Basketball season officially began on Friday, but tonight is when everything gets real. The Cats will take on the Spartans at 7:00 in college basketball’s premiere early season showcase. The 7:00 tipoff at Madison Square Garden will wrap up ESPN’s 24-hour College Basketball Marathon.
1. The Cats are 7.5-Point Favorites
The line opened at four but almost doubled in 12 hours. Not sure what Vegas knows but I do know plenty of Kentucky fans will be there. If you’re in NYC, meet up three blocks away from MSG at Jack Demsey’s at 4:00.
You’ll probably Hopefully you’ll see Drew Franklin. After wearing Jared’s old Giants’ jersey to the Meadowlands for Monday Night Football, I can only hope he made it out alive.
2. Pick Up “Success is the Only Option”
Coach Cal’s latest book hit the shelves today. It sounds like Trae Young has already put in his Amazon Prime order.
"Success is the only option" ðŸ’¯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) November 14, 2016
3. Cal’s 2017 Class Adds Another One
Trae Young remains a top priority for John Calipari, but he is going to need more than one guard to fill the 2017 class. Yesterday morning combo guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander committed to Kentucky just a month after removing his pledge to Florida. The addition of the Canadian-sensation moved UK’s class up to No. 5 in the 247 Composite Rankings.
4. Cal Could Add Another One
Gilgeous-Alexander might not be the last guard to choose the Cats in the fall signing period. Yesterday Lonnie Walker canceled his visit to Syracuse. Many believe it’s a two-horse race between UK and the Cuse. Walker’s latest move has us all thinking Blue. Even though he was tired on his visit, strep throat can’t keep him away from UK.
5. An Olympic Recruit
Coach Cal picks up elite recruits all the time, but Edrick Floreal just one-upped him. When Sydney McLaughlin ran in the hurdles in Rio, she became the youngest U.S. Olympic athlete to compete since 1972. She did not hit the medal stand, but she did become an Olympic celebrity. Now, she’s coming to Kentucky.
It might not make sense to some, but Sydney’s a hurdling specialist. Kendra Harrison just broke the 100-meter hurdle record and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn became the first freshman to ever win the 100-meter hurdles National Championship last year. McLaughlin hopes to be Floreal’s next success story.
The track events will become a site to see, but I’m more curious what will happen on campus. It’s one thing to see students flock to Anthony Davis; will she have a similar celebrity status or will people even recognize her?
6. The Best Mannequin Challenge Yet
I’m sure some of you are already sick of it, but this one will change your mind.
7. A Football Injury Update
Mark Stoops said yesterday that Jordan Jones and Jeff Badet could potentially play this weekend vs. Austin Peay, but I hope they don’t. If there was ever a time for your best tackler and wide receiver to take a week off, it’s against Austin Peay.
Stoops also shared some unfortunate news. Wide receiver Alex Montgomery is hanging up the cleats for good following another significant ligament tear in his knee. He will be included in Saturday’s Senior Day ceremonies, but Stoops is offering him the opportunity to be a student assistant next year.
Right before tonight’s tip-off, we’ll hear from Eddie Gran and the offense. Stay tuned (or not, I wouldn’t blame you).
8. Javess Blue Involved in a BB Gun Accident
LEX-18 reports that former Kentucky wide receiver Javess Blue was dropped off at a Lake Wales, Florida hospital with an apparent gunshot wound. Upon further examination, x-rays revealed Blue had a projectile behind his eye. That projectile was a BB that entered through his ear canal. It’s a strange story, but luckily Blue will walk away just fine.
9. A Magic Moment
Have you ever been able to interview your sports idol? Probably not, but that’s exactly what Thomas Beisner got to do last night at Madison Square Garden. Props to T.J. for not geeking too hard during his interview with Dirk.
– KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) November 15, 2016
10. Two Deserved Shout Outs
The first shout out goes to my former fraternity house roommate Lucas and his wife Katie. This weekend they had quints. Five babies. Five. If you thought the gift of life was miracle, multiply it by five and that’s what they accomplished this weekend. All five and their mother are happy and healthy and we wish them the best.
The second shout out is a belated Happy 80th Birthday to Kentucky Football Superfan Donnie Ray. If you’ve ever been to an away game, you’ve probably met Donnie Ray. His group never, ever misses a game. They planned on throwing him a birthday party in Rocky Top after a win, but unfortunately his health prevented him from making the trip (now I know why we lost). Donnie’s one tough dude and I’m confident we will see him where ever the Cats go bowling.