They sold this picture on shirts…I forgot to get one and I need one
I miss writing as much as I used to. Radio is the purest form of media in my mind, because the immediacy and live nature leads to the most genuine and real interaction one can get from hosts and public figures. But I do miss the days when I would sit down every evening around 9 pm and blast out a post about UK news and whatever other random things were on my mind. One of my favorite parts of what we used to call “the Night Post” was the introductory paragraph, which usually featured something in the state or pop culture that I wanted to highlight and give publicity. I thought of that Thursday night when I saw Tyler Childers perform at The Burl in Lexington. If you listen to the radio show, you know I have become a big fan of Tyler and I ended up seeing him twice this weekend in Lexington. However on Thursday, his opening act was a man from the mountains called The Laid Back Country Picker. His music was terrific, his band better (including his wife playing in curlers and a bath robe) but the highlight of the entire proceeding was my introduction to his hit, “Magoffin County Cadillac.” As he explained it from stage, when police departments turn in their old Crown Victoria patrol cars, they often end up getting sold at an auction in Magoffin County. Local folks often buy them and thus we get the “Magoffin County Cadillac.” You owe it to yourself to watch the video, hear the song (which will get stuck in your head) and learn more about the Laid Back Country Picker. He actually taught Tyler in high school and now as Childers blows up, he had the opportunity to be his opening act and play his hit “Whitehouse Road” with him on stage. It was a cool scene, a better story and sharing it is part of the reason I miss writing as much as I did in the old days.
Now to some nuggets of news:
— The biggest news of the weekend is in the basketball recruiting world where after the visits of the weekend, the UK recruiting class is starting to take shape. We know Immanuel Quickley is on board but after the visit this weekend, I feel very good about three other UK recruits and their likelihood of signing with Kentucky. Zion Williamson and Bol Bol both made their visit and from talking to a couple of sources after, I would put Kentucky now as leading with both. This has probably been the case with Zion for a bit, but with the issues at Arizona and the reconnection with Calipari and his staff, I now think Bol is likely to be a part of the final class as well. In addition, I can confirm the speculation online today that Keldon Johnson has become a definitive UK lean and could end up as a commitment in the very near future. The 6’6″ wing is the sleeper of the class in my view and I think he ends up as final Top 10 recruit by the end of the year.
In my view, Kentucky is going to take 5 kids in this class. If that is the case, I am predicting the UK class as of this moment as Quickley, Williamson, Bol, Johnson and Quentin Grimes. That would give UK a starting lineup just with these five and combined with whoever returns, a potential monster 2018-2019 team. This group doesn’t include RJ Barrett, who I think the staff is still recruiting but has lost some confidence on in the past week. The increased likelihood of getting Johnson and the emergence of Bol Bol as a real option, I think makes Barrett (who in my view is still the best player in the class) less of a necessity, as good as he is. The Cats would of course still take him and will still recruit him…but I am moving him out of my predicted class and inserting Bol/Johnson. As always, things can change, but I like where UK is right now quite a bit…potentially 4 Top 10 guys and one Top 20…not too shabby.
— The story of the early practice buzz I am hearing is the tremendous defensive play consistently and the way it is affecting what the ultimate style of play will be. Defense wins every practice at this point, and that is something Calipari really likes. One person close to the program said to me, “we don’t know right know whether our offense is really struggling or our defense is just that good…but it sure has been good.” The issue for Kentucky (no surprise) will be shooting, but they like their ability to get in passing lanes and I think you will see this team have a TON of pressure…even if its not a full-court press. This group will not sit back and they feel good about having rim protectors to help fix any errors on the perimeter. I am told coaches feel the loss of Vanderbilt early matters more than most media have suggested, but long term this is a group they believe plays well in March.
— As you may have heard we will be having Karen Sypher as a guest on KSR Radio on Tuesday morning. This is someone we have wanted to have for some time and this will be her first interviewing since serving out her 7 year federal prison sentence. Sypher has never really gotten a chance to tell her story since the trial and she didn’t testify there as to the events that occurred. As with the Katina Powell interview, we will provide her a forum to talk, but will also challenge her on the events and what happened. Some have said this is “old news” and “why would you have her on”, but I respectfully disagree. There is much to this story that still hasn’t been told and the events that began that night at Porcini’s were the start to the downfall of a coaching legend. It will certainly be quite a morning to listen on Tuesday.
— Finally, A housekeeping note….we will be starting in 2018 a part of KSR called “KSR Voices”….it will basically be a section of KSR that will allow people in the state of all different walks of life to write about issues that are important to Kentucky. They will range from culture to economics to politics to the arts. The goal is to bring in diverse people from all backgrounds and belief systems, including those that we may not agree with so that voices are given a platform that can be seen by many. My reason for this is simple…there is a lot to be proud of in Kentucky and a lot of great minds and leaders out there that need a spotlight and a forum. I have a forum and I want to use it to better this state. As with everything on the site, feel free to ignore what you aren’t interested in…but as with my Matt Jones Podcast with Ricky Jones (which you can listen to here), you might find you like things you didn’t original think you would.
One of these topics will also be religion and along those lines, a pastor friend of mine Robert Cunningham from the Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington will have his first post on here tomorrow evening. He wrote today about why he decided to accept my invitation to write and you can see his thoughtful comments here. If you have people you believe would be good to consider for this long-term project, feel free to email me at [email protected]
CONGRATS TO UK VOLLEYBALL ON BEATING #1 FLORIDA!!!! The win was on the road and is huge for the program. This may be the best UK Volleyball team ever, so go out and check them out. Until tomorrow….