It was an exciting day around KSR land, as I was fortunate enough to MC the Kentucky Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon for the third straight year. Calipari was once again great, I gave a Rick Pitino joke or two and President Capiluoto handled my good-natured ribbing well. But the star of the show was Matthew Mitchell, who killed it once again with a great speech that led to a standing ovation at the end. Between he and Calipari, I am not sure any school in America has better speakers running their basketball programs. A couple of quick hitters on what happened while I was away:
— James Young will decide tomorrow at 5 pm and we will be shocked if it isn’t Kentucky. Drew Franklin’s favorite player in the 2013 class has all but stopped looking at other schools and Evan Daniels of Scout.com says that at this point, it looks as if Kentucky is the sole survivor. Getting Young, who is #8 in America according to Rivals.com, is yet another arrow in what will be a full quiver of talent in the 2013 class, the likes of which may never be matched again in college basketball. We will all be on here tomorrow at 5 pm to get ready and learn together, but if it is any school but Kentucky, we will all be shocked. As Tony Kornheiser said last week on his radio show, “If you were a great high school basketball player who wanted to go to the pros, why on Earth would you sign with anyone other than John Calipari?” I don’t know Mr. Tony.
— There has been slight panic across Big Blue Nation today about the ZagsBlog story concerning the eligibility of Nerlens Noel. It is a little complicated, but I will make it simple. Noel is currently academically eligible…that much is good. Now the question is one of amateurism, specifically some associations with folks he had around his high school days. The NCAA hasn’t yet made a ruling, but with practice beginning this weekend, the 45 day grace period has begun that allows Nerlens to practice while his eligibility is being decided. The only reason this is news now is because practice is starting. So don’t sweat it…it is what everyone assumed would happen. If there is a time to panic in the future, we will let you know. But now is not that time.
— I want to give a big congratulations to Wayne Martin of WKYT on his impending retirement. Martin (pictured below) has spent 25 years in television, after spending a good deal of time as a basketball coach as well (including for Morehead State). He has done a tremendous job with WKYT and has made great strides in coverage of UK basketball for the fans of the area. On a personal level, he has been great to me and KSR, becoming the first network station to allow us on the air, with the KSTV (now KSR) Minute that will continue this year. He has been a big believer in what we do here and has been a wonderful advocate for us not only on his airwaves, but elsewhere as well. Martin is a very loyal man who is also a great television mind and he has been a tremendous mentor to me at the early stages of my career. More importantly, Wayne has become a good friend and I will miss working with him tremendously. I wish him nothing but the best as he enters the next stage of his life.
Finally, if you haven’t been listening to the Walk-Ons Podcast, now is the time to start. The three of us are on episode 5 and this week get into the commitment of the Harrison Twins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, ranking the best arenas to visit in America and the proper kissing technique. Take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes if you can: