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UK Tennis’ Monday News and Views

uktennis

So yes, the Super Bowl ended up being relatively exciting. After a dreary first half and an unfortunate blackout, things got a bit more interesting late, highlighted by the “So God Made a Farmer” commercial and the worst non-holding call in NFL history. But while the rest of America debates those issues, I am going to tell you that the most exciting sporting event I saw on Saturday had nothing to do with a Harbaugh. The #9 ranked UK Mens’ Tennis team beat #8 Oklahoma 4-3 in a 6 hour match that was the most exciting sporting event I have been to since the Final Four. Read that sentence again and know that I am not kidding. Drew Franklin and I went to the Tennis Center at UK at 1 pm, thinking we would spend a hour or so and check in on a sport that besides Eric Quigley, we really haven’t covered much in the KSR era. Instead, we stayed glued to our seat for 6 hours for what of the most heated, intense and entertaining sporting events I have attended in quite some time. Led by the charismatic Tom Jomby (pictured above and one of the more colorful characters in UK Athletics), the Wildcats held on to beat an Oklahoma team that was full of loud, argumentative, unlikable players, leading to a Ryder Cup-like atmosphere on every court. There was trash-talking, coach-bickering and Sooner racket slamming, that made every point must-see and each match full of intrigue. With an audience that was cheering loudly for every point, the two teams split the first six points, only to have the entire match come down to Lexington native Grant Roberts’ final singles victory. As Oklahoma’s coach screamed at every call (think a college tennis Bobby Knight, but named John Roddick…the far less successful brother of Andy Roddick, he seemed to share all of his brother’s unlikeable traits (whining, unable to win), none of his good ones (Brooklyn Decker), all while wearing ill-fitting shorts. I may or may not have even screamed “Andy’s better” at him once), the UK crowd hooted, hollered and helped bring an energy to the match that couldn’t help but sweep us in. Having never attended a college tennis match, I came to this one not as a media member, but a fan, and had no idea what to expect. But Cedric Kauffmann’s team is very good (likely to be ranked in the top 5 nationally) and extremely entertaining, making what we thought would be a quick peak in, a marathon session on Super Bowl Sunday. Drew and I will definitely be attending again and if you get a chance, you should too.

To the news of the weekend after a huge basketball game and with Signing Day approaching:

BASKETBALL

mays

The best performance of Uncle Julius Mays’s UK career helped ensure a HUGE Kentucky victory on Saturday in College Station. After doing everything possible to lose, the Cats found a way to hold on and get a crucial win that could have crippled the season had it gone the other way. Uncle Julius did almost everything well, hitting four big three-pointers, including a heave towards the end of the second half that should have iced the game. He made clutch free throws and most importantly, did a fairly good job defending Elston Turner, forcing him to work, while only shooting 7-23 from the field. It was his finest hour in Lexington and a perfect example as to why John Calipari brought him from Wright State. Nerlens Noel also had another great game, going for 19 points and 14 rebounds, while playing his excellent brand of defense again and terrifying most Aggie defenders from heading to the basket. He has become this team’s most consistent force and watching him continue to develop as the season has gone is a great joy (outside of his free throw shooting, which can be a bit maddening).

For everyone else, the news wasn’t quite as positive. Ryan Harrow had one of his worst games of the year, making terrible decisions down the stretch and missing a double team late that led to the Elston Turner shot to tie the game at the end of regulation. After taking a number of steps forward, he took a big one backwards on Saturday and he must find a way to bounce back. Alex Poythress showed a few signs of aggression, but most importantly, lost a number of key rebounds down the stretch, allowing second chances to Texas A&M that kept them in the game. Archie Goodwin was unable to defend Elston Turner as hoped, forcing Mays to guard him and thus requiring UK to often have to double team and get out of position on the defensive end. Archie too often shrinks when faced with a defensive challenge, and after a good performance versus Marshall Henderson, this one was disappointing. Kyle Wiltjer had an uncharacteristically mistake-prone game, letting himself get tied up down the stretch and making baffling decisions at key moments, including an ill-timed lob to Nerlens Noel. Plus, we learned that once and for all, the “Twin Tower” lineup may need to be shelved, as the team simply can’t score on the offensive end in such scenarios.

