In what turned out to be one of the least exciting NBA games I’ve ever seen for the first three and a half quarters, the Lakers were able to come from behind and end the title hopes of two of the NBA’s most insufferable personalities, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (sorry, Rajon). On a night where the Black Mamba shot 24% from the field (though he added 15 boards) and the free throws weren’t falling, Los Angeles was able to keep basketball’s most absurd stat alive (Phil Jackson is now 48-0 when winning Game One) thanks to an unsuspecting hero from Queensbridge. Thursday night was Ron Artest’s night for 48 minutes as, incredibly, the unstable forward proved to be the Lakers’ most steady presence on both ends of the floor, capping off a strong night with a big three down the stretch. To top it all off, just after the Lakers clinched the victory and just before they clenched the trophy, Artest gave the greatest interview in the history of television. When asked about his performance, Artest proceeded to thank his family briefly before recognizing his “hood” and his psychiatrist. And, when Burke tried to get control of the interview, Artest interrupted and started shouting about his single coming out called “Champion”. AND IT WAS RECORDED LAST JUNE. LAST JUNE! He’s not a guy who has a lot of fans throughout the league, but he showed the type of genuine happiness and love of the game that Kentucky fans have always had such a large amount of respect for. So, on that note, just go ahead and say it. Queensbridge!
Now onto some UK notes…
– The most intriguing ongoing story is the potential that UK could land former Minnesota commit and budding filmmaker Royce da 6’8″ White. White, who has brought the world his famous exit video and “The Truth About Tubby Smith” (prominently featuring an acoustic douche), has a lot of intrigue as a prospect and could give UK’s frontcourt the potential to not only the best in the SEC, but possibly the nation. While White has accrued some baggage along the way, we learned from a certain Lakers forward tonight that those sorts of things never matter. Ever. And, besides, is it really going to be fulfilling if we beat Tennessee twice but Orlando “Swiperboy” Woolridge slams us in an uncontested freestyle rap? Didn’t think so.
– The Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday that Billy Clyde’s first recruit, KC Ross-Miller, has not been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse yet, making him ineligible to join LSU for summer workouts and classes. LSU coach Trent Johnson and his Barry White voice told the media that Ross-Miller’s academic work is being checked out, since he was home-schooled, and would report to campus when he was cleared. Had Ross-Miller’s commitment been honored by Calipari, I’d imagine this story might have made it way to outlets slightly larger than the DMN’s high school blog.
– Sadly, during his workout with the Wizards today, John Wall made his Reebok debut in some customized shoes. Though I’m not quite the sneaker head that I used to be, I did find it extremely disappointing that while Reebok continues to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Reebok Pump, they did not force Wall to jump on board. This world needs the Reebok Pump to come back with a vengeance and, without Wall, it appears to have again sailed away. Tragic.
– If you didn’t see Matt’s post from last night with the quotes from Calipari on the media and the fans and how he takes the criticism, make sure you check it out. There’s a lot of interesting stuff within the quotes, but the thing I find most refreshing is that Calipari does not shy away from the criticism. While I wouldn’t call it “going on the offensive”, it’s clear that Calipari and those around him are very aware of what is being written and the perception that some people have and, when it is appropriate to do so, he will stand up and speak his piece. As a UK fan and alum, you have to love it.
– Just before he took to Twitter and defended his decision to put Duke at #1 in 140 characters that appeared to be written in tongues, Dick Vitale puts Cats at #6 in his pre-season poll. Kentucky finds themselves behind the Blue Devils, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State and Villanova in Vitale’s rankings. The rankings carry the weight of Perry Stevenson, but it’s nice to see that those paid for their opinions are high on this year’s edition. I guess.
– Matt also reported earlier that Patrick Patterson will likely attend the NBA Draft, a positive sign that his stock is rising, just as the internet has started to report. Cal said that he expects Patterson to go between 8-10, which would not only be phenomenal, but also raises an interesting question. Did he do what we all thought was unlikely and improve his stock by returning to a somewhat lesser role as a junior or was he just a workout stud that would have climbed last year? Like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.
– My favorite story of the day was UK sending out a note that the @2BKnightOrNot2B Twitter account is not the real Brandon Knight. The account had 174 followers when UK sent out the notice, but that was not what was funny. Every tweet is some sort of Shakespearean quote and several are directed at Drew Franklin. So, in case you’re keeping track at home, Brandon Knight reads Shakespeare, but he doesn’t tweet them at Drew Franklin. Glad we got that cleared up.
– And, just in case you aren’t burnt out on John Wall stories yet, the UKAthletics.com Cat Scratches blog linked this profile of future Wizard John Wall CSNWashington.com. It also came with these accompanying videos:
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout this glorious Friday as we celebrate Marley Marl, MC Shan and Ron Artest all day long, while mixing in a little bit of UK news. It’s going to be a great day. Make sure you stick around. See you in a few…