Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to a game day edition of your Tuesday News and Views. The Cats are prepped for their final (maybe) cupcake of the 2010 calendar year and ready to establish their intrastate dominance on Friday against the Filthy Cards. But, before they can take the next step in realizing their potential, let’s first pause and recognize a player who never quite realized his, but remains as a notable name in basketball history. The non-Microsoft William Gates turns 39 today and does so without much of a basketball career to reflect back on – something that seemed unlikely 20 years ago. Gates is known to most of the world as one of the stars of the epic basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, starring as the more level-headed of the two featured players and the most likely set for college stardom. A knee injury would sidetrack his high school career and, ultimately, derail his hoop dreams. After leaving Marquette, Gates ended up at Moody Bible College and now serves as a reverend in Chicago, where his son, William Gates, Jr., is developing into a prep basketball star. While Gates is now doing work that won’t put him the Earthly headlines, we’ll never forget the Juwan Howard dorm room cameo, the goofy Kevin O’Neill footage and, oddly, the work he did in getting Michael Jordan ready for his return to the Wizards. So, happy birthday to you, William Gates.
Now onto some UK notes…
– The big star of Monday was freshman shooting guard Doron Lamb, who was honored as the SEC’s Player of the Week, earned praise from Andy Katz in his Weekly Watch and garnered the prestigious distinction of being Dick Vitale’s Diaper Dandy of the Week. It was all deserved praise for a player who has played fairly consistently as a scoring option of the bench and developed nicely into the third-guy role that many expected Darius Miller to fill. Impressed with the offensive punch from Lamb, Coach Cal hinted on Monday that he could potentially play himself into a starting role. If I’m Darius Miller, I’m sweating bullets right now.
– UK also released a bit of positive news for those of you who have seen all of those repetitive “Glory Daze” promos on TBS lately and are dying to re-live the college experience. The school will make ERupption Zone tickets for the Coppin State and Penn games available to the general public 90 minutes prior to tipoff through the Rupp Arena ticket office. They’ll also only be five dollars. However, the school will not be able to assist you in putting drinks on someone else’s tab at Two Keys or passing out in a pile of Mad Mushroom. That part of the college experience will be on you.
– In case you missed the note earlier, allow me to reiterate my extreme stat nerdom and give props again to UK’s three-point shooting and rebounding. The Cats are shooting the deep ball better than any team in the program’s history and thanks to a productive duo of Josh Harrellson and Terrence Jones, rebounding at a clip on par with last year’s team and the 1998 title squad. Both stats are critical to the team’s success as the season develops. The three-point shooting will most likely start to dip slightly, as most teams tend to do as legs tire, but the rebounding is a testament to effort and focus, which you would assume is easily maintainable throughout the rest of the year.
– Monday brought the DeAndre Daniels visit to Texas and news that Trevor Lacey does not plan on committing to a school until he visits Kentucky. It also presented confirmation of another name many thought UK could be getting involved with. Four-star guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who joined Michael Chandler in de-committing to Xavier just as he joined him in committing on the same visit, told an IU site that UK is one of the schools that he is considering. Smith-Rivera is a 2012 prospect and ranks as the as Rivals #25 overall player and ESPN’s #28. It’s still not certain just how much interest UK would have in him this time around, as they hadn’t offered him prior to his commitment, but he’s a name to keep an eye on, though behind Daniels and Lacey.
– In what seems to be developing into a trend, another UK football commitment had his scholarship offer pulled. Chris Fisher of 247Sports reported Monday that three-star wide receiver Antonio Cannon, who committed to UK two hours after they made the offer back in May, no longer has a spot available for him with the Cats. This is the third committed player to have his offer pulled since the regular season ended and, as we said with the others, you have to hope its because the staff is going to fill the spot with a more talented player. On the flip side of that, though, you have to wonder how much this will impact recruiting next season for a staff that received so much praise for getting early commitments this season. More stars make it all worth while, though, I suppose. Let’s just hope they get them…and that this spot is filled by Devin Lucien.
– In case you missed it, in their tune-up for the Cats, Louisville made 17 of 23 three-pointers at Ricky’s Chicken and Brothel, good for 74%. Why all the success from the three-point line? It’s the third day of Christmas. Duh.
– Also, in a heartbreaking move around these parts, our departed leader made his debut on that other site as Matt Jones tore into a weak SEC. Make sure you check it out and tell him in the comments how much you miss him. It’s a solid debut in the big-time for our friend, but the comments section is severly lacking in questions about Jai Lucas and Patrick Patterson’s status. That certainly needs to be corrected.
– On a final note, today would have been Melvin Turpin’s 50th birthday. Rest in peace, Dipper.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you all prepped for might Coppin State Fightin’ Raheem DeVaughns. We’ll be live blogging starting at 6:30. Make sure you stick around. In the meantime, make sure you stay on your toes, just like Darius Miller…
See you in a few…