(One of these things is not like the others. And that is the one you should focus on…)
Sam Malone once described his experience as a Kentucky basketball walk-on to Salon Magazine, “I’m living a dream. I feel lucky to be a part of this team.” Sam Malone may not fit the same bill as many of the other players who will wear the same uniforms as he will while at Kentucky under John Calipari. He’s 5-11. He’s gone through 4 knee injuries in 5 years, the most recent of which held him out of much of last season. Malone didn’t have an ESPNU special dedicated to his signing with Kentucky. None of that seems to matter much to Malone or his teammates though. “Sam Malone is a great teammate,” John Calipari told Salon Magazine during last year’s lead up to the NCAA tournament’s opening game. “The guys love him. He’s one of the members of our team and the guys treat him that way.”
Malone understands that is contributions may never show up in the box score of an important game. He will likely never have a “Jarrod Polson moment.” Malone was there though this morning when the team woke up for 7 a.m. workouts. He puts in the practice time every week and travels with the team. In addition to all of that, he knows that his role as a student-athlete/walk-on is very important. Malone received straight A’s in his first semester at Kentucky and continues to excel in the classroom. “I feel I can set a good example for the team. Give back to the program that way.”
Happy birthday to Sam Malone, one of the great members of our Kentucky basketball program. Many of the quotes and excerpts came from an article written last March, which some of you probably read the first time around. If not, go check it out again and appreciate Sam Malone. Especially you, Brian Long.
News and Views coming right up…
— Neal Brown is at the top of nearly everyone’s wish list, likely including Mark Stoops’. The coaching carousel plot thickened when the news was announced this morning that Sonny Dykes would be leaving Louisiana Tech to take over the head coaching position at California. Most people believe that Neal Brown would accept the Kentucky offensive coordinator position… unless he was offered a head coaching position. A call from Louisiana Tech to Neal Brown would make sense, unfortunately. — Kentucky football’s new wing man Tim Couch doesn’t seem to be too bothered by the rumors that Brown might be tempted by a better offer. Couch was on a radio show this evening for a football roundtable discussion. While on the air, Couch admitted that “I wouldn’t be surprised if Neal Brown ends up here as the offensive coordinator.” Couch and Brown are friends. Put on your Coach Cal pants and make this happen, Tim. — Recruiting an offensive coordinator has been a top priority for Mark Stoops this week, but he and his partially assembled staff haven’t neglected their other recruiting duties either. DJ Eliot’s “relentless work ethic” was on full display as he hit the recruiting trail this morning with a visit to Franklin County’s 4-star WR/RB/return specialist Ryan Timmons. Timmons, along with James Quick, is considered to be the cream of the crop as far as in-state recruiting goes this year. — 2013 Kentucky football commit Blake McClain received some love from the new coach as well. McClain is a 3-star DB from Winter Park, Florida. A reminder that McClain chose the Wildcats over Pittsburgh, Illinois and South Florida. — Do you still need more evidence that Stoops and Co. are hitting the ground running? Okay, okay. Since you asked…
Stoops, he did it again!
— Tennessee still does not have a football coach. *This is an automated message. Do not respond.* — The new hot rumor is that Tennessee is reaching out to Cincinnati’s Butch Jones. Jones, as you might remember, spent a week as the hot topic around the Kentucky job opening as well. Tennessee fans have taken to the message boards to show their disapproval of hiring Butch Jones. The rumblings have now started for an uprising that wants Bobby Petrino at Tennessee. Hmm, sounds familiar. Anyone else relieved we are finished with our coaching search? Throw one down for Mitch Barnhart tonight. — Nosilla is Allison spelled backwards. Did I just blow your mind?
Let’s at least talk a little basketball, shall we? …
— Draft Express has released an updated 2013 NBA Mock Draft. Some of the usual suspects from Kentucky were on the list, highlighted by Nerlens Noel in the #2 spot right behind UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad. Absent from the list? Ryan Harrow and Willie Cauley-Stein.
The Kentucky players are ranked as follows:
#2 Nerlens Noel
#7 Alex Poythress
#8 Archie Goodwin
— In Twitter news, Tom Crean is an awful lot like a teenage girl when it comes to his use of social media. Subtweets? Check. Using “a” when you’re supposed to use “an?” Check. Abbreviations? Check. Still not playing Kentucky? Looks to be a check as well.
— Don’t forget that we are now just one day away from the UK Hoops’ “Pack the House” night at Rupp Arena. The #6/#7 ranked women’s team will be taking on DePaul Friday night at 7 p.m. “It is going to be a record-setting night for us attendance wise,” Matthew Mitchell said. “So that is exciting for our players.” UK set the single-game attendance record for women last year against Duke with a crowd of 14,508. As of Thursday afternoon, over 17,000 tickets had been sold. General admission tickets are still available for $1 on TicketMaster.com. Use the code DOLLARDAYS for the discount.