Good morning, my sweet KSR readers, and welcome to the end of your dreadfully long holiday work week. Today, as I’m sure you’re all aware is September 11, 2009 – the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that leveled the Twin Towers, damaged the Pentagon and forever changed the course of American history. For my generation, this date will forever be engrained in our memory and our hearts as one of the most sudden and shocking moments of our lifetimes. Whether right or wrong, my generation knows Pearl Harbor and D-Day as pages in our history books, while September 11th triggers an unfamiliar feeling of fear and shock – and a moment that still gives me chills to this moment when I think about it. It was the day that life stopped and suddenly our country didn’t seem so invincible. It was the first time that most people in my generation felt that the United States could be a battle ground and that we realized that things would never be the same. For me, this day also puts me right back at the University of Kentucky.
On September 11th, 2001, I had just turned 18 and was about a month into my freshman year at UK. I’ll never forget answering the phone at my Haggin Hall dorm room and hearing the voice of my roommate’s mother, who never called. She told me in a panicked voice to turn on the television, which I did just minutes before I watched the second plane crash into the towers. I’ll never forget the emotions I felt watching NBC that morning, wondering if what I was watching was actually happening, hoping that she had been mistaken and the Bruckheimer-like footage I was seeing was just an elaborate movie ad. I stayed glued to the television before leaving for my class that morning on a silent, zombie-like walk. When I entered the Classroom Building for Dr. DeSantis’ COM 101 class, few students talked and an eerie feeling overtook the room. Dr. DeSantis, who was visibly shaken, gave the class simple instructions. “Go home. Call your parents and tell them that you love them. This is bigger than school,” he said. We left and I arrived back at the dorm just a few minutes before watching one of the towers crumble to the ground. For as long as I live, I’ll never forget what happened that morning.
I’m sure everyone has a similar story about September 11th, 2001 and none of us – regardless of age – will ever forget where we were or the emotions we felt on that day. And that’s what is important. As we get more removed from that tragic day, it’s important to keep the families of those who lost loved ones in the attacks, in the ensuing rescue efforts and in the war that followed in your hearts. One day, my kids will only see 9/11 as a page in their history book and might not fully understand the millions of lives it impacted and the way it changed the course of this country. But, for those of us who have friends and family impacted or felt the overwhelming emotions of that day, we’ll never forget. So, today, say a prayer or do what you do for all of the people who suffered this tragedy eight years ago. And let’s hope we never feel that way again.
Now, onto some UK news on an incredibly boring week….
– In this football bye week, the eyes of the UK world continue to be on the recruiting world as the UK staff makes their in-home visits. Sir Rumbaugh has done his usual stellar job of keeping us updated and we learned that the staff met with point guard Kyrie Irving and shooting guard Doron Lamb Thursday, after meeting with Tobias Harris on Wednesday. Results of these visits are not immediately known, but I’d guess that Irving heard the names “Derrick Rose” and “John Wall” quite a bit and both were void of the Coach K crocodile tears. But, this transitions nicely into the next big note that….
– Larry Vaught reported on Thursday that sources were telling him that UK would land two commitments in November. Knowing absolutely zero about recruiting, I’d say that this is probably a safe bet given the number of scholarships the Cats will have available this year and the general appeal of the UK program, but, alas, no one is telling me this. Vaught did not name names or mention if this was connected to the story he wrote a few weeks ago regarding the strong leanings of Brandon Knight and Adreian Payne, but he said that both will be “highly rated” guys. Regardless of who these players may be or if the staff even knows which of their top targets they are, this has to be positive news for antsy Cats fans.
– As far as Coach Cal goes, he continued to travel the country on his “Bounce Back” tour, which saw him land in New York today. As we mentioned earlier, he had a very entertaining appearance on Dan Patrick’s show (full audio below), where, when asked if he’s talked to Rick Pitino, he said something to the effect of “he knows my number if he needs to get ahold of me”. Also, while at his book signing, Coach said that a portion of his book profits would go to the 9/11 Memorial Fund. Have I mentioned that I love this guy?
– The big news out of the Nutter Center on a slow bye week Thursday was that center Jorge Gonzalez would start against Louisville after being suspended for the season opener. With Marcus Davis out for the year and, despite a solid effort from Matt Smith, having the Pre-season All-SEC third teamer in the lineup should help.
– And, if you want to get really angry on this early Friday, take a look at what former Herald-Leader columnist Billy Reed had to say about the backlash about Calipari’s gift to President Obama. In a piece he called “A Sad State in Redneck Nation”, Reed pens a majority of UK fans as racist, well, rednecks. If you’re prone to violent, angry outbursts, I wouldn’t click on it.
– On the local recruiting front, Covington Holmes’ Ricardo Johnson committed to Ohio University. Johnson, a 6’6″ small forward with a two-star ranking from Rivals, is one of the top players in the state and was one of Billy Gillispie’s guests at Big Blue Madness last year. He also attended Indiana’s madness festivities last year.
– Many people think that Mississippi State could be UK’s most formidable SEC opponent this season, thanks to a big-time recruiting class headlined by All-American Renardo Sidney, who had faced some NCAA obstacles on his way to eligibility. Today, the NCAA issued a statement deeming Sidney “not certified due to non-response” after he did not deliver the required financial records. I find this to be strikingly similar to the Memphis situation where, apparently, the Tiger basketball team found itself sanctioned partly because Derrick Rose never responded to their letters. Regardless, Sidney is apparently ineligible again and the NCAA remains serious about understanding how Sidney’s family moved up like George and Weezie after moving to LA.
– And, to finish this off on a good note, here’s a little positive story that happened right in my back yard and flew under my nose. Dick Vitale, who catches a lot of crap around here, is reaching out and helping a Tampa family struck by tragedy. Vitale will help pay for the funeral arrangements of a Bradenton teenager who was murdered after her school’s high school football game last week. Vitale is also working with the school to establish a scholarship fund in the girl’s name. Sure, he might like Duke and UNC at an unhealthy level, but he deserves a lot of respect for taking this on.
Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you all ramped up on all of the UK news of the day and continue to keep you abreast of all of the in-home visit happenings. It’s going to be a good one. See you in a few…