Good evening, KSR readers and those of you trolling us from other fan bases, and welcome to KSR’s first News and Views written in the cafeteria of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. That’s where I’m currently posted up, between NYPD officers and tennis nerds, writing on the newly-renovated KentuckySportsRadio.com. This is only my second post since the site redesign went public and, I have to admit, I like what I see but I’m still not used to it yet. I jumped back when I loaded the page earlier today to read the Stoops quotes, expecting to see the gray and yellow of yesteryear. But now, it’s blue!
So tonight, as I sit here in Flushing Meadows, we pay tribute to the tournament that we’re here to see: the 2013 U.S. Open. As Matt mentioned earlier in his notes, he and I are here with Tennis Channel to provide its website readers and television viewers with Grand Slam tennis coverage in the most ridiculous manner possible. And ridiculous it is, because, between you and me, I don’t know much about tennis. I do know, however, that this is the biggest tennis stage in America and we’re very excited to be here from start to almost finish.
The tournament draw is already set up for an action-packed two weeks for us with Ivo Karlovic, our favorite tennis player, set to play James Blake in the first round. Blake announced Monday morning that he’ll retire following the tournament, so we’ll be the only two Ivo fans in attendance, hoping to see him serve the American home for the final time. There is also potential for a Nadal-Federer quarterfinal the night before we fly back to Kentucky for Calipari’s fantasy camp, and a long list of celebrities expected to attend for us to badger in the elevators and suites.
Check out our tennis website (TheOuterCourts.com) if you’re into that kind of thing, and if not, join me in counting down to the first game of the Mark Stoops era below…
Stoop-a-loop held his first official game week press conference on Monday, where he told reporters that the staff has selected its quarterback for the first game. So who is it, you ask? Well, you have to wait until Saturday night to find out. Though the decision is made, Stoops said we won’t know until game time; he hasn’t even told the players yet. However he still plans to use both guys, but if the first one up is rolling out of the gate, they’ll stick with him until a change is necessary.
For what it’s worth, a trusted source told KSR that Jalen Whitlow is the starter. He has been the popular pick since his impressive showing in the open practice at Fan Day a few weeks ago, so it’s no surprise to hear it now in the final days leading up to the game.
Stoops also had a few words to say about Bobby Petrino, the coach he’ll stand across from Saturday night and the man many wanted to see in his spot. The two have never met on the field or off it, but Stoops was complimentary of his opponent, calling him a great play caller and a very good offensive mind. He said Petrino understands what opposing teams are doing so it’s important to mix things up throughout the game.
The depth chart for the WKU game was released Monday morning and the returning players held their own in the position battles, for the most part. Javess Blue moved into a starting role over A.J. Legree and Ryan Timmons could see the field over Daryl Collins, but other than that, we’re going to see a lot of the same names on the field to start the game. Some will have to really perform to keep their spots, though, as the newcomers will only improve as the year progresses. JUCO transfer Nate Willis will likely make a push to take a spot from Tiller or Quinn once he catches up from his late arrival, and sophomore Daron Blaylock will be ready to step in if Eric Dixon ever slips up at strong safety. Senior tight end Jordan Aumiller will need to play well to stay ahead of Anthony Kendrick at tight end, too.
The line for the game is up to -5 on some offshore gambling sites. If you’re going to get in on the action, you may want to hurry because it’s only going to climb higher as the game gets closer. Remember, KSR doesn’t condone gambling, although I’m betting my entire existence on it. I believe Kentucky will win by at least a touchdown.
Tuesday could be a big day for Kentucky’s 2014 football recruiting class when Blake Bone announces his college decision. Bone plans to hold a press conference at his school around noon and then tweet his decision out to the worldwide web. Bone, a four-star wide receiver from South Carolina, is considering Kentucky, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Louisville and Georgia Tech, and Kentucky is the presumed favorite heading into the big day. At 6-foot-5, he would make a great addition to Kentucky’s receiving corps that lacks height for next season. UK needs a receiver the quarterback can just throw it up to and let him make the play. Bone could be that guy and I know Barker would love to have him as a weapon in the passing game.
In non-UK college basketball news, Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes was ruled ineligible for the upcoming season on Monday. The former Huntington Prep star and teammate of Andrew Wiggins was deemed ineligible due to coursework he took in high school and CBSSports.com is hearing it’s a full year of credits at Christian Faith Center Academy in North Carolina that cost him his eligibility. The school was under investigation early this year after a group of Canadian prep stars claimed Ro Russell, a controversial AAU coach, made up documents for them to enter the U.S. and enrolled them in classes he knew the NCAA wouldn’t accept. Andrew Wiggins also attended the make-believe school for a semester, FYI.
Myles Turner is now reconsidering SMU after Mudiay’s commitment and may use one of his five officials visits on the school. I guess it’s that divinity school and George H. Bush library, right, radio listeners? There is some pro-UK Turner talk from Monday, though… In a teaser for Turner’s next USA Today blog entry, Jason Jordan tweeted this quote from Turner: “I like how Coach Cal handles me. He told me from day one ‘I’m not gonna call you everyday.”
It reminds me of ESPN All-Access when Calipari said he tells recruits, “If you want me to call you every week, I will. But you’re 17 and I’m 50ish, what are we gonna talk about?”
Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow have jumped on board the package deal train and are now flirting with the idea of playing together in college. Johnson told Adam Zagoria, “We got a couple of similar schools on our lists and I think together we can do something real special in college. Me and him think similarly so me and him are really talking about it, trying to get a decision done. It’s all about how the college feels about it. We want to do it, we’re committed to each other. As long as the college is OK with it and they’re seeing it the way we’re seeing it, then we can make it happen. But if it doesn’t happen that way, then we’re not going to do it.”
Kentucky didn’t make Winslow’s list when he trimmed it to 10 last month, but that was before he received an offer from UK at the Nike Peach Jam. Johnson has been a priority for Calipari for awhile and he plans to visit in October for Big Blue Madness. It’d be nice to get Winslow on campus with him that weekend.
The results are in from the Secretary of State Mock Election!
That’ll do it for tonight. Join us for more on Tuesday as we continue to look ahead to season opener on Saturday.