Today would have been the birthday of former White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger. Salinger was an American figure who played a part in a number of different eras and found himself in the middle of many of America’s most important moments of the late 20th Century. As JFK’s press secretary, he became the face of one of the first truly traumatic Cold War moments as he dealt with the Cuban Missle Crisis and the staredown with the Soviet Empire. After JFK’s death, he was a Congressman for a short time, before leaving to become the Campaign Manager for Robert Kennedy’s run for the White House in 1968. Salinger was there on the terrible night in the California hotel when Bobby was shot and he would later say that memories of that night haunted him throughout his life. Salinger spent the rest of his career as an ABC correspondent and was part of many international stories, most notably the bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. Salinger’s journalism career came to a somewhat notorious ending when he fell for an internet hoax concerning the crash of TWA flight 800 in 1996. Salinger believed the internet hoax that the flight was shot down by “friendly fire” from the United States military and then held onto the belief, even testifying before Congress. That unfortunate incident (recounted here) led to the term “The Pierre Salinger Effect” which still refers to those who believe everything they read on the internet….aka most recruiting followers. Nevertheless, Salinger’s life was full and diverse and his career, one of service to the public interest.
To the news…….
(1) The story of the day is the news of a June 28th visit to UK by Arkansas center prospect Andre Clark. Clark is attempting to become part of the Class of 2007, and has taken a recent ACT in hopes of getting a qualifying score high enough in order to be ready for college admission (he needs a 20…..Hubby recently took it and got a 6). Clark was the 16th ranked Center in the Class of 2008 and he may remain in that class if he doesnt get his score, going to prep school instead of college this year. His game is a bit inconsistent, but he has very long arms and the ability to score. He is looking at a number of schools, but Indiana may be the biggest competitor with UK for his services. The recruitment of Clark shows what we have long expected……UK is not done with 2007 if it finds the right player. Is Clark that player……we shall see.
(2) The new Scout.com rankings are out (see below) and there has been some movement. Most significantly, mirroring the performance we saw at the TOC, Tyler Zeller is up into the Top 20 and Romero Osby has fallen to 42. When watching these two young men (and Chris Singleton who comes in at 31) at the TOC, I thought that Zeller seemed the better prospect and they have essentially flipped in the rankings since that tournament. This is for good reason…..Zeller is more fundamentally sound, can do more offensively and is surprisingly athletic in the flow of the game. Osby disappears too often on the court and has not shown an ability to control a game when it matters. I like both guys, but the rankings reflect what I believe……Zeller is the best forward that UK can get this year….and his recruitment is very important.
(3) The most under-reported story of the last few days was the decision by Bud Mackey to go to the UK Elite Camp and the potential for changes in his recruitment in the coming months. Mackey is from Scott County and is part of one of the best Senior threesomes we have had from Kentucky in some time. However he is committed to Indiana, in part because he didnt believe that UK “showed him the love” during his Junior season. But now, I am hearing from a source in Scott County that Mackey might consider reopening the door for UK…..especially since IU continues to recruit and take commitments at his position. Could this be Eric Gordon (an Indiana state player who backed out of Illinois to go to IU) in reverse? Interesting to watch…..
(4) Andy Katz ended up on the show today, fulfilling his commitment from yesterday and proving the old adage “the Sixth time is the charm.” In actuality, Katz did a good job and gave an interesting set of comments. He essentially backtracked many of his early comments and said that if he had it to do again, he would have put UK 5th instead of out of the top 10 in the “Programs set for the next 10 years.” He also said he understood the perception that he didnt like UK but that he isnt a columnist, but rather a reporter reporting news. You may be able to guess my opinion on both of those issues, but you can listen to the interview below and make your own decision. But we do appreciate Andy coming on and look forward to talking for him again…..the 12th time.
(5) Little E is a teammate of Jeff Gordon. Something about that really makes me smile.
We got stuff coming towards the end of the week…..look for more on Andre Clark, an interview with Courtney Fortson and the rest. Rich Brooks is scheduled for next Thursday and Jay Bilas for early next week. More to come…..