I got a long day today that includes a drive to Floyd County and a trip to Keeneland, so this has to be quicker than usual. There is something about this news story on the Turkey Hunting Bride from a Knoxville paper that makes me happy. The woman above and her husband had a wedding in Jamaica and then came home to have their honeymoon in Tennessee so they could go turkey hunting. They are both from Louisville and you have to respect their love of turkeys to pull such a daily double off. As many of you know, the Turkey Hunter is on hiatus until June, but I know the picture above shows this woman is one who could still his heart.
To the (loaded) news….
(1): The big news of the afternoon was our story earlier that JUCO SWINGMAN DARNELL DODSON IS THE NEXT COMMITMENT FOR UK IN THE 2009 CLASS. We found out earlier today that the UK folks were told of this in the last two days and that it will likely be announced either on Thursday or Friday. Dodson signed with Memphis because of Coach Calipari and was granted his release today, thus opening up the door for this move. His father did a couple of interviews after our report broke and said the commitment had not yet occurred but basically said that it was very likely it would soon. Dodson is a perfect player to substitute for the loss of Xavier Henry and is the prototype Calipari player (6’7″, big wing span, can put the ball on the floor and shoot from outside). Cal loves guys like this and Dodson fits in perfectly. He will have three years of eligibility after initially selecting Pitt, being in Juco for two years, one of which he sat out as a redshirt. Dodson is the equivalent of a four star recruit and while he may not be as heralded as Xavier Henry, he likely will stay all three years and will be a solid contributor throughout. Great pickup whenever it finally is made official.
(2): John Wall was all over the news today and it was an interesting day in Raleigh. First, Coach K cancelled his visit with Wall due to his book tour obligations in New York. Then, we got word late tonight that Calipari did meet with Wall and his mother today, sliding in after watching CJ Leslie workout, and picking up where Coach K left off. This makes the third time Calipari has seen Wall in the last three weeks, in places ranging from Portland to New York to Raleigh. Billy Donovan has been to see Wall twice in the last two weeks, making the trip from Gainesville. Coach K has yet to see him in the past few weeks, even though he is down the road. That is why one source told me late tonight that “Florida may have edged past Duke as the second favorite.” Coach K, that book better sell my man…..
(3): After starting in Raleigh and moving on to Birmingham for Eric Bledsoe, Calipari finished the night in Florida to meet 2010 guard Brandon Knight. Knight is part of the wide range of 2010 stars now considering Kentucky and will be a name you hear more and more often as the weeks go on. Watching Calipari these last few days is really something. When Gillispie was here, we marveled at how many places he would go and how many recruits he would visit. Calipari does the same thing, but all the recruits are STARS and elite players. It is something to watch him outwork guys for the top talent…..the Cats are lucky to have him.
(4): News also broke late tonight that 2010 Louisville Commitment Jeremy Tyler is headed to Europe and will not play college basketball. Tyler had been referred to as the best college big man since Oden, but decided to skip his Senior year of high school and go play for money for two years in Europe with Sonny Vacarro. IT will be interesting to see how this works out and the news is surprising. However it is yet another in a long line of hits for the UL basketball program over the last few weeks. What else can happen?
(5): A shoutout to the UK basketball program which received an award for being in the top ten percent in the APR score over the last four years. The APR score for those of you that dont know is there to evaluate basketball programs in terms of academics and graduation of players. Both Tubby and Gillispie were very smart to keep this score in mind, both because it is a good thing to do for the young men, but also to keep away the scholarship punishments. Both coaches helped make academics a priority in the program and the award showcases that today.
Big day coming….Beisner will guide you through whatever news may break….stay tuned….