On Thursday, the small town of Pikeville, Kentucky pulled on its overalls and transformed into the three-day circus known as “Hillbilly Days,” a festival truly unlike any other. The event was founded in 1977 by “Dirty Ear” Howard Stratton and “Shady” Grady Kinney, two Shriners with the Hillbilly Clan Outhouse #2 in Pikeville. Since then, Pike County has held the annual event to raise money for the Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington, with the Shriners decking themselves and their tiny little cars in hillbilly garb to entertain the crowd. It’s grown into one of the largest festivals in the state, bringing over 100,000 people to town each year to appreciate what the festival calls “our unique Appalachian heritage and culture.”
Around these parts, Hillbilly Days may be best known as the place UK basketball players go to sign autographs and meet fans after declaring for the draft. In years past, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford, Lukasz Orbzutt, Terrence Jones, and Nerlens Noel have all attended the event, and this year, Nerlens is making a return appearance, along with Julius Randle. Noel will be at the event on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and again from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Randle will also be there on Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Why Hillbilly Days? Maybe the famous Quilt Show? (Mother’s Day is coming up.) The Cornhole Tournament? (They got so much practice at Madness campout!) For Nerlens, it’s probably the chance to conquer the mechanical bull, which he missed out on last year because of his injury. Whatever it is, it’s become a tale as old as time: declare for the draft, go to Hillbilly Days. Hopefully, the players will do as the festival’s motto says and “unleash their inner hillbilly.” We know Randle already likes cowboy hats.
There was a lot of news in the UK sports world today, and frustratingly, none of it had to do with the Harrison Twins. Let’s get to it.
Trust only few
— Aaron Harrison (@AaronICE2) April 24, 2014
The Harrison Twins update: There is no Harrison Twins update
Thursday was day seventeen of “Twins watch,” and sadly, there is no real update to give. The Twins have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday to announce whether they’re staying or going, and right now, it’s anyone’s guess. We do know this: on Thursday afternoon, Aaron went to Cal’s office, but they didn’t discuss his decision. In fact, Cal says he “knows nothing yet,” and fans will learn the twins’ intent when he does. Later on in the afternoon, Aaron did sent out the tweet above, which could have a million different meanings. Feel free to exhaust yourself and give it your best guess in the comments section.
John Calipari did a Facebook chat
The man is everywhere. He has conquered every social network besides Tinder, and unless they’ve got a “basketball recruits” filter I don’t know about, I don’t see that happening. Calipari did a Facebook Q&A on Thursday, and shared a few interesting comments in between his standard book tour stump speech and breaks to LOL. Here’s my favorite, about next season:
There’s two pieces to this. One, we are going to have a team that knows what to expect. We’re going to have a team that has an expectation that is built on past performance. That’s different than hope. We will be playing more people because there will be more people to play. Marcus Lee needs to be on that court. But so does Willie, Dakari and Karl. So we will play two of them together and maybe three. Trey and Alex deserve to play. It’s a great issue that we’ll deal with.
James Young stopped by the radio show
On Thursday morning, James Young stopped by KSR to charm listeners with his deep, beautiful voice. Young let loose a little bit in the interview, joking that at times, he didn’t always listen to Cal as closely as he should have, and very much enjoyed his time at Kentucky, right down to the ladies. How many ladies? “Like three.” Whether that’s the actual truth or not, it was fun to see James come out of his shell a bit. Listen to his full interview below:
The NCAA got one step closer to sanity
After being publicly humiliated for over a year, the NCAA is finally taking action to right some wrongs. First, they put an end to the whole food restriction thing, which Calipari is still so flabbergasted by at this point he might as well have a sponsorship from JIF peanut butter. On Thursday, the NCAA “generally agreed” on the autonomy of the five major conferences–the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. If the vote goes through in August, those conferences will be allowed to self-govern issues like financial aid, insurance, academic support, and travel for families, a huge talking point of Cal’s.
The whole thing is such a good idea, it’s like Cal came up with it. Oh, wait…
The NBA may be one step closer to two and toodaloo
In news that should make you extremely happy, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday that he wants to raise the NBA age limit from 19 to 20, so that players will have to stay in college two years, and not one. Silver said
two-and-through two and toodaloo “will be in the best interest of the league,” and could go in effect as early as next summer. Now, the NBA Players’ Association needs to come to the table and agree to it, which is easier said than done. All in favor of sending them bacon, say “aye!”.
The Spring Game is coming
It’s time to get ready for some football. The Spring Game is Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and throughout the next few days, we’ll have player profiles and updates from the team’s last practice on Friday. The game is close to a sell out, but there’s still time to get tickets. Click here to head on over to Ticketmaster to claim your spot, and if you’re not excited enough about the game, maybe this video of Running Backs Coach Chad Scott will put you over the top:
Friday is a big day, as the Twins’ decision and the announcement of Barry “Slice” Rohrssen could break at any time. Stay tuned to KSR for all the latest, and in the meantime, enjoy this adorable picture of Julius and a young fan: