Well, well, well. Here we are. I know you’ve wanted this for a long time and, even though it seems a little harder to accept than any of us ever imagined, I promise you that it’s going to be ok. In case you missed the news earlier, our fearless leader will be taking his talents to CBSSports.com and this fine little piece of the internet has been left in the somewhat capable hands of yours truly and all of my fine KSR cohorts. I’m excited about this for a variety of reasons and not just because my new contract includes unlimited breakfasts with Bomani Jones, back rubs from Woo and a guaranteed pen pal at the Herald-Leader’s attorney’s office. Today marks a new start for all of us at KSR as we continue our pursuit of getting you the best basketball and football news in the most ridiculous manner possible. The good news is that you have my word that that will remain unchanged. Matt Jones or no Matt Jones, this is going to continue to be the best Kentucky website on the internet. You’re going to get breaking news as it breaks and you’re going to get all the goofiness that you’d expect from KSR. There might be some slight changes in the way things appear or maybe in a few of the names that do the writing, but the commitment and content will remain the same. And that’s not for lack of ideas or creativity. It’s by design.
In the however many number of years that we’ve been doing this site (I’ve been doing it for three), the only constant besides BTI’s misspellings and Matt’s references to political figures you’ve never heard of has been you. We’ve all been fortunate to be given more opportunities and experiences than any of us ever dreamed when we started firing up our laptops and they’ve all been because of the mind-blowing support we’ve received from the Kentucky fans who have been gracious enough to give us a reason to write our inane musings on an hourly basis. This is just the latest example. I’m tremendously proud and gracious that Matt chose to hand his baby off to this ex-reader and commenter and I feel fortunate to have a number of great writers here to help ensure the continued success of this site. But, as has always been the case with KSR, it is nothing without you guys. So, if there is anything for you to take away from this news of Matt’s departure, let it be this: You have our commitment that this site will only continue to get better in Matt’s absence and that we remain firm in our desire to give you the quality coverage and entertainment that has made us all such a close-knit community. Just as going to CBS is a tremendous opportunity for Matt, taking over the control of KSR is a fantastic gift to the rest of us and, even with all of the joking and laughs that are certain to come, it’s not one that we’re taking lightly.
I hear the orchestra playing me out on this absurdly long acceptance speech, so let’s get to some UK notes…
– Following his visit over the weekend and the news Friday afternoon that he could potentially head to college in just a few weeks, the internet was aflutter on Monday with chatter about how five-star small forwards DeAndre Daniels’ visit to Lexington went. Daniels’ father said afterward that they were impressed with UK’s campus and that the Cats were defenitely a potential option, while his coach said that he thought the Cats were behind Oregon and Kansas at this point. It’s certainly possible that both are correct, but it’s tough to read between the lines. However, at this point, we now know three things about Daniels:
1. He will enroll in college early – In an interview with Jerry Meyer of Rivals, Daniels confirmed that, much like Matt Jones, he will take his talents to a national stage earlier than his peers. Daniels told Meyer that he is uncertain if he will play this season, but if both he and his father feel he is ready, is willing to do so. He also added that UK fans are “a bit more crazy than other fans”. Indeed they are.
2. Daniels will not visit Texas on Tuesday – The visit to Austin had been set up prior to his visit to Lexington, but it now appears that it will not be happening. Daniels had previously committed to the Longhorns and is no stranger to the campus, having visited for camp shortly before his initial commitment. But, you’d have to believe that the other teams on his list are probably happier with this decision than the Longhorns are.
3. Daniels will visit NC State on Dec. 19th – Daniels had been open about his desire to set up a fifth and final official visit before deciding where he will head to college. It now appears that NC State has been chosen over Florida, Baylor, Alabama and Arizona State. He will take the campus in with shooting guard Christian Garrett, his teammate at IMG Academy.
– Tobias Harris aside, Kentucky has resumed their domination of the SEC Freshman of the Week award again this season and Brandon Knight was tabbed as the winner of this week’s award on Monday. As we mentioned earlier, the award is nice, but it’s a greater indication of the evolution of Knight’s game to this point in this young season. After struggling to adapt to the point guard position a bit in the year’s first seven games, Knight appears to finally settled into his role. In the last two games, UK’s offense has finally started to look fluid and well-oiled and it’s no coincidence that Knight’s play has also found the same success. Knight appeared to be uncomfortable at times as the initiator of the offense and seemed to be over-thinking his role. In the last two games, he’s continued to score the ball, but he’s dropped his turnovers from about five per game to 1.5 and seems to be finding that swagger that Calipari teams – especially this version – so desperately need from their point guards.
– For some reason or another, Rick Pitino agreed to coach the Puerto Rican national team. It’s a high-profile program that has medaled in zero Olympic games and zero World Championships, but has some fancy uniforms and Renaldo Balkman’s hair. Not really sure what this is all about, but I’m sure there are plenty of jokes to be written. Just remember, Rick, coaching a national team can really age you. And then put you in the WNBA.
– On the football front, the Cats got some positive news when Louisville high schooler Jon Davis confirmed his commitment to the Cats. Davis, who had recently visited Oregon, told Mr. Fancy Pants, Chip Cosby, that he has cancelled visits to Stanford and Illinois and plans on suiting up for Joker’s Cats. With Charlie Strong’s continued success on the recruiting trail – and, make no mistake about it, he’s doing very well – it’s important for Kentucky to maintain a hold on Jefferson County and the state as a whole. The jury is still out on whether or not that will continue, but Davis reaffirming his desire to be a Cat is at least a small victory in that department. As we’ve said a hundred times, Kentucky’s bowl streak has a lot to do with some recruiting wins in states like Georgia (and Tennessee, Texas, etc.), but the biggest key is maintaining the firm hold on the state of Kentucky.
– In other positive recruiting news, Chris Fisher reported on Monday that four-star wide receiver Devin Lucien had a great visit to UK over the weekend. Lucien, ranked as the nation’s 28th-best wideout, took in the IU game and visited the football practices and was said to be blown away by the Cats. The California native, who measures in at 6’1″ and runs a 4.49, has a host of offers from a number of big schools, particularyl on the west coast, will still visit Michigan, UCLA and Colorado.
– Oh, Matt Schaub. Oh. Matt Schaub.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout this Transition Tuesday as we get the new era of Kentucky Sports Radio going with all kinds of goodness. The excitement gets started with a familiar voice on 1080 am at 10. You can listen online here. Make sure you stick around. It’s going to be fun. See you in a few…