Sit down, kids. I want to tell you a story. It’s a tale of peace, love, music and hippie boobies. Before there was Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza or any of those weird Dave Matthews campouts, there was Woodstock. Forty-two years ago today, over a half-million people descended on a farm on a New York dairy farm for a three-day festival that became one of the most seminal moments in music history. Thirty-two muscial acts took the stage over the course of the three days and rain and a severe underestimation of the crowd size created the always awkward “are we rolling in mud or doodoo?” moments for those in the crowd. Fortunately, few were sober enough to even care and the intended spirit of peace, love, music and boobies persevered. Woodstock festivals sprang up in 1979, 1989, 1994 and 1999, but none captured the pure carefree chaos of the initial gathering. Or so I’m told. I’m too young to have been around for it and any of you that were there probably don’t remember it either. So let’s just stick to that story.
Smother yourself in patchouli. Here are a few UK notes…
– It is finally upon us. The much talked about exhibitions between the former Kentucky players and the Dominican National team will look to start with a bang tonight in a sold-out Rupp Arena. John Calipari announced over the weekend that fans had voted the Legends’ starting five to be Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Jodie Meeks, Tayshaun Prince and a fresh off his birthday DeMarcus Cousins. The even bigger announcement came Sunday though when it was announced that Monday’s game would be telecast on WKYT beginning with a pregame special at 7pm. For those of you with DirectTV, you should switch to Insight. However, in the meantime, you can get the game on channel 434, which may or may not require the Spanish sports package. There are still no television details for the Louisville game and none seem to be in the works. But the good news is you can still buy tickets for that. And Josh Harrellson will take your keys if you have too much to drink.
– If you’re at the game, watching at home or sitting lonely pondering life’s meaning, don’t forget to check out the KSR Live Blog of the game. Matt will look to shake off the dust and provide some play-by-play and I’ll pretend I know what is going on or maybe just give you play-by-play of the Rays game. Are they playing Monday night?
– For all of the excitement and discussion these two exhibitions have created around Kentucky and within the UK and U of L fan bases, it still hasn’t drummed up too much national attention. Looking at it as simply an exhibition, I guess I can understand why that is. But considering this is taking place during an NBA lockout and features players who are in the prime of their career or on the cusp of being superstars (knock on wood), I’m still not sure why there hasn’t been more national press dedicated to covering it from any of the unique angles it supplies. Maybe there will be more coverage when the two games conclude, but as of now, I’m a little perplexed as to why people don’t seem to be covering it more.
– The buzz at the end of last week was the defection of Texas A&M to the SEC, which reached its nadir with a Rivals site reporting that it was a “done deal”. Those are the most jinxed words in internet reporting and that phrase again proved itself to be vexing in this instance as reports now say that it’s not happening, though there is still a possibility in the future. With expansion now off the table for the short term, you have to ask yourself why the SEC is even considering expanding. The general premise behind adding more teams is to create a larger television market and open yourself up to greater possible merchandising revenues and television deals. But is that something that the SEC really needs? They’re already locked into a sweet deal with ESPN and have a “network”, though it’s essentially just local programming. Is there really all that much value in expanding? That’s what they’ll sort out over the course of the next year or so, I presume, but they seem to be sitting in a pretty good spot already. I think they’ll have to add some serious programs (like Oklahoma and/or A&M) to seriously consider it. Otherwise, I’m not sure schools like Missouri or NC State really bring all that much value.
– Along that same line, there was an interesting report from Clay Travis’ new site about how ESPN actually played a part in the SEC deciding not to expand for now. According to Travis, the SEC is afraid of entering into a situation where they could be involved in a lawsuit Big 12 and ESPN because of the way each conference’s television deal is structured. The report says that if the Big 12 drops below ten teams, which would happen with Texas A&M’s exodus, ESPN could void their deal. Additionally, if the SEC were to add a team, ESPN would have to pay them more money for the rights to televise the games. Even with all of the money budgeted for Mark Gottfried’s spray tans already available with him now at NC State, there apparently is some major concern on ESPN’s part. You can read the whole twisted tale here.
– It’s August 15 and there are still not commitments for the class of 2012 and no word on Kaleb Tarczewski’s decision (what happened to the “it will happen by the 15” thing?). However, a few of UK’s 2012 and 2013 big guy targets made some news of varying importances over the weekend:
Chris Walker: The 2013 five-star power forward, who has been viewed for quite awhile as a guy who favored Kentucky, told Adam Zagoria that Ohio State is currently his favorite and that he’d visit them soon. Walker said the Cats are still in consideration, along with Louisville and Florida, and that he missed a call from Coach Cal two days ago because he didn’t have service. Walker, you might remember, also missed Coach Cal’s call a several weeks ago because he was sleeping and said last week that he was waiting on UK to make an offer to him. Stupid cell phones.
Alex Poythress: On a more positive note, five-star 2012 power forward Alex Poythress was on campus this week and said the trip was his favorite unoffical so far. He still plans on making his five official visits and Kentucky will likely be included among those. Adding another layer to the story is Poythress’ sister, who attended the visit with him to meet with UK’s volleyball coaches, who are recruiting her as well. It’s a new twist on a package deal, but could work in UK’s favor in the end.
Mitch McGary: The five-star power forward, who included Kentucky on his trimmed list of six teams he’s considering last week, will visit Florida today for an unofficial visit. McGary is considering the Gators and Cats, along with Duke, Michigan, Maryland and North Carolina. No word on how much wearing flip-flops to class will play into his final decision.
– Finally, as if the world of college sports didn’t already have enough scandal lumped into it, Yahoo! Sports is rumored to be close to releasing a story that will drop the hammer on the University of Miami football team. The story is said to be essentially a come-clean account of former booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro and his dealings with the football team over the past decade. Oscar Combs Tweeted late Sunday that the story could “hit very close to a certain Division I program located within 100 miles of Lexington”. That program has a very prominent former Hurricane recruiting coordinator in charge of their recruiting who has been said to be very close with Shapiro. Kaboom?
That’s it for now. Make sure you stick around all day for all the pre-Domincan excitement you can handle. Matt will be by to get the party going at 10am with Kentucky Sports Radio on Talk Radio 1080. The fiesta will last the whole day long after. In the meantime, just know that this guy’s crew beefs with the cheer captain and hangs in the bleachers…
See you in a few…