This is an important year for our friends from Latin and South America. For many of them will spend the year celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the freedom from Spanish rule caused by the efforts of leader Simon Bolivar. Today Colombia is the country celebrating Bolivar, but throughout the year Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and other countries have had national celebrations of the year in which independence from Spain was finally reached. It took a while to clear all the Spanish from the continent and Brazil (which everyone will tell you takes their own damn time to do everything) didnt get rid of Portugal for another 15 years. But for most of Central and South America, freedom came through the efforts of Bolivar in 1810. After getting rid of the Spanish (in the same way that “Employment” has gotten rid of the Spanish in recent years), Bolivar helped create the first United group of Latin American countries, which generally failed but was one of the first multi-national groups of its type. Bolivar is looked at in the same way that our founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Shawn Kemp are looked at in America and this year’s celebration is a continent-wide source of great pride. Of course because of Lindsey Lohan, Bristol Palin and Joran Vander Sloot, we dont have much time to pay attention to that here, but a nice News and Views shoutout will certainly be worth something.
Some notes from a relatively slow night:
— The only sports event taking place this evening was the ESPYs, which featured a Kentucky flavor for the first time in quite some time (maybe ever). John Wall won best Collegiate Male Athlete beating other contenders such as Mark Ingram and Brittany Griner. He did not attend the ceremony, choosing instead to stay in Las Vegas with his Washington Wizard Summer League teammates, but his win was broadcast on the pre-show and celebrated by all in Kentucky. He lost out on “Breakthrough Athlete of the Year” to Chris Johnson, who proceeded to give a great speech in which he thanked UStream and Twitter for all they had done for him. That is sweet. Also Brandon Knight was a big winner, flying out to get his award for Gatorade National High School Player of the Year in a ceremony before the Espys. As with everything in recent months, it has a Kentucky flavor now and the Espys has been infiltrated by all things Cats. Word is that early choice for host for next year’s version is the killer combo of Kige Ramsey and Mary Jo Perino. I for one am ready!
— Recruiting news is coming fast and furious, but honestly is of little overall importance. The big news tonight comes from the Frosted one, who claims that Tony Wroten Jr will get an offer to come play for Kentucky (this is of course after insisting for a long time that he would not get an offer, but lets not let details get us away from the discussion). If true, it would likely lead to a commitment, as Wroten repeated again today that Kentucky was his leader, with Washington and UCONN behind. Wroten also sent out to the Twitter world another call to action, saying that Kentucky college students were crushing the student from other schools in writing him…which in Twitter code speak means, “hey will girls from schools other than UK tell me to come!”
— John Calipari also saw Bowling Green’s Chase Behanan play for the first time today, an interesting development that could change some overall recruiting strategies for the Cats. Behanan said that Kentucky was on him hard the last few days and they had now entered the overall picture. He has often been thought to be a UL lean, but that was when he got virtually no interest from Kentucky. He is a Kentucky high school player, although he is from out of state, and it isnt clear he has any close ties to bleeding Big Blue. Behanan would be a great addition to the class, but with Anthony Davis and Quincy Miller still being pursued, one has to wonder if Behanan would still like to come and potentially compete with those guys. But as we have seen, one can look to Daniel Orton and see how even a Calipari backup can end up drafted.
— Speaking of the NBA, the Cats are still making their presence known in Vegas. The star tonight was once again Demarcus Cousins, who completely dominated in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring 22 points and getting 12 rebounds in a late comeback victory. Cousins has been a force down low all summer and is getting similar numbers to his time at Kentucky, even as the overall competition has improved. Patrick Patterson had a decent day in Vegas, getting 6 points and 10 rebounds. An onlooker told me that Patrick needs to be more aggressive, but that “he is a force on the block and plays great defense”, even when he is not scoring. Eric Bledsoe had his first difficult game of the summer, scoring only 4 points and giving up 7 turnovers in a very sloppy performance. Eric played very well in his first game against John Wall, but will need a rebound after having a bit of a stinker tonight.
Its another big day of action around KSR land today. I will have my report on Patterson, Bledsoe and Orton (will have Cousins and Wall on Friday), Duncan will come along with more of his football previews and we will cut away the recruiting fat to give you any information that you actually would want to know. Stay tuned…