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Sunday Notes in our new Pokemon World


I remember the first time someone sent me a text message. I was in law school and on my new cell phone (which was that tiny square Nokia thing we all had back then), my then-girlfriend texted me to say “isn’t this cool?!?” Beyond the excess amount of punctuation marks, the thing that stuck out the most to me was the fact that this new way to communicate seemed a bit of a hassle. Not only was it charging me money (10 cents a message back then), but responding took forever. There were three letters on every number, I kept making mistakes continuously and my response (“Sure. How r u?”) took me at least five minutes. At that moment I decreed that texting was a total waste of time and anyone that did it needed something to do with their spare time.

Fast forward 13 years and now texting is my most consistent form of communication. When someone takes the time to call me instead of texting, I assume that the conversation is going to be very intense, that they have more than two sentences worth of thoughts to communicate and that my voicemail is probably the best play for their response. What once seemed ridiculous has now become commonplace. We live in a texting world. I thought of that today as I walked the streets of Louisville and saw 30-40 people with their heads buried in their phones playing “Pokemon Go.” I don’t claim to know anything about it beyond the basic fact that you use your phone to walk the streets and track down/accumulate little characters that then prove to the world you are king of the Pokemon army. It seems to me like a stupendous waste of time but as I looked up and down the Highlands, there were people of all ages, ranging from excited children to bearded hipsters to old hippies with pale legs, all playing it with intensity and happiness. My natural instinct is to mock and ridicule. But maybe like with texting, we are on the brink of living in a Pokemon world. Overcome by the reality of their monotonous lives, maybe people will get joy out of acting like they live in a massive cartoon land, where places are to be visited not for their intrinsic beauty but for the collection of digital rewards. I have read that Pokemon Go was just released in America on Wednesday night, and if that is true, my stroll down the streets of Louisville suggest that it has already been massively successful. It seems moronic to me, but then again so once did texting. Its a Pokemon Go world and I guess we all just have to deal with it (unless it becomes like Trivia Crack…remember how we all played that for a few weeks? Whatever happened to that?)

A few notes on the weekend:

— With all the tragedy that engulfed this country last week and the resulting spread of stupid opinions throughout the Facebook world, I used this weekend as a chance to unplug from most internet communication and instead just watch a number of sporting events. I spent a lot of time watching NBA Summer League and seeing former UK players hit a very high level. The two players that were by far the most impressive were Devin Booker and Trey Lyles, both young men who are headed for NBA stardom. Both guys had 28 points in the games I watched and each were the best player on the floor by a large degree. The 2014 UK recruiting class was initially considered the worst of the Calipari era, based solely on rankings and the lack of any real star power beyond Karl Towns. But in the end, it could be the best as I think there are two potential high level NBA starters (Booker/Lyles), one starting NBA point guard (Ulis) and a historically transcendent potential star (Towns). That is pretty freaking good.

The happiest part of the weekend to me was reading this morning that Andrew Harrison signed a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. The three year deal basically ensures that Harrison will be in the league and that his struggles to get accepted by a NBA team are complete. He still may have some D-League service, but now if it happens he gets NBA money and the team will be much more likely to call him up since his contract is on their books. It is a huge win for Andrew who was under a lot of pressure this summer. If he finished this year without a deal, he could easily end up in the drifting guard pile of guys who float in and out of NBA rosters and rarely stick to make any money. A NBA scout once told me “big guys get three years, guards two years…if they aren’t in the NBA then, the chance of them ever making it becomes very remote.” I think that is true, especially when you are like Andrew and your talent isn’t due to extreme physical gifts. Andrew was dominant in his first couple of Summer League games and that was enough for Memphis to sign him, a great result for the eldest Harrison. Andrew took more criticism than any UK player since Saul Smith and deserved virtually none of it. He won at a high level at UK and is a great kid who I hope rightly celebrates the culmination of a ton of work to get to this point.

— This afternoon I also watched the championship of the Peach Jam, where a number of UK targets were playing, including Trae Young, Mohammed Bamba and Quade Green. All of them showed their talents but Trae Young is exceptional. In fact, Trae Young is in my mind, the most important recruit of the class for UK. His talent is immense, as he plays the Point Guard position exactly as you would hope…he can pass, handle the ball, frustrate on defense and finish at the rim. But what was so impressive today is the range he has on his outside shots. Young made threes from all angles and dominated a first half that saw his team lead by 18. On a floor with four of the top 50 players in America, Young was the standout and even outshone the Bamba/Michael Porter Jr duo competing to be the top player in America. Young is said to be torn between Oklahoma and Kentucky. He is close with DeAaron Fox, but is also from Norman and friends with Buddy Hield. His recruitment will probably take some more time, but I want him badly in Blue and White…he should be the next of the great UK point guards under Calipari.

