As we move into another Wednesday without a basketball game (there are fewer and fewer of these remaining), we pause a second to recognize the great historian/writer Taylor Branch. In between my viewings of “Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins” and the World Series of Poker, I am a bit of an avid reader. And there is likely no historian of modern events whose books I have enjoyed more than Branch. He has written three books on the Civil Rights Movement during the Martin Luther King years, Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire and At Canaan’s Edge, that are likely produce the best and most thorough understanding of that time in our nation’s history. Those books led to a Pulitzer Prize for History for Branch and have become the preeminent modern sources on the Movement. He has just published a new book entitled “The Clinton Tapes”, which are a summary of 39 conversations he had with Bill Clinton throughout the course of his Presidency, in which he reflected on his time in the White House. The book is long (even exceeding my average nightly post), but is packed with 650 pages of reflection by Clinton on the events of his day, as they happened. I find it absolutely fascinating and consider it a must-read for amateur political/history junkies.
To the news….
UPDATE: Zagsblog is reporting that sources say Kyrie Irving has committed to Duke. The announcement will supposedly happen later in the week according to the site.
UPDATE #2 : Late Tuesday night, most likely in response to the Zag’s Blog Report, Kyrie Irving tweeted: “I don’t know what’s going on with all these supposed sources but I have not committed to Duke.” However, Zag’s Blog continues to cite multiple sources close to those involved in Irving’s recruitment that say he has committed to Duke and the announcement is coming soon. (Dustin)
(1): Not a lot going on in the UK sports world today, but what news there is came from football. Derrick Locke could potentially pay Saturday, as his healing went quicker than expected and he is on the “doubtful” list at this point. Locke himself commented on his Facebook page that there was nothing to worry about on the injury, but Brooks has not yet committed to playing him Saturday. Today was also the official “lets talk to Fidler and Newton about playing QB” moment for the salivating media. The sum of their stories is that Fidler is glad to get his opportunity and that he was extremely considerate to Newton when Newton was named starter, calling him to give congratulations. For his part, Newton says Fidler has helped him a great deal and all seems wonderful in UK land.
(2): The one tidbit of basketball recruiting news today is that Terrence Jones has eliminated two schools that were once considered favorites for his services, Arizona and Kansas. Jones has become a big target for UK in recent weeks, in part because his stock continues to rise on the national level. He comes from the West side (which you and I know is the best side) and his athleticism has made Calipari covet him for the Dribble-Drive. He is visiting next week and according to his mom, will be at the Blue-White game on Wednesday night. He is a recruit to watch and one that Calipari would love to see end up in Blue and White sooner rather than later.
(3): Speaking of the Blue-White game, it is one of two big events coming in the next week that fans will love. The Blue-White game in Rupp will feature the best matchup of talent that the Arena will see until UNC comes to town. Unlike in the Madness scrimmage, the game will be contested competitively on a high level and I find it to be one of the more entertaining nights of the year for UK. There are still tickets available and fans need to grab them….you wont see better basketball for ten bucks in your life. This Friday is of course the student-only practice. The last chance for students to get the wristbands to go to the game is tomorrow night at the UK-UT volleyball game…that game will be on ESPNU and a crowd is needed to make the showing look great on tv. The first 2,000 students there get a wristband and can go on Friday.
(4): I dont often do links of non-UK things, but with little in the way of news, here are four articles that you ought to read…all sports related, some new and some old, but also fascinating in their own way:
— Chuck Klosterman’s new book excerpt about football. One of the best pop culture writers getting it done.
— Malcom Gladwell’s piece from the New Yorker on how football and dog fighting are similar.
— Tom Wolfe’s piece on former NASCAR star Junior Johnson, which for my money is the best piece of sportswriting ever.
— Alexander Wolff’s brilliant piece from the Sports Illustrated Year in Review issue in 1992 on the UK-Duke game. Nobody summed it up better.
That should give you something to go through this morning. As for the rest of the day, we will have more on the SEC Media Day coming on Thursday and a good story on Cal leaving out Rick…stay tuned