I hope your weekend was as good as mine and, like me, you had a chance to spend some time with your mother. In the spirit of all things Mother’s Day, it is now time to fight…well not really fight but to pretend fight and answer the age old question, if Kentucky players of the last 20 Years were to get in a fight, who would win? Now if you are like me (and I hope you are), then you have probably had conversations of this sort hanging out with your buddies from time to time (if you are a woman and not a huge fighter, think “who is the trashiest woman in Hollywood”). I created a bracket to solve this riddle once and for all and you can VIEW THE BRACKET HERE that we will be using. It has 64 UK players, randomly placed (not seeded) from the last 20 years and will let them go head to head. The players were picked by basically ensuring we had the top three guys from each team of the last 20 years and then filling out the rest with players I liked for whatever reason. Over the next couple of weeks, we will play the bracket out (including conversations on the radio show about it), and get our winner. So check out the bracket, make your picks (mock brackets are encouraged) and look for the best first round matchups (for sheer entertainment, I like Antoine Walker vs DeAndre Liggins, Rod Rhodes vs Patrick Patterson and Woo vs Doron Lamb). We will get the opening bell tomorrow.
With that in mind, a few thoughts on the weekend and week to come:
— Most of the weekend was focused on the NFL Draft for understandable reasons and there were some celebrations as Avery Williamson was taken in the 5th round by the Tennessee Titans. But we also got some good news with the continued good recruiting fortune for UK football. In addition to the three commitments last week of high quality players, the Cats had a number of good guys on campus this weekend as well. The train for 2015 keeps on rolling and over the course of the next week, we will be setting the table for you on who is in the class and where Kentucky stands with a number of top prospects. The most interesting comments of the weekend came from CJ Conrad, the 4 star Tight End who committed to the Cats on Friday. He said that one of the main reasons he chose Kentucky was his belief in the ability of Drew Barker to become a star at Kentucky and make him a better player. That quote illustrates what we have known for some time…mainly that the commitment of Drew Barker is one that will pay dividends for UK football not only on the field, but in recruiting, where he has the potential to be a difference maker the likes of which we haven’t seen.
Seemingly every year UK fans find their way on camera at the Players’ Championship…this year was no different.
— The most interesting basketball tidbit from the weekend came from an anonymous NBA GM who told the Sporting News that Kentucky could have the “makings of a good NBA team” if they were all drafted by the same team next year and kept together for three years. The comment (while maybe containing a little hyperbole) is illustrative of just how much raw talent next year’s group is and the crazy expectations that will most surely follow the guys from the moment they step on the court. The one thing that worries me (and makes me a bit hesitant with the GM’s comment) is that I still don’t think that UK has a certain “star” on the team as in year’s past. Calipari teams usually have guys that will be a lock as a star….Wall, Cousins, MKG, Davis, Noel, Randle and even Knight were guys that you knew would be star college players and for the most part, they all were. Kentucky has a roster loaded with good to VERY good players, but the only person that may be a “star” is Karl Towns. Now maybe Towns is even better than we think (and I think he will be very good), someone else emerges as that “star” or you don’t need a “star” when you have 10-12 really good college players. We don’t know, but what we do know is that the GM’s comments showcase that the talent next year could be mind-blowing.
— If you want to watch a potentially big story, check out the news put out Friday by The Ville Voice. They obtained a copy of this order:
What does this mean? Well it means the state has approved a lot of money to hire lawyers for UL on an emergency basis. The Ville Voice is hearing it is because the SEC and IRS are investigating the dealings between the Arena Authority and UL. That investigation may hinge on potential “self-negotiating” in which UL board members were also on the Arena Authority and thus gave UL its insanely favorably deal by dealing with itself. As the Ville Voice notes, much of this is speculative, but if true, could blow the top off a story that has stayed in the background for far too long…definitely worth watching in the weeks/months to come.
— There were many big life events for former Cats….Jorts got engaged, Jodie Meeks graduated from UK and Kyle Witljer graduated from Gonzaga. The last piece of news seemed the most surprising as Wiltjer hasn’t even played a game yet for the Zags and now has a degree. He finished in three years (thanks in large part to the academic work he did at UK) and now will have two years of eligibility at Gonzaga while already having his undergraduate degree. College is different nowadays (I saw “Neighbors” by the way this weekend…not the greatest but good enough that it is worth seeing if you don’t mind movies that are obscene (and this one is)).
We get back to a regular week this week as we welcome Tyler back from vacation and hit the news as it comes…UK football commit CJ Conrad comes on the radio show tomorrow and we start the Fight Bracket in full effect. See you folks then….