Good evening, sports fans. Drew here, back at the KSR Lexington office after defying the odds and surviving 11 days on Paradise Island with only a couple of small wounds and one traumatizing blow to my bank account to show for it.
Tonight, as I sit here wishing I were in bed, I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned in the Bahamas. Matt gave us ten on the radio this morning and I’m passing mine along here on the website for those who are interested. If you would like the NSFW lessons, the stories I really want to share, track me down some time and I’ll be happy to tell you all about the adults-only pool on Saturday and the cab ride home Sunday night. Those two stories, and several others, aren’t for the kiddos.
1.) Karl Towns is the nicest human being in the world and I refuse to listen to anyone who says otherwise.
My biggest takeaway from the entire trip is being around Karl Towns and seeing what an incredible young man he is. He’s truly the nicest person I’ve ever encountered and he’s only 18 years old. At one point late in the week I asked him his favorite moment of the trip and he told me, “I really enjoyed going to the church to wash the children’s feet.” I said, “Karl, you had 19 and 10 in your second game and you’ve spent an entire week in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Don’t give me the ‘media’ answer, tell me what’s been the most fun.” He said, “Seriously, volunteering our time to make an impact on their lives meant so much and I had a blast. I gave one kid my favorite socks off my feet because he was the last one left and they ran out. I couldn’t let him be the only one to not get socks.”
Yeah, take a second to let that tug on your heart string. It is one of the many stories I could share of Karl being the perfect human being all week. He was genuinely excited to meet each and every fan and he is going to make Big Blue Nation very, very, very proud as we get to know him even more. Think of all the generous things guys like Nerlens Noel have done since leaving, and then get ready to see Karl do them on a weekly basis.
2.) If two guys you just met at the bar ask you to go out into the middle of the ocean on their boat the next day, throw a case of beer on ice, meet them at the marina, and hope they, or the sharks, don’t murder you.
Looking back, maybe it wasn’t in my best interest to go out into the middle of the ocean with two strangers on a fishing boat, but it’s one of my favorite memories of the week. My thought process was: One of the guys, Chris, had a massive beard so I knew he could be trusted. Bearded guys go by the same code you regular folk wouldn’t understand. And Ty, the captain of the vessel, was too drunk to explain the boat or how boats work at the time of the invite so I assumed he would be too hungover to tie me up and toss me in the water. So, I went. And it was awesome.
We went wayyyyy out into the water and talked about all of the terrible ways we could die out there without the world ever knowing. That was almost the case when Chris noticed a pretty severe gas leak from one of the spare cans, just as Ty fired up another Bahamian cigarette a few feet away. Now, I’m not quite ready to leave this earth, but I must admit, death by boat explosion off the coast of Paradise Island would be one hell of a way to go out. You can’t script that.
3.) If Karl Towns is the nicest 18-year-old, Tyler Ulis is the meanest.
I didn’t have many personal interactions with Tyler on the trip, but we all saw what a mean S.O.B. he is on the basketball court. His play may be the biggest story of the Big Blue Bahamas games. He is so advanced for a freshman point guard in August and he plays with the cliche ‘chip on his shoulder’ every time he is in the game. So active on both ends, amazing court vision, and a surprisingly deadly three-point shot.
If it’s been said once it’s been said a thousand times: Cal is going to have a hard time keeping Ulis off the floor next season.
4.) Slice has no idea what he signed up for.
I heard Slice telling a couple of stories about how crazy some of the Kentucky fans were in the Bahamas and how much BBN loves its basketball. I told him, “Coach, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until the Big Blue Madness campout.”
He claims to know what to expect, but I hope Kentucky Wildcats TV has a camera on him the first time he pulls into the Joe Craft Center when Tent City is up and running. That is when he will really see the passion of UK fans and he will truly see, “You people are crazy.”
In related news, Slice is still awesome.
5.) When the Cain pool at The Cove says ‘Adults Only,’ it means ‘ADULTS ONLY!!!’
That’s all I’m saying. If you ever get a chance to go, don’t you dare let that pool water get in your mouth. There isn’t enough chlorine in the world.
Very nice scenery, though.
6.) Da’Sean Butler is almost as nice as Karl Towns.
Butler was hanging out with UK fans all week, often apologizing for what he did to the 2010 team in the Elite Eight. My friend Sean, who wasn’t ready to forgive, went as far as to kick Butler in the shin (pretty hard too) when I first brought the former Mountaineer over to our table at Dragons. Butler said, “Did you just kick me in the shin?” Sean said, “Yep. And you deserved it.” That somehow led to the two of them being best buddies all week, plus an invitation for us to visit him in France next summer.
As Hubby put it, “I hate to love that guy.”
7.) Marcus Fuggins is KSR’s favorite non-UK college basketball player.
Fuggins, a center for Morehead State, drew the unfortunate honor of sitting in the middle of the KSR gang on the flight to the Bahamas, a flight that consisted of Morehead players and coaches, KSR, and no one else. Keep in mind, we had all been stuck in the airport for several hours before boarding, so it was an obnoxious ride between the very inebriated Tall, Hubby and the Turkey Hunter. (I fell asleep.) A few days later we ran into Marcus at the casino and he stopped and asked for the guy in the jumpsuit. That “guy” was Hubby and that jumpsuit was this:
Fuggins and Hubby hugged it out like they’ve been boys for life and we named him our favorite non-UK player. He’s invited to any and all KSR functions from now on.
8.) Nothing in the Bahamas is cheap.
Whatever number you have in your head, multiply it by at least three. That’s what you’ll need to go down there and really do it right. I’m thinking about live-streaming my reaction whenever I look up my balance later this week. Flener bet me I can’t keep a straight face. He predicts laughter or tears. I’m thinking it’ll be both.
9.) Coach Cal’s swagger is at an all-time high.
NOTHING will bring Calipari down from the high he is on after seeing his team play competitively in August. He warned BBN on the radio broadcast, “Don’t let anyone bring us down because they’re going to try to. DON’T DO IT.”
Before the exhaustion set in around Friday evening, Cal was bouncing around the resort, high-fiving fans and having a blast. He likes his team this year, no doubt. We might even get an “I love my team” before the year is over.
10.) Kentucky is really good at basketball.
But you don’t need me to tell you that. You have six games saved on your DVR to confirm what you already knew all summer. It’s going to be a fun year.
Go Cats and shout-out to the Donnelly family for the dinner at Chop Stix.