“…and then he says, ‘Rectum? Dang near killed ‘im!'”
KSR’s favorite Andy released a few quick-hitters early this morning, and because his notes are about basketball, he had a lot to say about Kentucky. First, went out of his way to calm the collective nerves that some around Lexington may have had regarding Nerlens Noel’s academic situation:
1. Kentucky coach John Calipari said during our Thursday taping of Katz Korner on ESPNU that incoming freshman center Nerlens Noel should be finishing up his two last classes and be eligible and on campus next month. Noel reclassified for the 2012-13 season and had to finish his degree requirements before he could attend Kentucky. So Noel wasn’t able to participate in any of the summer workouts since he was prohibited from finishing his requirements anywhere but back in high school. Calipari continued to praise incoming freshman Willie Cauley and his ability to produce during workouts. Calipari insists he will try playing the 6-10 Cauley and Noel together during the season. Cauley was the lowest-profile of the four newcomers (Alex Poythress andArchie Goodwin are the others).
“Cal insists he will try playing the 6-10 Cauley[-Stein] and Noel together during the season.” The second-coming of Bowie and Turpin could be on its way this coming season. What a defensive frontcourt that would be… And it’s also good to hear that Calipari doesn’t expect any undue hassle with Noel’s academic progress. As will happen when a junior decides in the spring that he wants to graduate THAT semester, there are some wrinkles that need to be ironed out. However, as we’ve hoped, there don’t appear to be any issues that would hamper his enrollment. Good news.
Katz shifts gears a little bit to address the coach at that school down the road:
2. Louisville coach Rick Pitino said that he has been energized coaching this recent Cardinals crew the past two seasons. Pitino also clarified on Katz Korner that he will coach until his contract were to run out, which happens to be in 2017. He said if his deal were to have run out in 2021 he would have said the same thing. He didn’t seem like he was ready to retire anytime soon. If he were offered an extension it doesn’t sound like Pitino would say no. He simply isn’t projecting like someone who is nearing the end. Pitino also overly praised the job done by his rival John Calipari. Pitino said he didn’t think a team dominated by one-and-done players could win a title, until Calipari accomplished the feat in April (by beating Louisville in the national semifinal before taking down Kansas). Pitino said the biggest surprise so far in workouts has been guard Kevin Ware. Pitino said it probably wasn’t fair to him to bring him in midseason. Ware didn’t log too many minutes, averaging just 5.3 a game. But Ware has already made an impact on Pitino as a potential serious rotation player for a possible Final Four squad.
Can we move past hating Rick Pitino now? Teasing him is fine; I’ll try not to, but that’s the name of the game in college sports. Rival coaches have to expect a certain amount of ribbing… (see me, letting that one go? Perfect genteleman.) But Ricky showed some class by wishing Calipari well last year after the semifinal game, by saying he hoped Cal could bring the trophy back to Kentucky. Now he seems like he’s doing something people aren’t used to seeing him do: relaxing, and enjoying being a coach. Don’t get me wrong, I think Cal has his number and wouldn’t trade head coaches for the world, but I think we can take the vitriol out of the taunting. Pitino’s changed a lot over the past year or two, and I think it’s pretty fun.