This picture comes from the great collection of photos by Clay Jackson, the best on the internet….
Its that time of the year again. It is time for the Kentucky Sports Radio UK Basketball Player Previews….a time when we can come together as a UK family and take a long hard look at the players that will wear the Blue and White. Over the last two years, this feature has been one of our most popular and controversial….as we take on the team in ways that are occasionally a bit different than what you will find from our man Dick Gabriel or Jerry “my blog is a Funhouse” Tipton. But we do our best to try and give you the info you need at a price you can afford.
First up today is everyone’s favorite Brooklynite Ramel Bradley. Awww yes Ra Smoove is now a Senior and is ready for the role he was born to play…..true leader of the team. If you have watched Ramel over the last few years, you know that he is a true gamer….a guy who leaves it all out on the court, while telling you everything he has done while he was on the court. Personally Ramel is one of the most engaging players to put on the Blue and White in recent years and there may be no player who is more proud of the Kentucky tradition and who better embraces all that it means to be a Kentucky player than Mr. Bradley. Add to it, his mischevious grin, his Diamond Dallas Page/Jay Z hand signal and tendency to always call me “Law Dog” and I cant help but be a huge Ramel fan.
This season however must be one where Ramel takes his game to another level. Coach Billy Clyde has often said that on a team this young, Senior leadership will be key, and no one will be called on more to give that leadership than Ramel “I am at my best when not rapping with Jonathan Webb” Bradley. At UK’s media day, Ramel embraced his newfound leadership role in my conversation with him. When I asked him what he looked to do this year, he said, “I want my legacy at Kentucky to be the guy that was the leader that brought on the next great generation of Kentucky basketball players. These young guys all have talent and I want to help bring them along and get their first championship.” There is a lot to love in that sentence and a lot to love about Ramel Bradley.
So what will we see this year? I expect to see a player who blossoms under Billy Clyde and becomes an All-SEC talent. I think Ramel will be a leader on the court and will find a team where he can excel…..by taking big shots, but by also having other weapons such as Jodie Meeks, Joe Crawford and Patrick Patterson that keep him from having to shoulder the entire scoring load. I think no one will benefit more from Billy Clyde’s more wide open style and Ramel will continue to be energized by the new coach’s tireless work ethic. At Media Day Ramel said that he “couldnt wait to get on the court and bring Kentucky basketball back to where it should be.” I expect Ramel to be a key contributor to making that happen and his role as fan favorite to flourish this year.
Here are some Ramel highlights…..his Midnight Madness video:
On the Court against Tennessee….
His “Bring it Back” Video with UK clips….
His performance with Jonathan Webb
Now with that take, here are some of the other Kentucky Sports Radio contributor’s own perspectives on Ra Smoove:
MOSLEY: So, it looks like we’re doing this again. I can only guess that the positive response and threatening phonecalls received last year were enough to persuade Matthew to goad us into giving these player previews another try. First up is everyone’s favorite: Smoove Bradley. I was actually surprised when I looked up Ramel’s stats from last year and discovered that not only did he average 13.4 ppg, but he averaged almost 4assists per game and had an assist/turnover ratio of 1.4. That doesn’t exactly make him John Stockton(although a Stockton vs. Ramel freestyle contest would be something to behold), but it does fly in the face of my perception that Ramel is a turnover machine. The unquestioned leader of this group of Cats and one of only two seniors, Bradley exudes charisma as showcased in the videos at Midnight Madness. This latter trait helps frame my prediction for Smoove this year. Ramel Bradley will have a solid year and will lead the Cats in scoring, averaging 15.5 ppg while providing steady defense. The arrival of Coach Gillispie will be good for Ramel’s growth as a basketball player and Ramel will adapt to the demanding style of Coach BCG. Futhermore, Smoove will use the off-season to pursue his love of the camera, resulting in a role in the updated and urbanized version of “Alice”. Ramel will play the owner/operator of a small eatery in Brooklyn called“Ra-Mel’s Diner”. Eartha Kitt will play the updated version of “Flo” and Ramel will respond to Flo’s question of “Ra-Mel, why don’t you kiss my grits?”with, “This is the reason right here!” He will then proceed to form his hands into “the rock” for which he is now so famous. Stanley Kubrick will direct–from beyond the grave (in the audio version of this preview, there is a blast from an organ adding to the creepiness of the preceding sentence). And there you have what is sure to be the first of many weak player predictions from contributor and gourmet Indian foodchef, Mosley.
INTERN: “Do Something,” the brash freshman outta Brooklyn directed to the future number 1 draft pick 4 years his elder, twice his height. Ofcourse, Andrew Bogut did not actually take the freshman’s offer, and although “nothing was done,” the legend of Smooth was born. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate moniker for Ramel Bradley. The dictionary defines the word smooth as, “free from difficulties or impediments.” Difficulties? Yeah, deciding which coed(s) will be the beneficiary of some post-game magic stick. Impediments? Only The Man and his lyrical censorship. Voted most likely to one day have his own brand of vodka by teammates, Smooth has certainly stamped his mark on Lexington. On the court, we see the fearless playground essence fueled by competitive fire, though obviously relishing the spotlight. Off it,we’re treated to one of the greatest ambassadors to ever lace ’em up in Rupp. Bottom line: whether in Tubby’s doghouse or on the court filling it up, you knew Smooth was having fun. A refreshing persona in a world where immense pressure all-too-often supersedes enjoyment. Bradley has been Lexington’s Stuart Scott (but with better eye sight and grammar), introducing us an array of cultural trinkets like, “the Roc,” a hand gesture honoring Beyonce’s va jay-jay. We’ll all certainly miss Bradley’s infectious personality, his sweet jumper, and his Eddie Murphy smile, but we’re proud to call him our own. And if you’ve got a problem with it, well, do something….
TOMLIN: “I remember the day the Bradley kid walked into my office. Smooth, he called himself. Said he was one of those rap guys. I’d heard all about him from the boys in the neighborhood. How he was a great leader on the court, how he had the heart. How he could make plays and pump up his teammates. I’d read all about him in the papers — rising up through the ranks as an unheralded rookie in a class of McDonald’s All-Americans, surprising the fans with his passion for the game, maintaining a sense of the old guard as a lot of his contemporaries had their sights set on the pro league. I knew the kid. I knew he had the gumption. I told him, ‘you may be tough as nails as a combo guard, but this rap game, it’s different.’ I’d seen guys like him get chewed up and spit out in freestyle rap battles — Brendan Plavich, BJ McKie, Geert Hammink. So then Ramel throws on a demo tape and starts doing his thing, you know? Rapping it up. Blew the lid off the joint. It was then I knew, if this kid could produce the rap songs as well as he runs the ball, he was going places. To use his own quote, it ain’t 2 hard to tell he does the damn thing. I don’t know exactly what that means, or why there’s a number in the sentence, but I do know the kid’s got moxie.”
DUFRESNE: A few factiods about Smoove……
Did You Know….
…that Ramel Bradley grew up on the Mean Streets of New York City and that his nickname “Smooth” refers to the incredibly suave moves he pulls on the court?
…while Bradley’s crossover dribble has been referred to as “ankle breaking”, that he once burned an opponent so severely with his crossover during his senior year in high school that the opponent developed a urinary tract infection?
…that Bradley and former Wildcat Center Randolph Morris were best friends and roomates? Further although some fans see Morris’ lack of emotion on the court as being due to a lack of emotional investment in the team, Morris’ lack of passion really was due to Bradley playing a prank on the center and stealing his ability to smile.
…that despite sometimes poor shot selection, Bradley is not and never has been Roderick Rhodes?
…that Disney’s “That’s So Raven” is the least nuanced program on television? Seriously…there is no sense subtlety and irony to that thing at all…