I have returned to the Bluegrass State from my two week vacation, refreshed and ready for the summer of news. I drove from here to Vegas and back, with stops along the way in Little Rock, Fort Worth, Santa Fe, Sedona (AZ), Las Vegas, Park City (UT), Fort Collins (Co), Lincoln (NE), Kansas City and then back to Louisville. I saw lots of folks I hadn’t seen in ages, played in the World Series of Poker, visited everything from the Bill Clinton Museum to Red Rocks, played great golf courses and listened to more French Open Radio on the open road than I ever thought imaginable (strangely awesome). But now, it is back to the real world, which for me means the blog and radio. And we get right out of the gates by being joined on radio tomorrow by the father of new UK TE Steven Borden, former WCW Champ STING! Nowadays, Sting resides in TNA and they have a show coming up in Lexington. But most of us know Sting from our childhood, when he first represented all that was good, and then represented the brooding Crow-like creature in World Championship Wrestling. He brought the Scorpion Deathlock and Stinger Splash to our nation’s lexicon and helped entertain an entire generation of young wrestling fans across the land. Sting is not big on interviews and I honestly have no idea how this one will go. I hope to talk a bit about his past and his son’s future at UK, while also mentioning TNA (which admittedly I know little about). But with all that has happened in the last two weeks, Sting will be part of a loaded show on Monday, while remaining the highlight for me personally. The 13 year old Matt Jones would have never imagined that Sting would not only (a) still be wrestling, but (b) be on a radio show I hosted. Tomorrow both things will be true…the Stinger and Charles Ramsey on the last two KSR Radio Shows…certainly in “the most ridiculous manner possible.”
To the news of the weekend:
— The big story of course is the recommitment of one of the best recruits to ever pledge for the Blue and White, DE Denzel Ware. As you can see above, my man Ware likes to smile, but he is also a heck of a player. He is ranked as the #45 player in America by 24/7 Sports and #80 by ESPN. Rivals.com however only has him as a 3 star prospect, showcasing how fluid these rankings can be in the football game. But regardless of where you put him, he is a talent with huge skills as seen by an offer sheet that included Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, USC and Notre Dame. How did UK get him? Well, thank Mark Stoops and DJ Eliot, who began recruiting Ware at Florida State and sold him on the vision of what can be done in Lexington. Now Ware has been known to be a mind changer. He originally committed to Florida State, then picked Kentucky, then backed out of the commitment and has now committed again. While those are three decisions, all are to Stoops/Eliot, which is important. He says this time he is done and will not reconsider and I hope he is correct. He is a huge talent and the type of out of state player that in the past, UK has never gotten. To lock him up, albeit for the second time, is a huge thing for this staff and has the folks in Lexington celebrating I am sure.
GIF by TheBiglead.com
— A lot going in the GIF of the woman behind Lebron James in the Heat game tonight. There are negatives to Heat fans (many actually), but there are positives. And as for that top, what is the verdict? Do we count that as an actual shirt? Discuss amongst yourselves…
— The Ware commitment came on the heels of the UK Saturday Night Primetime Camp in Lexington, which saw a record turnout for the new staff. Whereas last year’s camp saw 100 kids attend, this year 350 came through the gates, including a collection of top talent the likes of which we have rarely seen. I went to the camp and I admit that I am not 100% sure what was going on. There were some drills, a lot of standing around, speeches and a few workouts. For most of the kids, the camp is an attempt to clearly get noticed, but for UK, it is mostly a chance to recruit and bring on campus the elite athletes in the class. I found the entire experience entertaining, mostly because I was sitting with KSR football writer Nick Roush and the great Oscar Combs. Talking to Oscar can make any night great, but I admit that I had a hard time getting any real feel for the events on the field. But what was clear is this…this staff knows how to market…they had videos on the big screen, DJs spinning music over the speakers and the entire atmosphere had a party vibe that was completely different from last season. Part of what UK has to do is not only recruit and play well, but market effectively. What I saw Saturday night is a program ready to make those strides.
— Louisville made the College World Series. Like you, I hate it. They have had an unbelievable run this year and have been great in all the major sports. Tom Jurich is the worst, but he is also the best at his job and one has to give credit where it is due to their Athletic Department’s accomplishments this year. But always remember this. No matter how much success they have, they still have fans like this below…so mock we must:
— Sources tell KSR that UK is likely to get at least one and maybe more football commitments on Monday after the successful weekend that was just completed. The hope is that this will start a string of announcements over the course of the next week or so that will help continue to make the class grow and solidify its ranking. Wit the Ware commitment and the likelihood of the other additions, the possibility of the first Top 15 class in UK history continues to grow. Regardless, it is almost a certainty that this will be the best UK recruiting class from a ranking perspective of all time. We will find out on Monday who will be the newest name to join the fray.
— As part of my trip, I saw this motel in Clarendon, Texas that I found one of the most aptly named of all time. Disgusting motels are a thing with me (I literally cannot go in them), but I do like the notion of truth in advertising. Why say you are anything but what you are? While for me the sign doesn’t ring true (it actually would not “do” for me), for some it does…and thus the owners in Clarendon should be celebrated for their brazen honesty in the face of other puffery in advertising.
