If you listen to the radio show, you know that the only topic I have focused more on in the last couple of days than Bill Lamb is the saga of Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher, Sonny Collins. Ask anyone who was around while Sonny walked the UK campus and they will tell you one thing…he was one of the coolest football players to ever put on the cleats. His picture with the large afro is one of the more famous UK shots ever and he was known as quite the man about town in Lexington. But over the last couple of days, I have learned much more about Sonny. First, the afro was actually a wig, a fact that only makes the fact that he sported it even more awesome. Second, like Demarcus Cousins nearly 25 years later, Sonny liked to have fun with the media, coming to press conferences in feather boas and wearing shoes with goldfish in the heels. He was known to run with the “horse crowd” in Lexington and even makes an appearance in the “Bluegrass Conspiracy.” But we also found out that he was part of one of the more mysterious incidents in UK football history. Collins found himself in the middle of an bizarre kidnapping/murder/point shaving incident detailed in Sports Illustrated article from 1975. Collins was never charged with any wrongdoing, but the entire story is one of the more fascinating (and to me unknown) incidents in UK football history. Now, no one knows what has happened to Sonny. Some say he lives in the Atlanta area, but no record of his whereabouts has yet been found. He is one of the greats to ever play football at UK, and I find myself wanting to know more and more. And if nothing else, we must appreciate his fashion sense, one that has yet to be replicated since.
Some notes on a surprisingly busy news day:
ALEX POYTHRESS: Tis the season for recruits to cut down their list and earlier this week, the player that John Calipari covets, Alex Poythress said that his list was down to Kentucky, Duke, Memphis, Vandy and Florida. Many of those around the Lexington area believe that Poythress is a strong candidate to be part of the UK class and after his visit to Lexington, he had nothing but praise for Kentucky and Calipari. Jeff Borzello of Blood of CBSSports.com tweeted out earlier today that Duke and Vanderbilt were Poythress’s two favorite schools, an assumption that I found somewhat puzzling. But Poythress came out late tonight and said that was incorrect and he had no leader. While one never says never, I would venture to suggest that Poythress to Vandy is highly unlikely, regardless of the home state connection. He will go to Kentucky or Duke, and that decision might partially be influenced by another player pulling the trigger for either school first. As I said last night, there is no way to no for certain, but I like the chances of Poythress to UK as much as almost anyone in this class.
DEREK ANDERSON: The day of depressing news began this morning with the report that former UK star Derek Anderson has been implicated in a cocaine drug ring in Louisville. An individual who is part of a current federal case has apparently testified that Anderson is the financier of a large amount of drug trafficking in Louisville and testified that it was widely known that he was never seen at the sight of a deal. While we know little else about this story beyond these preliminary facts, it is unfortunate to hear as Anderson is one of the most beloved Kentucky players and a guy that was loved during his time in Lexington. Hopefully things will change as the story develops, but it looks as if things could get ugly before they will get better for DA.
BILLY GILLISPIE: In the “this is a surprise to no one” realm, Billy Clyde has been causing problems already at his new gig in Lubbock, Texas. According to SportsbyBrooks.com, Gillispie has caused huge problems with the Texas Tech administration, had two secretaries quit due to his treatment and got into a physical altercation with one of his Assistant coaches. The coach has quit the staff and now damage control is taking place at Texas Tech. For anyone around UK during the Billy Clyde years, this is not a shock in the least. Gillispie was awful with his staff in Lexington and problems existed with them well before the problems with the team became public. We wish Billy well and want him to succeed, but if these problems continue to plague him, it is hard to imagine all going well.
The SportsbyBrooks story also included the picture below, which was the “contract” in which Gillispie gave $2 million to the Ponzi scheme, that he later lost. Seriously Billy? The two line contract and 65% interest didn’t seem fishy? A sucker truly must be born every day:
AWFUL DAY IN TENNESSEE: It was a terrible day to be a Vol fan as two depressing stories hit within an hour of each other this afternoon. Most importantly, Pat Summit announced she has early stage dementia. The longtime women’s coach will continue coaching this year and says she is not planning to quit and wants no “pity party” from the Tennessee fans. But it is hard not to both feel sorry for and celebrate Summit, who has been remarkable at Tennessee for nearly 30 years. She is a tremendous person who is respected by all in the profession and is one of the greatest basketball coaches on any level. We wish she and her family nothing but the best as she courageously lives publicly with a disease that effects so many.
On a more trivial note, Bruce Pearl is likely to receive a three year “show cause” ban from coaching in the NCAA on Wednesday, as the organization hands down its punishment after an investigation of the athletic department. Early reports suggest that Pearl will be the big loser as the football team will receive little punishment and the basketball team’s grade is yet to be determined. Pearl will practically be unable to coach for three years and the list of those who have received such bans in the past suggests he may have a hard time ever coaching again. Pearl is a guy UK fans love to hate, but personally I always had a soft spot for him. College basketball is better when Pearl is involved, but his desire to skirt the rules and then lie about it, may mean we never see him on a major college sideline again.
UK FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE: Finally, UK scrimmaged today and gave the players a chance to play in a stadium with lights and wearing the new uniforms they will debut versus Western Kentucky. Joker said the usual “we played hard but need to execute speech” and we know little about how the team actually looked. We did find out that defensive lineman Mark Crawford will likely miss the Western Kentucky game as he still faces the effect of punishments from the offseason. Crawford looked like he conservatively weighed 850 pounds on media day and while he has shed some of that weight, he still has much to do to get in shape. Joker Phillips speaks to the media and fans in Louisville at noon on Wednesday at the UK football kickoff luncheon.
If you missed it today, we went at a reporter on the radio (making him squirm for calling UK fans ‘Big Blue lunatics), talked about the LSU fight and debated why we need to study for a new Rupp Arena (just build it). It was great fun and we will be joined on the radio by EVAN DANIELS OF SCOUT.COM from 10-11 am on Wednesday. So don’t miss it. More later….