John Calipari is a baller. At this point, there is nothing else left to be said about him. During his book tour across America, we have seen him in an amazing number of locations. But today may have topped them all. He began the morning on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe”, made his way to something called “Squawk Box” on CNBC, had lunch with former President Bill Clinton, took a jet with Tucker Max to Charlotte for the Bobcats and Bulls, and while there ran into Michael Jordan. Tucker tweeted me and said the two talked about the “One and Done” Rule and Jordan said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver would be pushing hard this summer to get the rule changed to two years. Now I ask you…seeing all that, how does your day compare? I thought my day of doing a remote at Sleep Outfitters, eating lunch with Ryan Lemond at “Smokey Bones”, having a meeting about the KSR Summer Tour at the radio station, organizing my office, eating sushi from “Whole Foods”, watching the WWE Network and cackling on the phone with Bomani Jones for a hour was action-packed…but Calipari puts me to shame again. We really do have the perfect coach for Kentucky here and we probably won’t ever find one better.
With that in mind, three big stories for the day that we need to focus upon:
JALEN WHITLOW TRANSFERS:
It takes a pretty big piece of football news to knock the basketball decisions off of the headlines, but today that decision happened as last year’s starting Quarterback Jalen Whitlow announced he would be transferring. It came as a little bit of a shock, as just last Thursday, Mark Stoops was on KSR Radio and said that if the games started today, Whitlow would be the starter. But a week later, Jalen was told that his future might be best served at another position and he decided it was time to make a move. I spoke today with a source close to the program who helped me process the decision a little bit. He told me that Whitlow’s passing hadn’t improved at a strong enough level to really justify leaving him at the position. The other quarterbacks in the system had taken heavy strides and the staff felt good enough with the position depth to make the move. UK wanted Whitlow around and thought he could be a valuable receiver/Wildcat QB for them as they love him as a player and as a person. But, in the end, the Neal Brown offense needs an efficient passer and my source says the belief was that Whitlow, even though he knew the offense the best and had more dimensions to his game, simply had not made enough strides in that area.
I hate to see Jalen go as I think he would have been a valuable member of the team next year and on a team that needs great athletes, he could have been used. But I also understand why he wants to play Quarterback and how with that in mind, a transfer makes sense. I do not believe UK’s struggles last season were because of Whitlow, as he was just the most obvious face of a team with a lot of holes. But, without better passing ability, a change makes sense. This should make UK fans feel good about the improvement of the guys on the roster, as with this move, the Towles/Barker/Phillips Air Raid era has officially begun.
DRAFT DECISIONS LINGER
KSR is happy that the draft decisions are taking a long time to be made by the six players left on UK’s roster who are up in the air. The traffic on this site has been insane as fans wait breathlessly to find out who is back. However, as a fan the wait is brutal. I am hearing that we will probably find out about one player this week, but the rest will probably go into next week, meaning we will have more time before the April 27th deadline to wait. Nothing has changed on my end…I still think Randle/Young will leave…I still believe that Alex will stay (although I do think there is some pressure from people around him to go)…I think Dakari is torn but will probably (but not certainly) end up back…and I have no clue on the Harrison Twins. I continue to read people who say the Twins are leaning this way or that, but I still give absolutely no stock to it. This is a quiet twosome who isnt talking to anyone locally and I am of the opinion that the folks around UK still don’t know what the decision will be. The speculation is just that, and at least half will end up looking right as it is a yes/no decision. If the Twins leave, I do expect Kentucky to take another perimeter player and my guess is that part of what will take place with new Assistant Coach Barry Rohrrsen is to figure out where to go if that contingency occurs. So more time waiting…get comfortable.
RUPP ARENA FUNDING ISSUE
The Rupp Arena Renovation plan came to a grinding halt late Tuesday night when the Kentucky Senate did not pass the funding necessary for it to begin. There has been a lot of talk about the issue, and we still are left a bit up in the air as to where it stands. I am still surprised and disappointed that the Senate leadership did not approve the money, when they have approved similar money for Louisville’s arena in the past AND approved $60 million this year for the Louisville Convention Center. We have heard reasons from the Senate, but most have to do with “delay in getting documents,” but little on the substance of the issue. This morning on my radio show, I challenged all the major parties to the issue, the Governor Steve Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers, Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo and Lexington Mayor Jim Grey, to come on my show TOGETHER and debate/talk out the issue. To my pleasant surprise, all today agreed to do it. For scheduling reasons, it won’t take place for a couple of weeks, but I do think at that time, we will know for sure what happened, how it can be fixed and fans can decide who is right and who is wrong. It will be the first time all of Frankfort’s “Big Three” leaders have been in one interview at the same time since they took office. We at KSR appreciate the fact that they would take our forum as the opportunity to make that happen and I do commend them for agreeing to do it.
With that, we are back at it tomorrow on radio and on here…the wait is long, but hopefully the results if these players return will be worth it…