— On a basketball note (and it gives you a notion of what is going on with UK football that we take this long to get to basketball), half of the new UK recruiting class is in Lexington and the others are coming. Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, Dominique Hawkins and Derrick Willis have been at UK for a week, Marcus Lee arrived tonight and the Harrison Twins/James Young get into town over the next two weeks. Hawkins and Willis are playing in the KY-Indiana All Star game this week, but the rest are taking classes and getting ready to start their UK training. Dakari and Randle are likely to be roommates this year and have clearly hit it off early, getting used to being the proverbial big men on campus. The numbers for the players have been assigned, with Andrew Harrison getting the #5 that belonged to Jarrod Polson for his first three years. Some have feigned outrage over this alleged slight, but for those, you clearly didn’t play on a team. The best players get the numbers…it is just the way it goes. While I don’t know if Polson volunteered it, whether he did or not, I can’t imagine he is upset. Take it from a guy who during his Sophomore year of high school had to literally give up his jersey when the starting center left his in Middlesboro for a road game (we should have taken extras), talent wins out, including in numbers. Life isn’t fair, as shown by the fact that I wanted “The Purge” to be good and it is apparently awful.
— Proving that the BBN is indeed everywhere, one UK fan sent the picture below, which is him doing the three goggles in Istanbul, Turkey, site of numerous protests over the past week. While I am all for three goggles at all times, be safe people…you can showcase your allegiance without endangering your life (although admittedly, it is kind of a cool picture):
— Finally, (WARNING…COMMENTS NOT PERTAINING TO SPORTS APPEAR BELOW…I AM WRITING THEM ONLY BECAUSE AFTER BEING GONE FOR TWO WEEKS, I FEEL LIKE SHARING ONE SMALL POINT. IF SUCH COMMENTS MAKE YOU MAD AND WANT TO PULL YOUR HAIR OUT (“Matt you pinko commie, I only come here for sports…It is Kentucky “SPORTS” Radio not Kentucky “Matt Jones talks about his feelings” Radio…so since this site only exists for what I want, I don’t want this so stop it…now…or…I may just spit in your ear.”), FEEL FREE NOT TO READ THEM. AS A MATTER OF FACT, DONT READ THEM AS I KNOW YOU WILL JUST GET MAD. THERE IS A GOOD MOVIE ON HBO RIGHT NOW…JUST WATCH THAT…OR DRINK A SMOOTHIE) I don’t want to turn the comment section into a political debate (but I am sure this inevitable), but reading the social media world the last few days has been fascinating to me. With news that the NSA has looked at the lists of who people are calling via Verizon (and presumably all cell phone companies), some folks are outraged. While I take no position on whether this is “right”, “good” or any other political defense of it (in part because I know enough to know that I have no idea what national security information is really out there), I wanted to share this link from David Simon (who created “The Wire”) for some perspective. Simon notes that we really are worrying about something that isn’t new and has been going on for decades. In fact, it happens daily across America. Plus, many (including lawmakers unfortunately) have been yelling that this policy (started by Bush and continued by Obama) is “Unconstitutional”. This always makes me laugh, since most people who say that have no idea what that even means (or have studied the cases that would determine it). Smith v Maryland in 1979 decided long ago that such assemblies of logs don’t count as “searches” and thus are not Constitutionally protected (I won’t bore you with details but it is a good point to remember…once you give information to a third party, you generally lose your Constitutional protection in it…so when you make a phone call, you are telling the phone company and the person you are calling that you are making the call…and the moment you do that, you lose your “privacy” right in it (although by federal law, you still must have a warrant to listen to the content of the calls). Same thing is true when you take your garbage out. The moment you put it in your trash can, the government can search it and someone can come and take things from it and you generally have no recourse…remember that the next time you are throwing away that Justin Beiber CD). Now that doesn’t mean that the NSA policy is good or bad…that is a moral and political question. Some searches that aren’t Unconstitutional are nevertheless illegal due to federal law and there is an argument that maybe we should ban the NSA’s ability to get such phone records…that is a political debate that honestly depends on how you balance the government’s ability to defend against terrorism versus your right to privacy. I don’t particularly care what anyone’s position is on this (and let me give you a hint…no one in the comment section does either) and chances are no one will change anybody’s mind on it. I have mixed feelings about it and have ever since the Patriot Act came out post-9/11. But when debating the issue, remember this. The government has been using such data for DECADES (as shown in Simon’s article) and it is almost certainly Constitutional to do it. So debate whether it is right or wrong, but know that when it comes to the Constitution…in this case, as much as you may wish it otherwise, it doesn’t apply.
And with that, feel free to commence nerd fighting. For everyone else, STING AND MAYBE FOOTBALL COMMITMENTS TOMORROW. It should be a fun day. And as the link below shows, just be happy you aren’t Billy Ray Cyrus today:
See ya Monday Morning!