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Tommy John’s Thursday News and Views

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My plan tonight was to actually stay up late and watch some baseball, hoping to catch the Cats as they played their first round game in the SEC Tournament. Alas, it is 11:45 pm and the game hasnt even started yet, so it is likely that I wont make it until the end. But with baseball on the mind, today’s birthday honoree should certainly be Tommy John. During his pitching career, John was a classic above-average guy whose greatest strength was longevity, winning more games than his talent likely allowed, mainly because of his grit and determination. But what makes John fascinating to me is that his legacy now transcends the sport and his name will be known forever for something completely different than baseball. Thanks to an injury to his throwing arm, Tommy John was given a revolutionary surgery that took a ligament from elsewhere in the body and replaced the torn ligament in the elbow with it. The surgery saved the career of John and countless other pitchers and paved the way for more ligament replacements on other body parts. While John the pitcher is destined to likely be forgotten, his name will always be associated with a surgery and thus will live on forever…..better to be known for something I guess than nothing, right?

Just a couple of notes tonight….

(1): I really havent seen a phenomenon like what has developed with Hunter McClintock in quite some time. After putting the videos of Hunter up last night and today, I was called by three former UK players asking what else I knew about the kid and my radio show was filled with calls praising what the individuals had seen. While it is still yet to be determined whether the rage is totally because of the player’s skill or the great editing by his assistant coach, the videos have certainly put Hunter on the map and his stock is greatly rising. In talking to his dad today, he said that the calls have “increased dramatically” and schools such as Gonzaga, BC and Virginia are starting to show interest. Hunter is of course going to the Elite Camp in a few weeks when Gillispie can see him play against the current team members. I know some are skeptical about the kid and I understand that. But three things strike me as important. First, Bobby Perry is sold on this guy and says that the basketball folks in Durham are saying he is the best in the area in a few years. Second, he averaged 28 a game in Durham, a place where there are some good basketball teams and players. And third, Roy Williams and Billy Gillispie have both called multiple times in the last few weeks and both have told his father to “not do anything without letting them know first.” That strikes me as a guy to watch….and if nothing else, those videos are something else.

(2): Fran Fraschilla on ESPN.com insinuates today that the Iowa State staff believes there to be tampering on the recruitment of Wesley Johnson from the Cyclone team. The blog post says that they believe an SEC school interfered in some way, and are upset. No word on what school it is, although speculation on the Iowa State fan sites suggests they believe it to be UK or Alabama. Fraschilla seems to be doing the Iowa State coaches bidding with that statement…..there better be some backup for that, because if not I think that is an out of line comment by a former Division I coach.

(3): Jared Carter and Ramon Harris left for Africa….that makes me smile. Man I wish I could have gone with a camera.

More tomorrow, including a report on the baseball game….if they win, I am heading to Hoover for the weekend. Go BatCats…..

Article written by Matt Jones