— SEC Media Days start tomorrow and KSR has Nick Roush and Freddie Maggard on the scene in Birmingham for the events. In the rest of the SEC, this is one of the biggest weeks of the year, with a circus of people waiting to hear every line uttered by the SEC coaches and players before another massive season. In Kentucky, we rarely even know it is going on. My hope is that Mark Stoops can find a way to get folks excited this year in the same way that he has the previous three but he faces an uphill climb. Most fans I have spoken with are completely in “wait and see” mode and to the extent there has been any talk about football it has been wondering if a season-crushing loss to Southern Miss in the opening game is a possibility. I think the Cats win that game and have a fighting shot the next week versus Florida, but the reality is that for Stoops, success this season is a must. He has had such a great impact on the program in terms of excitement, facilities and talent that UK Football is in a significantly better place today than it was before he arrived. But now he needs to win…this is the year and the road to wherever we end up begins this week.

Six weeks to football…Freddie (who is as excited for SEC Media Days as any human should reasonably be allowed to be) and Nick are down there giving KSR all the coverage one can handle. Keep checking in this week to see what is happening.

Radio is in Louisville tomorrow, Lexington on Tuesday and then Central Kentucky the rest of the week…come out to a show and listen up before we head to Cleveland on Monday.

Article written by Matt Jones

12 Comments for Sunday Notes in our new Pokemon World

  1. InigoMontoya
    9:21 pm July 10, 2016 Permalink

    I find your opening story amazing. You had a girlfriend???


    • Matt Jones
      12:15 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

      Feel better now?

    • WillySpankit
      12:56 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

      Don’t worry about Inigo. He’s been all emo since someone killed his father.

    • InigoMontoya
      11:35 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

      😉 Yes, Matt, I do!

      I only bust the chops of the people I love, & I think you & your cohorts are the greatest!

      Now I have to get back to storming the castle.

  2. kuhlkat
    2:07 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    Is there a man alive who watches more TV than Matt?

  3. msnthrop
    6:25 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    I think you would be leading Barr right now if you had decided to run.

  4. UKfan4TwoDecades
    6:49 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t know you and never will. But, I wanted to thank you for all of your efforts, and results, pertaining to sharing your personal insights and your love for Kentucky sports. I was born and raised in Kentucky and have been a diehard fan since the 1960’s contrary to my screen name. KSR is one of my primary sources about UK and I enjoy the articles, comments, and content.
    I wish you, and others at KSR, great success – happiness – joy – stability – good health – long life – etc.
    Time, like land, is limited. For you to give so much of your time, and your family sacrifices, is an honorable thing.
    Here is hoping UK brings home it’s 9th NCAA Championship this season and its 10th and 11th over the next 5 years. We have had the talent to do so through the Calipari era, except for one year, and UK fans deserve to not only have the winningest NCAA Men’s Basketball program of all time but also the winningest NCAA Mens Basketball CHAMPIONSHIP program of all time (take that UCLA which I have been waiting for UK to surpass for most of my life and I hope I live long enough to see it).
    Take care and may God bless you and yours…always.
    Jeff Schrembs

  5. Sentient Third Eye
    8:18 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    I get that, as Matt put it, some people are “overcome with their monotonous lives”, but rather than rotting their brains with zombie-inducing, childish games, would it not be better to devote that wasted time to maybe GETTING NON-MONOTONOUS LIVES?

  6. rickwhitetx
    8:33 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    Matt, I hope by “stupid opinions” you don’t simply mean opinions different than you have. But, if “stupid opinions” means different opinions then you really need to open your mind and listen to what others are saying. It may not, probably won’t, change your opinions or beliefs, but it will give you a broader outlook.

    • CATandMONKEY
      8:49 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

      Matt very well may just mean opinions different than his own but I suspect that he is referring to some of the colossally stupid opinions that represent the polar extremes on both sides of the issues that have come to the forefront of our lives. It is fair to objectively categorize some of those opinions as stupid.

      I agree with your overall assessment though. An open mind, even if not changed is usually a good thing.

  7. Catlogic15
    8:55 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    Even my wife thinks Pokemon Go is stupid. And this coming from one who was hopelessy addicted to FarmVille.

  8. christopherharrison26
    11:12 am July 11, 2016 Permalink

    OK – this is not about sports but about the Pokemaon Go thing. Those not interested – this is not the post you are looking for – move along. 🙂

    For others- particularly parents – Pokemon Go has an appeal to young video game users, but it should be noted that injuries and unsafe unsupervised journeys into the night by children are already happening.
    Like most new things we need to learn how best to use it – it has opportunity to get users to be somewhat physically active and to actually meet coop users face-to-face when video gaming, but learning reasonable limits as to time and place are critical to keeping things safe.