Tomorrow is SEC Basketball Media Day and I’ll be making the trek to Birmingham on KSR’s behalf. Aaron Torres will have a big SEC preview for you in the morning, but here are some things I’ll be looking for during a long day at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook.
How much will the media grill Will Wade and Bruce Pearl on the NCAA scandal?
Auburn and LSU are among the schools being investigated by the NCAA for their roles in the college hoops bribery scandal, and somehow Will Wade still has a job after being caught on wiretap talking about an offer for a recruit. Both Wade and Bruce Pearl have remained tight-lipped on the topic, but it’s bound to come up again with a room full of reporters looking for a story. Yahoo Sports listed South Carolina as another school expecting significant penalties, and I can’t wait for someone to ask Frank Martin about it so we can see this face:
Plenty of talk about the Fair Pay to Play Law
One of the biggest talking points of the day will be California’s Fair Pay to Play Law, which will allow student-athletes in the state to profit off their name, image, and likeness beginning in 2023. Some coaches (Bruce Pearl) have spoken out in support of the law, while others (John Calipari, Rick Barnes) have praised the concept but expressed concerns about the execution. Will Calipari dance around the topic as much as he did on the radio last week? Probably, but it’ll be fun to watch other reporters try to follow his logic.
Kerry Blackshear will be asked about Kentucky
As I’m sure you remember, the Virginia Tech grad transfer picked the Gators over the Cats in June, and today, was named SEC Preseason Player of the Year. Blackshear has talked about his decision to go to Florida instead of Kentucky before, but you better believe the Kentucky reporters will be circling when he enters the room.
Ashton Hagans will be asked about Auburn
Hagans and EJ Montgomery will represent Kentucky tomorrow along with John Calipari. At UK’s Media Day a few weeks back, Hagans admitted that he took Auburn too lightly in the Elite Eight loss, one of his worst games of the season. Auburn lost a lot of players from that squad, but I have a feeling the game will still come up, if only as a launching pad for Hagans to talk about an offseason of hard work.
Time to meet the new guys
There are FOUR new coaches in the SEC this year: Buzz Williams at Texas A&M, Jerry Stackhouse at Vanderbilt, Nate Oats at Alabama, and Eric Musselman at Arkansas. Personally, I’ll miss Avery Johnson’s sartorial splendor, but it’ll be fun to meet the new guys and hear their thoughts on Calipari and Kentucky. I’m sure there will be some kissing of the ring, but here’s hoping Buzz Williams throws in some trash talk for good measure.