However with all of that said, Kentucky did win the game and that is the most important thing. A second loss to a struggling Texas A&M team would have hurt UK’s resume desperately and basically given them no room to drop more SEC road games. Now UK has at least one road game to play with (I think 5 SEC losses and UK is definitely in, so even if they lose to Florida twice, they could take one loss at either Tennessee, Arkansas or Georgia and be ok) and they can hopefully continue to improve with two home games this week versus bad teams. We have likely realized that Calipari is correct and there will be no (or very few) blowouts this year. Each game will be a war, even when UK is the superior team. It is what it is, and so long as they win these close games, the Cats still give themselves a chance to make noise in a down year for college basketball nationwide.

Oh, and here is the “God Made a Farmer” ad:

FOOTBALL SIGNING DAY APPROACHES

The weekend saw three commitments for UK as Jeff Badet, JoJo Kemp and Nick Haynes all picked the Cats and helped solidify the class. Kemp is the star of the group to me, a game-changing Running Back who has the ability to get on the field right away next season and make plays. His speed is unbelievable and his confidence about his own ability and the direction of the program will be contagious. Badet told the media after his commitment that he actually had been committed for a couple of weeks but just announced it. He will also potentially get some early playing time and adds to the increasing group of athletes that Stoops has brought in. And Nick Haynes added to the offensive line depth with a commitment on Sunday over South Florida and Central Florida.

At this point, Stoops has the groundwork of what should be a great class, and likely the best in recent school history. Most of the outstanding players have made their decisions, meaning that there isn’t a ton of suspense left before Signing Day. The two biggest questions are Jason Hatcher and Ryan Timmons, two in-state kids that UK covets. A week ago both looked very good for the Cats. Many around Trinity told me that they thought UK was the leader, and that Lexington would be his destination. His mother said he recommitted to USC after a late visit, but UK still went and saw him and there are still those who believe we won’t know for sure until Signing Day. Ryan Timmons also seemed a strong UK lean, but some late rumblings have come tonight that his visit to Florida may have gone very well. Can Joker steal Timmons at the last minute? We shall see. Get one of those two, and the class will be topped off nicely. We will know by Wednesday if it happens.

Before we go, I will remind you that we kick things off in the morning with radio at 10 am and a full day of coverage here on KSR. A great moment from this weekend occurred at the Texas A&M game, where UK fans chanted for the Harrison Twins in the opposing team’s arena, something that could only happen for the Big Blue Nation. The Twins took pictures with UK fans and generally felt the love from the BBN all the way down in Texas. Below is one example of such a picture and a sneak peek at the duo that will light up the courts in Lexington next season.

Article written by Matt Jones

30 Comments for UK Tennis’ Monday News and Views



  1. Big Blue 66
    11:59 pm February 3, 2013 Permalink

    the second worst holding non call was on the Kaepernick 15 yd run, so karma on that. and MJ you are always so over the top, if a 6 hour tennis match is second on your list for exciting sporting events since the final four, Im really sorry for you.



  2. Willie's Headband
    12:07 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Uncle Julius never commits fouls!



  3. Brink
    12:16 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    1 Agreed the holding by the 49ers all night long was pretty blatent. Matt on that play there was contact and a grab by the defender, BUT there was also a grab and a push off by the offensive player. GOOD NO CALL. Even simms who was having an orgasm all evening over Kaepernick said as much.



  4. John Ellis
    12:47 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Check ESPN’s RPI, Kentucky just moved up to 29th. That should stop that ‘bubble’ talk. Nerlans is obviously one of the country great players, likely #1 pick in the draft, which is also a factor when the NCAA choses teams. I just wish he had a Kidd-G to back him up. He’s nearing Davis territory.



  5. CT
    1:12 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    I went to a couple UK tennis events in the past. I totally agree with Matt, the atmosphere was electric. Definitely worth checking out.



  6. Troy
    1:15 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Over half the teams in the top 25 lost this weekend. It’s one of those years



  7. kingrex
    2:34 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Those are some angry looking kids. WTF?



  8. EPH
    3:04 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    That dodge commercial was stolen from a video farms.com did for youtube.



  9. SeaCat
    3:09 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Matt, thanks for trying
    to make something interesting
    out of nothing…



  10. SadCat
    3:15 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    It is so sad that Nerlens
    does not have a single teammate
    that is worth a damn…
    Noel is great, but he is surrounded by bozos,
    Total bozos…



  11. SadCat
    4:31 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    And I have earned the right to call these kids “bozos,” because? because?



  12. 50 year fan
    6:45 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    When your defense is so bad that julius has to guard your man, now that is bad defense! Please someone tell me hoe archie can still be listed as a lottery pick. He is not even a top 20 player in the SEC. I’m not sure i understand how these ratings are compiled.



