Today has been a fascinating day in sports. On the same day that our man Mikey Waltrip had his tearful apology for putting jet fuel/vasoline in his car, Tim Hardaway spoke out against all the Mikey Waltrips that are a part of the sporting world. IT all left me genuinely perplexed. But just when you thought that cheating-gate in Nascar could get no more bizarre, the news came out that Jeff Gordon failed post-race inspection and will start at the back of the Daytona 500. The news about Waltrip and Gordon has bizarrely captivated the world and at one point this afternoon, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC had it as their LEAD STORY on the NEWS PAGE. I am always fascinated with how big a deal news organizations want to make “cheating” allegations as part of their “Scandal—Anytime, Anywhere” take on news. In Nascar, one man’s cheating is another man’s “bending the rules” and when the national media gets ahold of it, something that used to be an accepted part of the sport, becomes a tawdry affair. All sports treat cheating different….in golf its sacreligious, in baseball its frowned upon….in football its sometimes considered “heady” and in Nascar it was once a given. As with all sports I think we should lighten up…..it is not the equivalent of “The Fall of Man” that Mikey tried to go faster….he was penalized, and that I understand. But when the “holier than thou” crowd becomes part of a story, I turn it off. And oh yeah, Tim Hardaway aint so sure about Jeff Gordon either….
Now onto the news….
(1) Many of you have emailed me about my interviews with Patrick Patterson and Kenny Frease and asked me if I had any views on whether they would come. I try to keep personal opinions out of those stories and let people initially make their views without the burden of my comments. But now I will say that I had mixed reactions to both. As for Patrick, I think UK is right in the middle of a heated race right now that could go either way. I know there are people on the internet saying he has made up his mind for UK, that his parents have a house in Lexington, etc. I dont think any of that is true. A kid doesnt pay HIS OWN WAY to go to Gainesville if he has truly already decided. However I also dont think that he is certainly a Gator either. There are a lot of forces pulling him to Kentucky and he genuinely loves the possibility of being close to home and playing for Tubby Smith, who he and his family adore. This could go either way in my view…..Patrick is still upbeat about UK (much more so than many fans) and we ultimately will not know until the very end about this. I still would place the slight favorite on Florida, but whereas last fall I was confident he was Gator bound….now I think it could go either way.
As for Frease, I think the Cats are in a great position to land him. He is a Top 25 recruit, with a limited amount of interest in a limited amount of schools. He loves UK and was blown away by the crowd in Rupp Arena. Ultimately the decision will be simple. Does he want to go close to home, at a smaller Catholic school and take that method of college? Or does he go play for a basketball factory in a pressure-packed environment? That will be his choice and this lifestyle choice will ultimately make his decison.
(2) There continues to be more scuttlebutt on the Jeffrey Jordan frontier. UK contacted Jordan again in the last few days and it is looking like they will make a push in the next few weeks. I have still heard no scenario where a scholarship will be offered (if one comes up it is Pettigrew’s) but they are trying to sell the Jordans on the preferred walk-on plan at UK. I dont know what will happen here….Jordan’s kid may not want to be a walk-on and a scholarship at Miami (Fl) may ultimately come through….but it bears watching….I for one think it is a great idea.
(3) Its easy to forget that one of the bigger games of the year is Saturday versus Alabama. I have tried to stay away from the general moan fest that has become the UK internet community in recent days. I can think of no worse way to spend my time than attempting to rant about a basketball coach on and depress myself and others by listening to “Sky is falling” rhetoric. There are five games left folks…..no amount of moaning is going to make any difference for these five games. Get behind the team and let it go until the end of the year. As for the Bama game, it is huge. A win puts the Cats in a good place (8-4) in conference with a couple of winnable home games to come. A loss makes it tough to forsee a high seed in the tournament and places an immense amount of pressure on a road game in Nashville. The Tide are playing MUCH better….but the Cats always play Bama well……should be interesting.
(4) Lots of talk about the news that Mark Coury has been given a scholarship by Tubby due to his high grade point average last semester. Many are upset and ranting about this news. Chill out. The scholarship is for second semester, it wasnt being used by anyone and it has no effect on next year when he will be a walk-on again. Plus Mark looks like Napoleon Dynamite and has mad skills.
(5) I know you dont watch the NBA….no one does….but Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike are making Cats fans proud……check them out if you ever get a chance….or at least go to NBA.com and look for highlights….KAZ got a block the other night that was as good as anything I have seen him do…..which is saying something.
Remember to visit our Bracket Buster Blog on Saturday, as we go through the entire day with myself, Tomlin and Mosley giving our take on the Bracket Buster games. We are doing it as part of a future gig for CBS Sportsline (if you are wondering why we are writing about random games), so come read it during the day if you have nothing else to do….or even if you do. Radio show on 1570 The Zone and 1600 AM in Lexington at 10 AM Saturday with Patrick Patterson and Kenny Frease. Will be online with our new audio player on Sunday night and beginning Sunday you can also subscribe on ITUNES….so get on board if you can,
Go Cats…..and no Tubby debates…..everything that could conceivably be said has been said.