It’s a new year around these parts (and presumably your parts as well) which means another attempt by me to write more on KSR. I go through this goal every few months for one simple reason…I still love writing and think it is the best way to communicate thoughts to the widest audience. But unfortunately the worlds of radio, tv, politics and pro wrestling have taken the majority of my time and sitting down to write a post (the best of which take an hour or so) becomes harder and harder to do. Nevertheless, we are nothing without goals to better ourselves, and thus I begin 2018 with yet another attempt at making my writing voice heard more often. So with that, some notes:
Kentucky Mojo Back
The last three months of 2017 were some of the most perplexing to me as a UK fan/media member in the 12-plus years we have been doing this. There was a definite sense of malaise around the fan base and less interest in the games that at any time I could remember. The reason for this was debated often on our shows, but regardless of the cause, there was no doubt in my mind that fans seemed less caring of UK Basketball (and even the final couple of football games) that at any point I could remember. However, I believe last Friday reversed the UK fandom course. The annihilation of Louisville, followed by a positive performance in the screwjob versus Northwestern, seems to have fans back on board and ready for SEC play. The last two Rupp Arena crowds (UL and Georgia) have been the two most energetic of the year and the emergence of happy Shai Alexander seems to have given the fans a personality to attach to for the 2nd half of the season. 4 of the next 5 basketball games are on the road, but the one in Rupp (next Tuesday versus Texas A&M) may be the biggest of the year. If the Cats are going to get that crucial victory, having an amped Rupp will be key to the ultimate success.
The biggest story in the UK internet world today is the seeming growing pessimism about UK’s chances with star recruit Zion Williamson. Two writers now have Clemson as the leader and both expressed this weekend that Kentucky has fallen behind the football school in pursuit of the Youtube sensation. The success of Trae Young at Oklahoma has undoubtedly had an effect on the idea that if you want to be a One and Done national star, you must go to Duke/UK or you will get very little publicity (I expect Trae to be the face of College Basketball in the next 2 months). Still he is the exception, rather than the rule and his place as a PG (and thus a ball handler) allows him to be able to succeed in a way that someone like Zion (who needs teammates to get him the rock and help establish driving lanes by outside shooting) may not. The folks in Lexington still feel good about Zion and until that changes, I will still feel good as well. Over the years we have seen recruits (Randle, Murray, Knox) that UK folks have felt good about consistently, even as the winds of the national media have changed. While sometimes those feelings in Lexington can be wrong (Shabazz…more confidence on Barrett than others), they are right more often than the general media perception is correct. Until I sense pessimism from Lexington, I will hold in my view that I like where the Cats stand with Zion.
This kid is my fan of the week and maybe the month of December. To not only wear the costume in the Erruption Zone, but also have the presence of mind to put his finger to his ear when the camera went by…well that my friends is the stuff legends are made of. Well done young man
4 UK Defensive Players Future
We debated today on radio about the 4 UK Defensive players who have decisions to make concerning whether they will return to UK next year. Jordan Jones, Denzil Ware, Mike Edwards and Josh Allen all could potentially return for a Senior year or all could enter the Draft. Each has different choices to make and some have external factors that will have an impact on their decision. Honestly it wouldn’t shock me if all four left or all four returned, but here is my best guess as to today:
Edwards: GONE His draft projections are positive and he has expressed interest in getting to the league. His choice to return would be the only any of these guys could make that would be a surprise
Allen: RETURN: He is a sleeper choice for the league and some in the NFL love the kid. But he also really likes being at UK and has expressed to at least one person the love of the idea of being a team leader next year. I will go with a hunch and say return, but either decision would make sense.
Jones: GONE: Might be less his solo decision than a mutual parting of ways. He is a Junior who is still not allowed to do media interviews because of what he might say. At some point that becomes unacceptable and the penalties on the field too much for the risk…plus he wasn’t great this season. My guess is he has played his last UK game.
Ware: RETURN: While it hasn’t been confirmed, I have heard what led to the suspension for the Bowl game and I don’t think that would be enough to make him no longer play at UK. He has recently had a daughter, which could clearly have an impact, but I don’t think his Draft status is such that leaving is an obvious choice.
NETFLIX recommendation: “Shot in the Dark”
I had my annual Movie Day on Saturday in Newport and saw five movies, none of which were spectacular. Of the five, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” would be my highest recommendation, as the combination of the interesting story and great acting performances trump the somewhat overly dramatic, heavy-handed parts of the script. I also took by first foray into “Get Out” on Monday and was a fan. The social satire was interesting and the supernatural stuff just close enough to reality (meaning no vampires) that I could dig it. Definitely worth a watch and it joins “Dunkirk”, “Big Sick”, “Wind River” and “Logan Lucky” as my favorite movies I have seen so far this year.
With all of that said, maybe the most engaging thing I have watched in the last few weeks is the Netflix documentary, “Shot in the Dark.” The eight episodes follow three tv cameramen as they go chasing crime at night in LA. The series focuses on their various attempts to be at the scenes as crimes/fires/turmoil happen, along with some of the moral implications of being a benign bystander versus actually injecting oneself into the situation. It is exciting, fast-paced and the people they follow are interesting (and occasionally annoying). I can’t imagine you wouldn’t at least be entertained.
Time to tape a Television show…until next time, my five least favorite types of people thus far in 2018:
1. People who ask me if I have a New Year’s Resolution
2. People who say I look like Dave Fleming
3. Louisville media members who forget they said David Padgett was a better coach than Calipari
4. Referees who chase after Texas Basketball Coaches
5. Ted Cruz (except when he sends the occasional witty tweet that makes me laugh even though I hate myself afterwards)