We are in a bit of a down time around the UK sports arena this week as everyone who is anyone has decided to take a vacation (Drew and I havent, which shows our place in the world). John Calipari has had surgery and because the big man is recovering, the rest of the folks around UK land have used the opportunity to get away. So the grand result is that very little of importance is going on in the land of the Cats. Here at KSR however that means one thing…we go back to our roots and look for absurdity in the world of UK sports or Kentucky life in general. When there is little in the way of UK news, we have to fill the site with something, and it is the absurdity of years past that made KSR what it is (there is nothing funnier than seeing people tell us what “KSR is about” when they couldn’t be further from the truth…remember the Turkey Hunter once ranked Andy Griffith girlfriends on here…and notice the kinder, gentler comment section). The equal and opposite reaction to that is of course the KSR comment section where people with little in their lives except debt and the desire to complain come on and tell Drew Franklin or me, “THIS DOESNT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH UK SPORTS”….”STOP WRITING SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT PLEASE ME”….”I AM NOT COMING TO THIS SITE AGAIN FOR MY UK NEWS BECAUSE THIS POST DOES NOT MEET MY STANDARDS”…”THIS IS NOT WHAT KSR IS ABOUT…YOU ARE JUMPING THE SHARK!!!!”…all of which is very sweet and misses the entire point. We thank those folks for their kind words and especially the 36 visits today by the one who said, “he was never coming back” (we have your IP address)…
And with that, a couple of thoughts:
— It was great to see the many Kentucky players who were part of the Derby experience this year in Louisville. The best story of course was Nerlens Noel returning to go to the Derby again with Kelly Melton, who looks great and seems to be doing so much better. Noel spent the entire weekend meeting UK fans and I am not sure I have ever seen a player who is asked more often for a picture…and he graciously says yes every time. Julius Randle, Doron Lamb, James Young, Jarrod Polson, Jon Hood, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson and others also were around the Derby festivities, giving the city a very Blue feel throughout the weekend. I have said many times that one of the best things about John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky is that he has brought in players who are also great kids in addition to being basketball talents. It makes the criticism of his program that much more bogus, but helps make UK fans proud of the guys who wear Blue.
— Julius Randle looked sharp this weekend and his girlfriend has become so popular that I even saw her taking pictures with fans:
— The next step for UK basketball is to start to figure out just who will be the focus for Kentucky basketball recruiting in 2015. The 2015 class is hugely important for the Cats, as it could be the first to have a two-year rule for Kentucky and Calipari. It is thus his first group of elite guys that he could KNOW will return and if the NBA goes in that direction, these recruits become uber-important. Throw in the uncertainty he now faces with ten guys on the team who could have NBA futures and no real way of knowing who will return and this group will be tricky. Drew Franklin will set the table tomorrow with an overview of who UK is looking at and what direction they are going in (remember they already have a commitment from Charles Matthews Jr), but to be fair, there is a lot of uncertainty. The loss of Orlando Antigua and the shift in focus following the Luke Kennard decision (until the final two weeks of his recruitment, he was considered a likely UK addition), means that this group is being assembled in a different manner. 2015 has the makings of another EPIC UK recruiting year, but the next three months are crucial in making that happen.
— It is a big time also for UK football, as the staff hopes to get another couple of big time commitments over the next 2-3 weeks. CJ Conrad is one of the best tight ends in America and he will be making a decision on Friday, and everyone believes Kentucky is the favorite. Conrad is a four star who has the potential to be a huge difference maker early in his career. If he is brought into the fold, he will be the fourth four star in the class and contributes to another amazing early haul by this staff. They never cease to amaze in the recruiting game.
The Alex Poythress selfie
— I am legitimately excited about the UK basketball team’s summer trip this year. From a basketball perspective, it is going to be great for Calipari to get the chance (it only happens once every four years) to get the extra month of practice leading up to the trip and to integrate his returning players with the new guys. The Harrison Twins were of course not on campus last summer and now they will be here in the offseason and getting ready for the trip, is sure to help make this team connect earlier than they did last year. As for the location/opponents, it is still not certain but it is assumed to be somewhere in the Caribbean, either in the Bahamas/Dominican Repbulic/Puerto Rico (I have heard people express preferences for all). The opponents could be local teams or national squads (The World Cup of basketball is this summer) that include numerous NBA guys. Either way, it is going to be a fun trip to a beautiful place and a great chance for this group to bond. And the idea of a few days of paid work on a Caribbean island ain’t the worst thing to look forward to this summer. Viva El Calipari!
— KSR intern extraordinaire Tom Jomby and the UK Tennis Team will host the first round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend in Lexington. We will be there cheering on our young Frenchman and it is the start of what could be a huge Spring for UK Athletics with big performances in postseason events ahead from the Tennis, Baseball and Softball teams.
I am taking off the first two weeks of June for vacation myself and we are getting fill-in hosts for KSR Radio. So far Gregg Doyel, Josh Hopkins and Jared Lorenzen/Tim Couch (on the same show as co-hosts) have committed to hosting a show…we have some other big names that are contemplating the offers now but are open to other suggestions…the more creative the better. If you have someone you would like to hear give a shot at hosting, put in comment section…right next to the posts about how juvenile we are. Should be much fun over the next few days as we go old school around these parts. See you then….