The NBA playoffs are in full swing and Saturday proved that home court advantage might not be all it’s cracked up to be. With all of the home teams except for the Thunder losing, the playoffs are off to an intriguing start. The biggest “upset” of the day came when the #1 seeded Indiana Pacers fell hard to the 8-seeded Atlanta Hawks. I’ve always said that believing in the Pacers is kind of like believing in Gonzaga. I wouldn’t do it. Today marked a few more expected results with the Spurs handling the Mavericks and the defending champion Heat holding off a hard fought defensive effort on LeBron James by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG did a stand up job, but foul trouble caught up with him and LeBron took over from there.
The most exciting performance of the day came from former Wildcat John Wall of the Wizards. Wall has become the young leader for the Wizards, leading them to the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career. Wall helped the Wizards top the Bulls in Game 1 of the series by contributing 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Now on to the news from a rather quiet sports weekend…
—- Easter weekend gave us a taste of what the news flow can be like in the off-season heading into the summer. With most of the Kentucky basketball players who have yet to make decisions heading home to spend time with family for the holiday weekend, the news was a bit dry. Here’s a brief rundown of where the Kentucky basketball decisions stand as of now:
James Young declared his intentions to enter the NBA draft right before the weekend started. Young is projected as a top 20 pick by most services.
Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee have both announced that they will be returning to Kentucky next season.
Julius Randle, the Harrison twins, Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson have still not made a public decision yet.
—- The only real interesting tidbit of news to come out of this weekend regarding the decisions were a few quotes by the Harrison twins and their father, Aaron Sr. A report from FOX out of Houston made it sound like the decision has not been made yet and the two are still weighing their options. Late this week it looked as if the feedback being given to Andrew and Aaron from the NBA wasn’t quite as positive as they had hoped. But the Harrison’s father shot down any rumors that a strong lean was being made either way at the moment.
“We are probably midway,” Aaron Harrison, Sr. said. “We got to make a decision here in the next six or seven days anyway, but we’ve sat down and had one or two conversations about it and had some prayer about it, but that’s pretty much where we’re at….. They’re not leaning either way.”
Their father also said that they are still awaiting more feedback from NBA teams before making a decision.
Aaron and Andrew both had some reflective words about the season as well as a few thoughts on where they stand at the moment with their thought process.
Andrew: “Of course we didn’t end it like we wanted it to. The run we had, it was amazing. It was like no other really. It was one of the best times in my life in the tournament, just having a great time with my teammates.”
Aaron: “It’s basically my career really. Don’t leave anything out. Think about all the angles and everything that goes into it and just try to make the best choice for your family.”
On returning for a chance to win a championship: “Yeah, that’s a factor, but I think it’s more about us personally and not about winning a ring or anything like that. It’s just more personal because it’s my career, it’s my life.”
On the surface, it could seem easy to take Aaron’s comments as a negative, but how can you blame a kid for making such a huge decision for personal reasons? With the potential of injuries, monetary factors, the randomness of college basketball (Kentucky as an 8 seed and UCONN as a 7 seed duking it out for a championship), some of the lure of trying to win a championship has to be put to the wayside for more personal/business reasons.
—- The second biggest piece of news from the weekend was the tattoo heard round the Bluegrass. I’m not sure that’s the best representation of Willie Cauley-Stein I’ve ever seen, but it certainly is the best only representation I’ve ever seen of Willie Cauley-Stein on a calf.
With that said, it’s not the best calf tattoo I’ve ever seen. Tomlin wins that one…
I’m disappointed that no one seems to care about my Matt Heisenbuttel tattoo anymore. pic.twitter.com/iFfe9JVySF
– C.M. Tomlin (@CM_Tomlin) April 19, 2014
—- Tennessee basketball looks close to naming a new head coach. Michael White of Louisiana Tech is the frontrunner at the moment, with some rumors swirling that the deal has already been done. White has had great success at Louisiana Tech and though he’s not a “big name,” he’s thought to be one of the up and comers.
—- And let’s not forget that the Kentucky football Spring Game (and plenty of other UK sports goodness) is just around the corner…