the odd development that Kentucky will have as 2 of its 3 backcourt members, two guys who were once slotted to play together at NC State. Ain’t life strange.
— If you turned on the Derby and weren’t paying attention, you might have thought that the Run for the Roses was an infomercial for Kentucky basketball. By my count, UK basketball came up on the national broadcast of the race five times. John Calipari was interviewed on Millionaire’s Row, the five players were shown walking in on the red carpet, Calipari gave the “Riders Up” command to the jockeys, Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis presented the roses to the winning jockey and Governor Steve Beshear gave a shout out to the Cats as he presented the winner’s trophy. All in all, it was “All Cats Everything” in Louisville and Cardinal fans are not surprisingly, furious. I have two things to say to them…first, it is the “Kentucky Derby”, not the “Louisville Derby.” And whether you like it or not, we are a part of this state. And second, if it bothers you so much, win. Then maybe you too can be a part of the fun.
— Lost a bit in the shuffle of the Derby and recruiting was Kentucky’s trip to the White House on Friday. We had a great deal of information and many pictures on the site on Friday, but if you missed it, the experience can best be summarized with this…the players loved it. At Barnstable, Darius Miller told me that it was the “coolest experience of my life” and that when the President mentioned his name, he said “it will be something I remember forever.” Orlando Antigua said, “the guys were completely overwhelmed. It was one of the best things I have ever done.” The players seemed completely in awe, and I am really happy for them that they had the experience. It will also probably be the last moments the entire team is ever together again, so watch the video below and savor it one last time.
— I expect that we will hear this week about some new developments in the schedule. I think a couple of interesting things are on the horizon that fans will like. So before anyone complains to loudly about losing Indiana or North Carolina (the latter of which will probably return next year), wait until you see the completed product.
— Finally, Jeff Van Gundy said on the broadcast of today’s Knicks vs Heat game that Josh Harrellson must have made up the name Jorts and he couldnt believe anyone would call him that name. First of all, KSR made up the nickname, and if you don’t believe anyone calls him that, come visit Kentucky. Be careful Jeff, as I don’t want to have to pick a new favorite Van Gundy.
— As a side note, if not for the Shaffer day, I would have certainly dedicated the news and views to George Lindsey, aka Goober from “The Andy Griffith Show.” He died today and left behind a lot of great memories for those of us who are fans of all things Mayberry. Goober says hey, and hey to Goober.
Also, congrats to Darius and Eloy for their graduation, a great accomplishment for both young men. We will talk about all of the above, plus more goofy celebrity stories from the weekend on KSR from 10-noon. Check it out…and finally, your moment of zen again: