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UK Fans of the Day Want Afternoon Notes

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Draft stuff going every which way today. Lets get to it….

— The big story of the day, and potentially Draft week, is the status of Demarcus Cousins in the Draft. He could fall anywhere from the 2nd pick to the 7th, and today talking heads weighed in from every direction. Jay Bilas said he would not use a Top 4 pick on Cousins, while Fran Fraschilla said that Cousins was the type of player who could win a GM an Executive of the Year Award or get him fired. Chad Ford of ESPN reported that Derrick Favors has been “getting his butt kicked” by Cousins in their workouts over the past few days and there are real questions about the potential of the Nets now taking him at #3. Draft Express.com said that a source tells the site that Cousins doesnt want to play in Sacramento and the Kings are not so sure they want him either. (UPDATE: Cousins just stated that these comments werent true and Draft Express needs to “get their facts right). They go onto say that Cousins would be the happiest in Detroit, which picks at #7. Regardless, the story of Cousins and his attitude is the #1 feature of this week and will continue to be until the Draft.

— I wrote earlier about my issues with Eric Prisbell’s decision to inform John Wall about his father’s murder conviction, while interviewing him for a feature piece in the Washington Post. And it looks like I wasnt the only one with an issue, as Prisbell explained his thought process in this live chat on the Post site:

I was uncomfortable being in the position knowing such information that John may not have known (I didn’t know what he knew before I talked with him). But when I got the records, it was then that I realized how long of a record the dad had. Before that, I just wanted to get the gist of what he had done if we had to include the background information.

Once I got the records, then I found myself in a situation that I found to be unsettling. I’ve been in a lot of odd situations in my career, but this made me uncomfortable. First, I wrestled with the idea of IF I should tell John, etc. But, hey, the driving force in his life is his dad, and he cherishes the memories from those prison visits. If I incldue that, how do I not include what the dad did and how long he was in there?

Then the question became how to do it. I talked all this through with editors, of course. We wanted to handle this with extreme care. We wanted to be sensitive, delicate, respectful. Both in how we wrote it and how I talked about it with john. I did not want to mention specifics with John, and I did not. John and I got into the heavy stuff about 12 minutes into a 45-minute talk. We talkd for a long while after that. The fact is: Even after I told John, it did not change his feelings toward his father. That says something pretty strong about John and his relationship with his father. The three words that jump out to me when thinking about John: humble, polite and mature.

I understand reasonable people can and will disagree on the disclosure issue. But i am comfortable with the decisions we made because of how I handled it.

I appreciate that Prisbell realizes the delicacy of the situation and how it was handled. To me, he should have asked Wall if he wanted to hear the crime and offered to have his reaction off the record. Reasonable minds can disagree, but I do think a mistake was made. Still, Prisbell doesnt seem like a bad guy and I accept his explanation as reasonable.

— I sometimes get asked about national college basketball blogs that might be interesting to follow. Here is an article from Ballin is a Habit, a national blog that I enjoy under the “even if they dont like us, that doesnt mean we cant like them theory. In the post, the author recounts my interview with Calipari last week and his comments about the media criticism of him. The author then shares this ditty:

Kentucky Sports Radio, the preeminent Kentucky sports blog run by Matt Jones, has been Calipari’s first line of defense, especially when dealing with the media. Two days after the Thamel story broke, Jones went off on Pat Forde — with his collateral damage being Mike Freeman and Thamel — questioning the ethics of the three sportswriters. It isn’t the first time that Jones has thrown someone under the bus in his defense of the Kentucky program. Anyway, if you can get past the blind homerism, Jones actually does make some good points

I would suggest that I didnt “throw someone under the bus” in defense of anything, and simply pointed out an obvious hypocrisy. I dont agree with the “blind homerism” (was I a blind homer when I lambasted Gillispie for a full year?), but hey that isnt the first or last time I will get called that name. Still an interesting blog and the first of many we will link up over the course of the summer to expand the internet reading of the Big Blue Nation.

— John Calipari has announced the dates for his Pro Camp this summer. It will be July 29-31. Kids age 7-11 from 9 am-Noon each day and ages 12-18 from 1-4 pm all three days. There will be a number of UK pros in town for the event, potentially including John Wall, Tayshaun Prince and Jodie Meeks. Should be a good event for any who can attend (the over 30 group goes in the evening I presume).

We will have more all day so stay tuned….first Blogger finalists go up this evening.

Article written by Matt Jones