An odd day around the SEC, even if relatively quiet around these parts. Some notes:
— The big story today is that Bobby Johnson retired from coaching football, just two weeks before camp was to open at Vanderbilt. The timing is bizarre, as it puts Vanderbilt in a real bind to attempt to get things in order for the upcoming season. Johnson says that his only reason for retiring is that he is ready to end the grind, but one would think that would have been the case months ago, when the ‘Dores could have found a coach for the season. Now they are left with an interim coach and are scrambling. Still, Johnson should be given a lot of credit for making Vanderbilt competitive in the SEC, which is not an easy task at all. While he only had 12 wins and 52 losses in SEC play, 26 of those losses were by 7 points or less. Vandy was a difficult out during Johnson’s reign and this loss will hurt the program.
— Speaking of programs being hurt, UT football continues to take hits from the Bar Knoxville fight that took place last weekend. This story on ESPN.com goes into detail on the fight and shows the results that happen when 7 football players go after one guy and beat him down. At this point, one player has been kicked off the team and two suspended for the incident, but more problems are likely to come. The UT player that was said to have started the fight claims that the other guy threw the first punch and I guess that could be true. But even if true, 7 guys beating him down and then coming back with their shirts off ready for more, suggests that things wont be good for the players. Either way, it just keeps happening at UT, where fights off the field trump the performance on it.
— Qunicy Miller tweeted to the world his list of schools that he is interested in. Kentucky, Baylor, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Louisville, Texas and Oklahoma State (or Ohio State…he only said OSU) all make the cut. I will publish my Miller interview likely in the morning, but he generally followed the same list that he tweeted out today.
— Brandon Knight will be at the ESPYs tonight, accepting his Gatorade National Player of the Year award for high school athletics. In the past, the award was given earlier in the day but then recognized on the actual show, but we shall see what happens tonight. As Drew wrote earlier, John Wall will not make the trip, instead deciding to stay in Las Vegas and play a scrimmage with his Washington Wizards Summer League teammates.
— The former UK players are hitting the court tonight in their Summer League action. Patrick Patterson plays at 4 pm, Eric Bledsoe at 8 pm and Demarcus Cousins finishes the night at 10 pm. You may notice the bandage on Cousins’s lip, as he got it split open in a practice right before the Summer League began.
— Finally, as TCP reported earlier today Austin Rivers is considering a visit during Midnight Madness, which would be a real coup for Calipari. Kentucky is still a longshot on his recruitment and I would be surprised to see him anywhere but Duke. However if there is some way Calipari gets him, the 2011 class will be legendary and likely never matched in recruiting. Dont discount Calipari, but it is an uphill battle for the Cats.
More later today and tonight…..