Good morning, my fine KSR family, and welcome to the first day of the rest of your basketball lives. After Matt Jones faked an injury to get Drew Franklin a little extra playing time last night – playing time that Drew capitalized on mightily – we’re getting you back on track just in time for the weekend with a special Big Blue Madness edition of the News and Views. But, before we get into all the basketball goodness, let’s stop and pay tribute to the Uncle of Pop, Tito Jackson, who turns 57 today. I don’t know too much about our dear friend Tito besides the obvious fact that he’s the only Jackson brother to appear to not be made out of porcelain, but I did spend a good portion of my childhood telling people that my parents named me after him. Hilarious, I know. I can promise you that this guy finds it even less funny. But, that doesn’t make me and Tito any less of family and, in my family, we go big on birthday celebrations. Its hard to imagine it getting much bigger than a KSR morning shoutout. So, happy birthday to you, Tito Jackson. Good luck with that reality show or however you’re capitalizing off of your brother these days.
Now, onto some UK notes…
– Obviously, the biggest thing on the UK agenda on what is shaping up to be an exciting weekend is Big Blue Madness, which will kick off Friday evening. It’s probably unfair to expect this year’s festivities to out-do what seemed to be a once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza last year, but Coach Cal has teased that there will be special guests on hand. Will it be as special as Drake or Tayshaun Prince? We’ll see. We do know that it won’t be as special as me, thanks to my wife. But, it will give UK fans who weren’t courageous enough to brave the Canadian summer to see this version of Coach Cal’s squad first hand and get the much talked about answer to “Who has supplanted the Black Eyed Peas as this year’s jock jam?”. You can find out the answer to this question and more at 7:30 on the Big Blue Sports Network or by streaming online through UKAthletics.com. Either way, you can chat about it on KSR with thousands of your closest friends.
– If the prospect of spending your Friday night watching a little basketball doesn’t get you fired up enough, we also received word on Thursday that UK expects to find out Friday if Enes Kanter can return to practice. This, of course, would likely come in time for him to participate in the Friday evening practice, but would also be a positive first step in getting himself on the same page as his teammates as we all anticipate an eventual full return to the team. It also gives you all kinds of great sign options for Madness.
– Speaking of Madness, I’m asking for your help. I don’t want tickets. I just want your support. I launched a Twitter campaign on Thursday that seemed to gather some decent steam encouraging Josh Harrellson to do “The Carlton” when he is introduced on Friday, thus seizing the dancing throne vacated by John Wall. Please join me in support of this. I’ll be watching Big Blue Madness with a chatty wife and two loud children. I need this. Or, if you can’t support the greatest potential dance move in history, just send me that free poster you’ll get on your seat. Thanks.
– On Thursday, UK held their media day, which is detailed below, and contained few interesting things. However, Coach Cal did meet with the media prior to the players and spent a lot of time talking about the difference between this year’s team and the one that fans fell in love with last season. Cal said that he hopes that the two teams won’t be compared to each other, which is about as likely to come true as your hopes getting that dream date with Erin Andrews. Calipari spent time saying that this team has no one who is anywhere near what DeMarcus Cousins was brining to the team in March but there’s another side to that and it’s what I think could end up being Kentucky’s biggest strength this year. The Cats have a number of versatile players who can play multiple positions, which will allow them to create matchup problems from game to game and allow for interchangeable parts and fresh legs throughout each contest. We already know that we’ll see a lot more dribble-drive than we got last year and the versatile pieces that UK has can present just as many issues for opponents out of that offense as they did by running a more traditional power offense last season.
– Also, Calipari announced for what seems like the 3,485th time that Darnell Dodson is no longer with the team. It is believed that Calipari announced this again for Dodson’s sake, so don’t feel insulted. They say that Dodson doesn’t remember the first 3,484 times this was said.
– Meanwhile, there’s a pretty important football game this weekend in Commonwealth. It appears that Kentucky will enter the game without Derrick Locke, who is still nursing shoulder injuries. You never want to be without your starting tailback and All-SEC performer, but UK has some good depth at running back and Donald Russell and Raymond Sanders appear to be capable replacements. Plus, you’ll probably get a nice dose of the WildCobb. That can’t hurt.
– It’s hard to imagine that he can do much more to help his team win, but Randall Cobb seems convinced that there has to be something and spent some time talking about leadership with Coach Cal this week. The quarterback running back wide receiver kick returner football player looked to the basketball coach for advice on keeping his team motivated as they enter the most important slate of games on their schedule. According to Cobb, Cal told him that it’s obvious that he’s the leader and it’s important that he do everything he can to make his teammate’s jobs easier and to let them know he wants to help them in every way possible. I figured that was pretty obvious by now. *This note brought to you by “Bounce Back”, a book written by Kentucky coach John Calipari helping you overcome setbacks and succeeding in life and business
– A week after hosting Zeke Pike, UK will welcome another visitor in the form of three-star defensive back Alex Dixon of Clearwater, Florida (hey, we’re neighbors!). Dixon currently holds offers from schools like Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Nebraska, Tennessee and West Virginia. However, he’s never been on campus at those schools during a Madness-Keeneland-Football weekend, so you have to like UK’s chances.
– We had some late night fun on Twitter Thursday night, but most of you wouldn’t know because you only follow Drew Franklin and Matt Jones, which is not cool. Anyway, bitterness aside, I retweeted a message tagged with “Sitcom Names Replaced With Enes” and a lot of you jumped on board with your suggestions. Here are some of the best:
Two Guys, A Girl and An Enes
Boy Meets Enes
8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Enes
Married, With Enes
Sabrina, The Teenage Enes
Joanie Loves Enes
Everybody Loves Enes
How I Met Your Enes
S–t My Enes Says
The Big Enes Theory
Saved By The Enes: College Years
Enes Wrap-Up hosted by Rob Bromley
I Dream of Enes
Enes in Charge
Enes Town starring Josh Hopkins
It’s funny because Enes sounds like….nevermind.
– I heard from a source, who we will call Rewday Ranklinfay, that they were shooting Justified in Lexington on Thursday. If there is anyone reading this can get me even the most insignificant extra role on that show, I promise you an incredibly rewarding prize to be determined later. Remember, I have acting (or standing) experience.
– Finally, the UK student government will be handing out free shirts to commerate what should be a very memorable weekend. The shirts are reversible, which is how they should make all shirts for college students, and celebrate Big Blue Madness on one side and the South Carolina game on the other. The UKSGA folks will be handing them out on campus starting at 9am and prior to Madness. This is what they look like:
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we kick off the start of three days that Billy Gillispie would describe as “uh, very, very, very, uh, very big”. Lots of goodness coming on Friday, which is College Day at Keeneland and partially sponsored by KSR. Make sure you head out there and stay tuned to KSR on your mobile devices all day. It’s going to be fun. See you in a few…