Had you asked me just a month ago if I would spend an entire Sunday watching soccer, track, swimming, women’s volleyball and NASCAR, I would have told you that you were wrong….but that was before I started to catch “random sports fever.” This happens to me every summer, particularly on Olympic years, when my interest turns from the normal football and basketball to secondary sports getting ready for the Olympics…and for me today, that meant watching Lexington’s own Tyson Gay. If you missed the US Olympic Trials today, the former Lafayette High School star ran the FASTEST TIME EVER BY A HUMAN, completing the 100 m in 9.68 seconds. The time was wind-aided, but still stands as the fastest time ever….and it was completed by a Kentuckian. Add to that the fact that the announcer for the race was the Bluegrass’ own Tom Hammond, Kenny Perry won the PGA golf tournament and Mikey Waltrip came in second at New Hampshire, and it was a red-letter day for this here state. I thoroughly enjoyed all events, and also loved watching Spain win the Euros in an exciting game and the swimmers going through the pool at record times. Add to that the women’s volleyball teams playing (there is no earthly reason that they need shorts that short….but I wont complain) and it was a great day. Hope you caught some of it.
Now to the news….there isnt any. So lets talk about the 5 TOPICS to watch over the next two weeks:
(1): DeAndre Liggins…..if you want to know the piece of news that that without a doubt will have the biggest impact over the next 9 months for UK and is of the highest interest to Cat fans everywhere, it is the result that will come down soon from the ACT testing authority. Liggins’ ability to qualify is the most asked question I get on a daily basis (not quite Patterson-Lucas yet, but getting there) and the news should be coming within the next 10 days. Everyone and their brother claims to have a “source” on this and I think all are completely full of it. The situation is this….just a few months ago, none around Liggins or the staff believed his qualification was likely. His grades were so low that a test score was needed that was likely out of his realm of possibility. But then things changed….Liggins did some course work that led to a higher GPA, and now the test score is attainable. It still is a higher score than he has previously received (or else he would not need to take the test), but it is within the area of possibility. Liggins is currently on campus working with the team and confidence is higher. But there still has been no official word….however it could come today or it could come in two weeks. For UK, the importance cannot be overstated. PG is the position of weakness this year….without Liggins, all eggs are in the Galloway basket. With Liggins, you have two chances for success. If you want something to hope and root for, make it the scantron scanning from the ACT office with the name “Liggins” on it….it could hold the key to success for UK this season.
(2): Basketball recruiting….thanks to the early efforts of Billy Clyde, the recruiting seasons for UK are much different than before. The AAU tournament season was not quite as eventful as in recent years and reports from the camps have been lessened. But a big one is coming July 5-8, in the form of the Lebron James Skills Academy. It will also be the one camp that I will actually get to attend, as I make my yearly jaunt to the meat market formerly known as the Nike Camp. This really is the best to attend, as all the coaches are out in full force and many, although not all, of the best players make the trip. Next weekend and early the next week, we will have reports from the games and interviews with UK targets. Expect the name list of UK targets to increase as we learn who the staff has truly focused on. I look forward to having pictures and (yes) video, all for free on this blog….wish us luck….technology is not our strong suit, but we will see what we can pull off.
(3): Football Recruiting……Quietly, and in the background of other news, the UK football team has been getting commitments at a record pace for this early in the process. The Cats currently have 10 commitments, and a couple are big, including the brothers from Louisiana. While this class isnt setting the world on fire, it is solid and deep….and gives the Cats some time to focus on big targets, like Morgan Newton, the QB from Indiana. Regardless, the Cats continue to amp up their efforts this summer and make one wonder if they will be able to finish out a majority of their class before the big period comes this fall….if so, then they can be much more selective in the end, rather than scrambling. Truly good news for the football team and its future.
(4): Pick-up Basketball: One of my favorite things to do in the summer is sneak off into various nooks and crannies and check out the UK guys in their pick-up games and see how everyone is looking. There is NOTHING LESS HELPFUL than watching one game (as many posters do) and projecting how a player will play based on that one event. The player may or may not have cared, the guys may be goofing off and all minds may be elsewhere. Still, there are things that you can find from such games, such as conditioning issues and players’ injury status. I will likely sneak to a few this week, but I have a very good report from someone who has seen a hell of a lot more basketball than me that was emailed to me today. I will put it up later this afternoon, just as a primer on what has been going on.
(5): The basketball schedule….expect it to come out over the next ten days or so. We know the big games already, IU, UNC, Louisville, Miami and the Vegas Tournament, but the secondary games should be set soon. I always talk about “loseable games” in my season previews….aka games that you should win, but that you may lose if you arent careful (UAB, Houston, Santa Clara, San Diego in the past couple of years). Tubby was always big on scheduling these games, thinking they helped the RPI (better for RPI to play a team ranked 150 than 300 over playing a team ranked 5 over 100) and they helped UK seeding wise. This is the first Billy Clyde schedule, so it will be interesting to see if he follows suit.
More throughout the day….another media ranking, a look at some pickup action and coming tomorrow morning, the “Top 20 moments of the Kentucky Sports Radio era”….should be fun.