I consider myself to be a man of varied interests. For every novel on the state of the human condition I read, I like to balance it with a low-brow reality show like “The Bachelor” or “Impractical Jokers” (seriously watch the last one…it is hilarious). For every treatise on philosophy that I buy and then place on the bookshelf to look important, I take a visit to BarstoolU.com online. And for every time I attempt to read my morning New York Times, I find myself on Youtube watching old WWF wresting videos. Wrestling was, and occasionally still is, my guilty pleasure and there are few who have mastered the squared circle like today’s birthday honoree, The Rock. There may be no other wrestler besides the immortal Ric Flair who combined in-ring skill with spectacular microphone work like The Great One, who became probably the most famous wrestler in the history of the business. From his catchphrases like “If Ya Smell What the Rock is Cookin'” to the shout of “Finally The Rock Has Come BACK to ___”, for those of us that like wrestling, few have brought it like The Rock. When wrestling was at its absolute best (late 1990s in the WWE), The Rock was on top and his promos/interviews were classics that many of us can recite even today. Today on his birthday, I will link one of his best bits, during his tenure as a “Heel” (aka bad guy..the role he was already better in playing), in which he makes fun of the city of Sacramento. Great stuff and a good start to the Wednesday before Derby:
To the news….
— After looking to be deader than a doornail, the Kentucky vs Indiana series might survive due to a last minute change of heart by IU. Tom Crean did an interview with CBSSports.com today in which he talked about an hour long conversation with John Calipari on Monday night. In the conversation, both men apparently reiterated that they wanted the series to continue, but that financial realities make it difficult for both sides. Kentucky will not play the series in Bloomington, meaning for it to continue, Indiana must agree to play on neutral courts. At this point, it looks as if the Hoosiers are considering agreeing to that concession, as it is important for them to continue the rivalry. UK’s stance is clear, as they will not play in Bloomington again in the next two seasons. Thus it will all depend on if Indiana’s Athletic Director is willing to play either in Indianapolis/Louisville or potentially even both years at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy. We will likely know very soon whether the Hoosiers agreed to the neutral court requirement or if the rivalry comes to a temporary end next season.
— It was an interesting recruiting day for Kentucky as two players who previously seemed unlikely to end up in the Blue and White saw their connection to Kentucky grow stronger. We woke up this morning thinking that Troy Williams would choose a school…but he did not. Instead, he said that he needed some more time to make up his mind. The 2013 star had all but decided to become a Tar Heel, a fact leaked out by his uncle Boo Williams in an interview with Inside Carolina, in which he accidentally let it slip out what he believed Williams would do at UNC. But this morning Troy tweeted that he wasnt ready to make the final call, a signal that he potentially has had second thoughts. He also announced that he was going to make another visit, presumably to Lexington to see Kentucky again. If we were reading between the lines here, I think the Cats have convinced him to hold off a bit longer while Kentucky gets things in better order on what their 2012 and 2013 class looks like. If Kentucky gets Anthony Bennett or Amile Jefferson AND feels that one or both are two year players, the urgency for Williams may change. The Cats desperately want to save a position for Jabari Parker or Julius Randle and dont want to do anything to upset their chances of coming to UK. But they also have to love Williams’ ability and the postponement of the decision may have been due to some last minute moves to get him to wait just a bit longer before pulling the trigger elsewhere.
— Kentucky also had day two of a visit by Xavier guard Mark Lyons to the Bluegrass. Lyons is an odd case, a Senior who can fill it up, but also has had a reputation for trouble during his time in Cincinnati. He has one year of eligibility remaining and can play next year wherever he goes. He has long been considered an Arizona lean (Sean Miller who recruited him to Xavier is there), but his high school coach insists that isn’t the case, and his visit was the focus of UK’s staff today. Lyons draws mixed reactions from fans as to his future, but Calipari knows that he can score in bunches and if he is convinced that a system can work in which Lyons and Harrow can both play and be kept happy, we might see him in Lexington after all. The smart money is still on him heading elsewhere but the percentage of him becoming a Cat did increase a bit today.
— It was also announced today that Kentucky will head to the White House on Friday to visit President Obama and do a grand tour of the building. Due to the NBA Draft, Kentucky scheduled a special trip to visit the President, in the last two weeks before the team departs Lexington to get ready for their next steps. The players are all very excited about the trip and Calipari said that it was all they talked about immediately following the Championship victory. The quick turnaround in timing makes it unique and the Kentucky Oaks scheduling means that Senator Mitch McConnell will not be in attendance. I also am unable to go due to the date, which bums me out, but does prevent us the embarrassment of having Drew Franklin’s security clearance denied by the White House. Still, it will be a great event for the players and memory that will last a lifetime. Let’s all hope that, like our postgame radio caller inquired last season, Brian Long at least appreciates it.
We will get it going again tomorrow on the radio. If you are getting ready for the Kentucky Derby, click on the TWINSPIRES.COM ad on the right hand side of the site for a KSR special and place your wagers for Derby and the Oaks. It is a great way to get ready for the races and you get a deal as a KSR reader. More later…