As days continue to overlap and time remains a blur, we have reached yet another Friday and weekend, pushing us one day closer to sports.
While the likes of golf, UFC, NASCAR, horse racing, and some basketball – thank you, TBT – have returned on various levels over the last few months, we are quickly approaching the return of two major professional sports.
Six days from today, the MLB will make its anticipated return to action, with two games scheduled for Thursday, July 23 between the Yankees and Nationals, along with the Giants and Dodgers. Just a day later, the rest of the MLB will return, including the Cincinnati Reds at 6:10 p.m. against the Detroit Tigers.
Exactly one week after Opening Day for the MLB, the NBA will restart its operations down in Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where 22 teams will compete in an isolated bubble for several months in an attempt to declare a champion.
While there is no official word on the return of Kentucky football and basketball, nor the NFL – the latter is moving forward as though the league will start on time – your thirst for major professional sports is scheduled to be quenched in one week when baseball returns.
We’ll be counting down the days with you right here on KSR.
NCAA gives not-so-positive update on fall sports
In the process of issuing the NCAA’s next set of return-to-sport guidelines, the organization’s leader gave a pessimistic outlook on fall sports.
While informing schools what they needed to do to protect student-athletes and prevent community spread of COVID-19 in the immediate future, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the current data is pointing in the wrong direction for those hoping to see fall sports.
“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” said Emmert. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”
While the NCAA’s outlook is less than positive right now, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear provided a glimmer of hope regarding fall sports in a surprise call to KSR.
In the update, Beshear said he believes that if everyone wears a mask and takes social distancing seriously moving forward, sports — including a limited number of fans in the stands — are possible this fall.
“I truly believe there is a real possibility and that possibility depends on all of us doing our part,” Beshear told KSR. “If we all woke up tomorrow and said, for the next month we’re staying six feet away from everybody but the people in our family, we are going to wear a mask everywhere we go, we’re going to wash our hands like we need to, we’re going to be as good as we can about doing the things we know can beat the virus, then yes, I think we could be in a position to not only start those sports but to have at least some folks there in the stands to watch. It is certainly possible.”
Isaiah Jackson to arrive on campus this weekend
Earlier this week, John Calipari told the media that all players on the 2020-21 roster had arrived on campus and are beginning offseason workouts and training.
While 11 players – Dontaie Allen, Jacob Toppin, Olivier Sarr, Keion Brooks Jr., Terrence Clarke, Cam’Ron Fletcher, Devin Askew, BJ Boston, Lance Ware, Zan Payne, and Davion Mintz – are all in Lexington preparing for the season, KSR has confirmed that one key piece has not yet arrived.
Thursday afternoon, KSR learned that five-star forward Isaiah Jackson is still back home in Michigan, despite originally planning to arrive several weeks back.
Back on July 1, Jackson’s high school coach, David McGlown, told KSR that the Pontiac, MI native was expected to be in Lexington the weekend of July 4.
“He will be down this weekend coming up [on July 4],” Jackson’s former coach told KSR at the time.
While it’s unclear why Jackson’s arrival was delayed, sources tell KSR that the 6-foot-10 forward is now expected to make his way to Lexington this coming weekend, with Saturday being the target move-in date.
Eric Bledsoe tests positive for COVID-19
The No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks will have to manage down in Orlando without their starting point guard, at least for now.
Thursday evening, former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe confirmed with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to rejoin his teammates at a later date.
According to Haynes’ report, Bledsoe – who is currently averaging 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per contest – has not felt any symptoms and is planning to make his way to Orlando as soon as he’s cleared to participate.
Tim Couch looks like he could suit up today
Former Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel has started his own series on his YouTube page called OFF SZN, a show dedicated to interviewing both current and former college and professional figures in football while hunting and fishing. According to Daniel, the goal is to show fans who these prominent names are as people rather than just athletes.
After interviewing current UK linebacker Jamin Davis for episode one, Daniel decided to catch up with Kentucky football legend Tim Couch for the second installment.
While the latest video is not yet uploaded – we’ll post that on the site when it is – Daniel did share a picture alongside the former No. 1 overall draft pick, where it appears Couch could suit up and play today.
KSR in an hour
Things will be a bit different this morning on Kentucky Sports Radio, as I will be joining Ryan Lemond and Drew Franklin in the first hour, followed by former Tennessee star Chris Lofton joining in the second.
Get ready for a basketball-filled show this morning.