  13. clarabell
    6:50 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    is there a rule somewhere that says a fan (short for fanatic) must earn the right to call players names?



  14. bluebiscuit
    7:12 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Seacat and Sadcat are trying to write in haiku form. I think I’ll give it a try:

    KSR at morn,
    Black coffee and Cheerios,
    When do the Cats play?



  15. tuxedo park
    7:37 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    God made a farmer, but Dodge made a truck for a douche.



  16. SexnNursinHomes
    8:03 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    20- haha very wise uncle. I do think we can chalk this up as a rare event.



  17. ScottfromhisTractor
    8:16 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    IWHI



  18. Kevin
    8:25 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    16. Because the pro game is much different from college basketball. The court is spread more. A slasher like Goodwin has value.



  19. Liberal Goat Herder
    8:25 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    26 thinks farm animals should get a job.



  20. Elvis Is Alive
    8:25 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Tom Jomby is a world class jerk. Horrible demeanor on the tennis court. He has been defaulted by the chair umpire in multiple matches including last years NCAA team tourney.



  21. James E. White
    8:29 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    28 – Oh no you didn’t… you just dropped the “I buy more produce than you” card. Well, Sir, you have to win the debate after that brilliant come back. The name ‘Axe Cat’ shall go down in the annals of the interwebs as one cut throat sum’gum.



  22. Will
    8:29 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    The Paul Harvey speech in the ad is from the 1978 National FFA Convention. The Convention comes back to Louisville this year.



  23. MustangCat
    8:32 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    The punt proved that the fix for Ray Lewis was on! The entire offensive line for the Ravens KNEW full well they weren’t gonna be called for anything! One OL did a bearhug around the waist – from behind – for several seconds. Way outa the ordinary. They knew it didn’t matter what they did. Every OL on that punt blatantly held their man. Just grabbed them. So a man complicit to double murder could go out a winner?!?! Our world is messed up. Not to mention the hold that wasn’t called on 4th down. Wait, guess I just did mention it! Great game -till the end of it. We need a thorough update on football recruits. On those not named Timmons and Hatcher. What serious chance do we have on LSU’s reject? And Kirkland? What about those 3 big DLmen? Williams? Samples?



  24. Here we go now
    8:44 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    I miss Paul Harvey. He was a great story teller. and thats the rest of the story. good day 🙂



  25. MustangCat
    8:44 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    26- very well said. Far too many already have their hambone the government threw them, and aren’t looking past that! It’s probably best expressed by so many of our AA siblings who say racism is wrong, except for them?!?! That its ok when they do it, cause they can’t commit racism cause of what was done to their ancestors….news flash: there’s not a people group on the planet that hasn’t BOTH been enslaved AND enslaved others in their history. So that and a buck will get ya a cup of coffee! It’s called hypocrisy. Most AA siblings don’t care to know that over 3000 plantations in the ore-cival war south were owned and run by their AA ancestors! Now, about our football recruiting.



  26. Axe Cop
    9:21 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    25. I damn sure did. You’re likely one of those types listening to rants against them liberals and their war on everything that makes this country great on your way to the Wal-Mart to buy your chinese manufactured goods and south american produce. I’d like to see these types of people put their money where there mouth is and at least attempt to buy locally sourced food from AMERICANS.



  27. Wildcat in Austin
    9:42 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    I sold the harrison twins their tickets on Saturday, it was awesome.



  28. rockatao
    11:29 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    mustangcat, why wouldn’t you hold on that last-minute play for a safety … the whole Raven team should hold, let flags get thrown all over the place , but the clock runs out, the game is over and your team wins …. there was absolutely no downside



  29. Tom Blevins
    11:34 am February 4, 2013 Permalink

    15. NBA teams often draft players, sometimes even as lottery picks, that are not ready for the NBA. This is because they can see potential for the player to get better. NBA scouts are paid big bucks to make this kind of evaluation. You may remember several years ago that Tubby had an assistant by the name of George Felton. He left his job as Tubby’s assistant to become an NBA scout at a salery of $500,000.00 a year. It was a big raise for him, the NBA team that hired him gained a fine judge of talent, and Kentucky lost one of our best assistant coaches ever.



  30. kybigblue
    2:44 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    It is not a sercet that playing Noel and Cauley-Stein together creates problems on the offensive end. If one of them had some range it could work but both don’t really score outside the paint. Plus, too often they clog up the middle for our guards.