A few notes on what is turning out to be a fun Thursday…
– The big news of the day to this point is obviously the hiring of Rick “Nuclear” Minter to play nice with Steve Brown as a co-defensive coordinator. His hire doesn’t have the sexiness of Randy Shannon, which I still believe was circulated only to appease the fan base that kind of rose of of nowhere in support of him, but he has a resume that is quite extensive and, to be honest, pretty impressive. Now, getting that to translate on the field and finding a way to do so while working with Brown (presuming he stays) is another story. But, it’s another clear sign that, if nothing else, Joker Phillips is surrounding himself with the people he trusts to help him fulfill his goal of a successful Operation: Win campaign.
– Lost in the shuffle a bit was the second half of the expected coaching news as former LaGrange (Ga.) coach Steve Pardue was also announced as the new running backs coach. Pardue is a native of Hopkinsville and has spent the last 25 years as a high school coach in Georgia (16 as the Grangers’ top guy). He’s most famously known for supplying the Cats with guys like Wesley Woodyard, Braxton Kelley, Randall Burden, Mychal Bailey and Qua Huzzie, but he also has built strong relationships throughout the state of Georgia during his time there. This move again reiterates Joker’s emphasis on recruiting out of his assistants. As a bit of a side note, I always find it fascinating to follow high school coaches who make the jump to college. It’s much more common than in basketball and there are success stories like Gus Malzahn or even Chuck Smith at UK and then oddball tales like Todd Dodge at North Texas. But, that’s just the sports nerd in me.
– Antoine Walker continues to try to get his way back to the NBA via the Idaho Stampede and is averaging 10 points and 7 boards so far for the D-League team. SLAM Magazine has a pretty interesting look at Walker’s comeback attempt, as well as his fall, which included supporting 70 people at one point. That’s seventy. People. Wow.
– On a small housekeeping note, I want to clarify what has probably been some confusion regarding the KSR Twitter accounts. Matt’s account (@KySportsRadio) will continue to be where all of the news updates will be sent from, sometimes by me and sometimes by Matt. My account (@thomasbeisner) will have other UK tidbits and goofy notes about my kids and shameless self promotion (I was on Larry Glover Live last night!). I apologize to those of you who got the duplicate Tweets today if you’re having them sent to your phone. That was a rookie mistake and Matt taped me to the goal post until I promised not to do it again. At some point down the road, that might change, but for now it will remain the same. Here is the full list of everyone on the staff:
Drew Franklin (@TheDrewFranklin)
Will Lentz (@wslentz)
Bryan the Intern (@BryanTheIntern)
Turkey Hunter (@turkeyhunterksr)
CM Tomlin (@CM_Tomlin)
Tyler Thompson (@tytythompson)
Hunter Campbell….Unknown and mysterious
– Finally, don’t forget to check out Anthony Davis tonight on ESPNU at 5pm. It will be followed by looks at UK recruits Jabari Parker (7pm on ESPN) and Winston Shepard (9pm on ESPN).
In case you missed it this morning, here’s the Thursday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio with Matt and Big EZ. They talked a lot about the UK football and basketball facility issues and got into some Christmas song debate. In one of the great oversights of all-time, they did not give Harry Connick, Jr. his fair due. Nonetheless, check it out: