It’s been quite a day. Let’s get through this quickly.
– Before we jump into all the notes of the day, it’s worth pointing out something that we’re all probably very aware of, but maybe haven’t fully appreciated. Coach Cal has made the summer blogging period a whole heck of a lot less painful. This is unquestionably the worst time to look for things to write and find stuff to fill our 15-20 posts per day and summers usually are the time when you sometimes turn on us and we all start hating each other. But it’s not like that with Cal. There are actually exciting recruits to follow, events to perpare for and – gasp! – news stories to discuss. We might appreciate it more, but we all benefit from it. Being a Kentucky basketball fan has always been a 12-month job. Now there’s just actually 12 months worth of news to keep up with. I think we can all be thankful for that.
– With that being said, the big news Friday was the reaction to Joe B. Hall not being allowed to coach the UK Legends team at next month’s exhibition. Twitter erupted in support as thousands of fans were joined in the #FreeJoeB movement by Rex Chapman, Tim Couch, Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas and Erin Andrews. In the end, Hall found inclusion in the game as Calipari made a move only he could make and essentially flipped a quick bird to the NCAA and gave Coach Hall a spot as an assistant on his Dominican team. The whole situation seems a little ridiculous still, especially considering former UK players are still allowed to be involved, but there was at least something of a happy ending. So pat yourself on the back. Your #FreeJoeB Tweets worked.
– Matt and Mark Ennis filled in for Lachlan McLean Friday night on WHAS and brought Coach Hall on as a guest and it was a little heartbreaking to listen to. Joe B. Hall sounded genuinely sad and hurt by not being allowed to coach the UK Legends team. He told Matt that he still doesn’t know who made the ruling that he couldn’t participate and flashed a little OJ by saying he plans to get to the bottom of it eventually. He said that he feels a little embarrassed that he’s not allowed to participate and he’s not sure why, pointing out that Cal, former players and Dewayne Peevy are all involved in some way. However, he noted that all the support from the fans made him feel good and that he absolutely adores John Calipari, who he said is extrememly thoughtful and has a wonderful appreciation of UK’s history. But he sounded hurt and I don’t like that. I want to get to the bottom of this too. No one puts Coach Hall in a corner. You can listen to that interview here.
– Though Coach Hall’s situation seems to be resolved, the question still remains as to who will coach the UK Legends team in the exhibition. Drew offered up some ideas and 41 of you are great Americans, but the search still continues. The only thing we really know at this point is that it will not be anyone with a tie to the school, so we can rule out former players and coaches, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the well is dry. Several of you suggested someone like LeBron James, who has no official tie but has been very open about supporting the program. I wonder if Calipari won’t reach out to his old buddy Larry Brown. Brown is available, has no connection to UK and would serve as a “stick it, NCAA” type guy to fill in for Hall after he was presumably denied for being a recruiting tool. The more I think about it, the more I like it. I’m in full support of this.
– Tucked away in a Utah newspaper was the note that Enes Kanter will not work out at UK this summer if the lockout continues. Enes is currently weighing offers from Chinese clubs, who will keep an eye on him during his stint with the Turkish national team this summer, and would probably benefit most from signing with one of those teams and getting some live game action under his belt. However, if he opts to not go that route, he has ruled out returning to UK and training with the other NBA players on break and will stay in Chicago and practice with Tim Grover. With that, the Enes Kanter era in Lexington appears to be officially over. Seems like just yesterday he was walking out to the Undertaker theme.
– A new name popped up on the UK 2012 recruiting radar Friday and it was quite the name. John Calipari, along with Jim Calhoun, Steve Lavin and Fran Dunphy, watched seven-footer Blaise Mbargorba play Friday. Mbargorba, who received an offer from West Virginia earlier in the day, is unrated by Rivals and ranked as a three-star prospect by Rivals. He currently also holds offers from Clemson, Cincinnati, SMU, Vanderbilt, St. Joe’s and Temple, but his profile has raised quite a bit this summer. The New Jersey native is still viewed as a bit of a raw player, but Calipari is apparently at least slightly intrigued with what he could bring to the table. So, let’s all agree to keep an eye on him.
That’s it for now. If you missed this morning’s episode of Kentucky Sports Radio, make sure you give the podcast a listen below. Matt talked about what went down yesterday with the exhibition game and talked about what the final product should look like. JT called in and said, “If the NCAA were a man, I’d punch him in the face.” It was great fun for everyone involved. Make sure you check it out.