It’s an extremely busy time for Big Blue Nation with the foundation of Calipari’s next recruiting class, the basketball season beginning this weekend with three games in five days, and, of course, Kentucky football going on the road for a noon kickoff against the Vols tomorrow. We’ll hit those and more in this Friday edition of your morning top 10…
1. Basketball starts tonight!
Big Blue Madness, the Blue-White game and the two exhibition games were Fun Town, USA; but now it is time for ish to get really real as the 2016-17 Cats officially kick off the season tonight in Rupp Arena. Across the way? Back-to-back-to-back NCAA tournament attendee, Stephen F. Austin. Get your ice cream ready.
Yesterday, John Calipari said of the visiting Lumberjacks, “(They’ll) come in here with the idea that they’re beating a young team. They have veteran players even though they have lost some players. The players that are going to play in that game all were in the NCAA Tournament the last couple of years.”
Meanwhile, Kentucky will likely start three, maybe four, freshmen against SFA’s vets. Should we worry? Nah.
Tip-off at 7 pm. KSR pregame show at 4:30 pm.
2. Kentucky will beat Tennessee tomorrow!
Basketball has owned the headlines over the last 24 hours but we haven’t forgotten about football. Mark Stoops’ club has a big game against Tennessee tomorrow with hopes of stealing one in Knoxville for the first time since 1984.
Benny Snell thinks he and his teammates are ready. “The intensity grows each game, after each practice, every day,” he said. “Guys are more hyped in the locker room, in the weight room, just little things. I’m feeling a good vibe.”
3. Thursday was a big day for basketball recruiting.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention UK’s two new basketball signees, who put the pen to the paper yesterday to form the foundation of Coach Cal’s next big class. Of course, I’m referring to five-star center Nick Richards and five-star power forward P.J. Washington, two star frontcourt players that Calipari will now need to build around.
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) November 10, 2016
Richards, who committed first by picking the Cats over Arizona and Syracuse, said he is excited to follow in the footsteps of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, another product from Richards’ St. Pat’s high school. Like Kidd-Gilchrist, Richards’ ultimate basketball goal is national title first, NBA later.
Then there’s Washington, who chose Kentucky over North Carolina and nearby UNLV. He wrote in his blog that picking UK was a “no-brainer.”
4. How about Alabama?
Shout-out to Avery Johnson for currently holding the No. 2 class in basketball recruiting, behind Arizona. The Tide landed two big-time prospects yesterday in five-star point guard Collin Sexton and four-star (formerly a five-star) shooting guard John Petty, who picked Bama over Kentucky last night. Sexton is one of the highest-ranked signees in the history of the program.
S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!
5. Drew Barker done for the year.
This isn’t a big surprise, but Mark Stoops finally made it official after Thursday’s practice: Drew Barker will miss the remainder of the season. Barker will undergo back surgery after, as Stoops put it, “We’ve exhausted all treatment that doesn’t involve surgery and it has not improved to the level that our doctors are comfortable with.”
He’ll apply for a medical redshirt, but it’s a long shot.
6. Cousins and Randle had to be separated.
With more and more UK alums in the NBA, we’re seeing more and more Cat-on-Cat crime. This time, DeMarcus Cousins and Julius Randle had to be separated after Cousins’ Kings blew a big lead to Randle’s Lakers.
Demarcus Cousins is hella salty after that L pic.twitter.com/CjFbZBKC0O
— #DLoadingHive (@ForeverLakers34) November 11, 2016
Hug it out, boys.
7. Dave Chappelle to host Saturday Night Live and I couldn’t be more excited.
Dave Chappelle returns to comedy, on Saturday Night Live, on the first Saturday after Donald Trump became President? Is this real life?
Don’t call me Saturday night. I’m busy.
8. Who ya got in Hawaii?
Tonight college basketball fans will see Michigan State versus Arizona and Indiana versus Kansas in a doubleheader in the fifth annual Armed Forces Classic, to be played in a hangar on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu.
I’ll take Michigan State and Kansas in a ML parlay.
9. USA vs. Mexico tonight.
Kentucky and Stephen F. Austin will play the marquee sports match tonight, but keep a close eye on the happenings in Columbus, where the United States will take the pitch for a little footie with Mexico in a World Cup qualifier.
I had to turn down tickets to what is a bucket list sporting event for me, so forgive me if I’m a little grumpy tonight. I’m just sad.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
10. Salute to all the veterans out there.
At a time when our country can’t seem to get along, let’s not forget those who served in the United States Armed Forces so we have the freedoms we are so lucky to have today. Remember them today and always.
Happy Veterans Day!