I assume most of you are in the midst of watching the Nashville Predators hockey game now (or if you aren’t you are tweeting about it), but I thought I would use this time to update a couple of notes. I have just returned from Charleston, SC, where my friend (and former law partner) Johnny Bruce was married. It was a great trip but it included a moment that I felt the need to apologize for to a random UK fan in the BBN. Moments before the beginning of Friday night’s Rehearsal Dinner, I realized that I had left the clothes I was going to wear at the WLEX studios in Lexington. Faced with nothing to wear and likely to now be late for the event, I quickly ran out of my hotel to find a sports coat and pants for the occasion. I was told a clothing store (the Dumas you see above…which is very nice but also very Charleston) was a block away and since I would have to leave from there to go to the dinner, I walked out of my hotel room wearing a dress shirt, basketball shorts and brown dress shoes with dark socks…a look that is nothing but bizarre. But assuming I would see no one I knew, I said why not and ran towards the store. I immediately bumped into a person who was a UK fan and who said “hey are you Matt Jones? I love KSR!” It was one of many BBN fans I met down there (Charleston is heavily tinted in Blue), but I must say that due to my clothing choice and the time, I ended the conversation rather abruptly. I apologize for my haste, and just say this…thanks for not snapping a picture of me. It would have been good blackmail material.
A few quick things:
— The biggest story of the weekend is the UL Audit that came out on Thursday. I will talk more about this on the radio tomorrow and maybe even write more about some details later in the week. My big picture takeaway however is this…for years, UL was run like a kingdom by a set of royal leaders who thought they could do no wrong. President Ramsey and all of his lackeys in the administration provided over an absolute swindling of the University that is as shameful as anything I have seen in education in this state. The amount of money either wasted or simply taken by the leadership at UL is astounding and as the days continue, I think you will see the serious consideration of criminal charges against some involved. The money spent on salaries (which were egregious…from the President to his secretary to Tom Jurich to random Administrators), athletics, private donors’ projects funded through the Foundation and simply waste is shameful and those who have given money to the University over the years should be livid (and many are). There are specifics that deal with the sports side that we will deal with, but one thing is obviously clear. When I named UL the University of Scandal, I thought it was only about serious, but ultimately unimportant things like basketball strippers, Bobby Petrino shenanigans, etc. But over it all was a regime that basically swindled millions of dollars from a public University, while hiding it from view of anyone, including the Board of the University. The failure to monitor that occurred, for a variety of reasons ranging from money to friendship to athletic success to “don’t rock the boat” syndrome, from the Administration, the media, fans and the state is a black eye on a lot of people and should be a lesson for everyone that ever argues people need to “shut up” and simply do whatever leadership of an institution, government or athletic program says with no questions asked.
— The UK Basketball team is on campus and playing pickup games with each other. I have heard no reports of how guys look or that type of summer gossip but one thing is clear…the team has good chemistry and is going to get a lot of summer training together. Arguably the three best players on the team at this point, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and PJ Washington, could end up on Team USA with Calipari, while the Quade-Alexander-Baker backcourt will get reps together here as well. Nick Richards will be working out with Wenyen and Sasha and the hope is Jarred Vanderbilt will as well as the summer continues. It won’t be a perfect summer of play, like with the 2015 team, but this will be as much Preseason work as UK has gotten since and I expect that to pay huge dividends.
— It is a broken record now to say, but the 2018 recruiting class for UK is going to be beastly. I think UK leads with two superstars (Bol Bol and Zion Williamson) and is end the top 2 with at least one other (Romeo Langford). Throw in the fact that Calipari usually only zones in on guys in July and this should be a very eventful month or so…UK is going to load up and since some of these guys may end up back next year…it has the feel of a super team in 2018-2019.
— The HEY KENTUCKY CASTING CALL is this weekend at Fayette Mall. We have had a lot about it on the site and the video below can explain more about the details. We did this a few years ago and it was a great event…think American Idol, but to be on TV as a sports or news commentator/reporter. It is a great chance to break into the business and will be a set of summer TV shows we do on Hey Kentucky. The first round is Saturday from 10-noon at Fayette Mall and folks will be invited back to come in the afternoon and do an on-camera tryout that will be used on the show. I hope you will come…it is a real chance to do something cool in sports, entertainment or news (we are looking for different types of people) and the winners are guaranteed spots on the show. Plus everyone that comes has a chance to win a fairly huge prize (which we will announce this week). Come take your shot…it could change your life.
— I am hearing from folks at UL that the Cards expect a decision from the NCAA This week. We shall see…I expect Pitino to get hammered and the NCAA to find a way to let them keep the banner. Either way, we will know soon
We head off to Prestonsburg in the morning…right outside of Eric C Conn territory as he runs from the FBI. Maybe he will show up…add that and the UL audit talk. It will be a definite must-listen. We are at Sleep Outfitters in London on Tuesday, Russell Springs Wednesday, Somerset on Thursday and Lexington Friday. Giving UK Basketball tickets away each stop. Come join the fun. Until then….
UPDATE: I meant to write this earlier and I forgot. For reasons that I am not entirely sure of (mostly because Lee Cruse suggested it), I have found myself watching The Grand Tour on Amazon, which is the spinoff of the Top Gear show from the BBC. I don’t know why I like it or even why I watch it, but I do find it oddly mesmerizing. Anyway, Richard Hammond from the show had a terrible wreck this weekend during filming in Switzerland and there is now video of it. He is apparently ok, but it is amazing he walked away basically unscathed. The show is ridiculous but I do recommend it if you either like cars (which I don’t really) or like good television (which it is not)…forget it, there is no reason to watch it…but it is admittedly sort of entertaining