Oh man, I can already feel the comment section heating up. But the 19th marks the 23rd birthday of Louisville All-American Russ Smith, who spent plenty of time celebrating over the last four years, bringing two Final Fours and a title back for the Cards in his sophomore and junior years.
There’s every reason to hate Louisville, and Louisville fans. Their highest-profile coaches are proven and notorious liars who revel in infidelity (both personally and professionally); their fans are obnoxious for no reason; and that calligraphy “L” is just atrocious. But some of their players, like it or not, deserve respect. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng earned it a couple years ago. Montrezl Harrell is about to earn it next year (yep, get ready). And Russ has definitely garnered the respect of the Big Blue Nation for his ability, and his class, over the last four years. Anybody that says otherwise is either jealous, or hasn’t been paying attention.
So happy birthday Mr. Smith, we’re happy you’re celebrating turning 23, but we’re glad you’re gone. We’re sorry you had to go 1-5 against the Cats. And we’re really sorry that the birthday people think you’re Peyton Siva:
Some news and stuff:
-UK recruits had some fun tonight in the Jordan Brand Classic, as all four made the prestigious roster for the New York-based All-Star game. Karl Towns had the most highlight-reel plays, including a spectacular half-court, behind-the-back, no-look dime from half court that made the commentators take the next couple plays off in admiration. But they all had fun, and more importantly, got some experience playing together. We’re ready for them next year.
-Slow news doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, as DeMarcus Cousins provided some levity today with his response to Cal’s new book, Players First. Apparently, Cousins was having some trouble completing the conditioning drills in his first few practices, and Cal gently reminded him that if he wasn’t in shape, he would come off the bench and “play eight minutes.” Cousins apparently found out the story made the final edit, and made sure everyone knew he was “upset” with Coach Cal:
– demarcus cousins (@boogiecousins) April 18, 2014
-We heard it earlier, but Marcus Lee made his return to Lexington official today via a UK Athletics press release.
“I’ve really enjoyed my college experience and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player,” Lee said. “Playing in the Final Four was such an amazing feeling, but I want to come back and help win that final game this year.”
-Stan Van Gundy said that if Cal headed to the Lakers, he’d have less talent. That’s clearly an exaggeration, but man, not by too much. Don’t know whether that says more about the Cats or the Lakers, but either way, thanks Coach. Sorry Dwight Howard ruined your career.
-UK Football has already distributed 25,000 tickets to the Spring Game. The cap is 42,500 because of the construction, so if you want a seat, better act early.
-A bank robber with a giant UK back tattoo is making us all look bad. And not because of the tattoo. Mostly because of the bank robbery. Leave the looting to the Louisville fans.
-New NBA Commissioner “Not David Stern” has grand ambitions to make a 20-year old age-limit a priority this summer. This is great news for us, as not only would our talent stay longer, but our coach probably would, too. Cal spoke out over the last week and said that a “two and through” rule would take a lot of stress off of him, and let him stay as the Grand High Poobah for longer than he’d be able to right now. Let’s hope “Not David Stern” gets it done.
Finally, some quick-hit tidbits:
-CBS acknowledged that Kentucky is dominating college basketball. Naw durr.
–Mark Emmert opened himself to questions on Twitter with the #AskEmmert hashtag, and proceeded to take more public shots than a Tri-Delta at Two Keys.
-Former Florida guard Nick Calathes has been suspended by the NBA for 20 games after violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Quick question: when did the NBA ban Rogaine?
That’s all for tonight, we hope your Good Friday has been rewarding, and we’ll be back tomorrow to let you know if anybody spontaneously declares for the Draft (they won’t), or if Cal says something quotable (he will). Typical off-season stuff for Kentucky. Enjoy it.