It was a great Memorial Day Weekend around the KSR Compound, as we saluted the Stars and Stripes and got ready for a big week ahead. I went for the first time to Rough River Lake, where the house I was staying at was right across the lake from Tom Jurich’s. His UL flag hanging off the top made for negative scenery, but otherwise it was a great time and I even got a tan. What else can you ask for? A few thoughts going into the last week of May:
— This was an epic weekend for UK’s bat and ball sports. The big news of course is the UK Softball team’s first ever trip to the Softball College World Series next weekend. The Cats won 2 of 3 on the road at UCLA, only one of the most storied programs in the sport’s history. I watched both games on Saturday and UK was clearly the better team and Rachel Lawson’s group deserves their trip for a chance to win the national title. The UK team is exciting, plays with great tenacity and was unbelievably fun to watch. The baseball team ended the weekend well by making the Men’s NCAA Baseball Tournament and they are assigned to the First Round in Louisville. It is a double elimination event, where the Cats open with Kansas and then also have UL and Kent State in their bracket. Another chance to play the Cards on the way to a NCAA Tournament run? One has to like that. Both of the teams’ successes once again confirms something that has been true for some time. Mitch Barnhart truly does a great job in the administering of UK’s athletic department as nearly every program in the school is SIGNIFICANTLY better than when he first arrived. The one that stands out as needing work is of course football and we feel strongly that we are on our way in that regard too. This weekend just reminded us that UK has become an “ALL Sports” school in the last decade and the AD that is often criticized deserves much credit in that regard.
Those of you that listen to the radio show know that we like people to send pictures on Twitter (@kysportsradio) or Snapchat (kysportsradio) to me of you listening to the show or the podcast. The ladies above sent us one of them listening on a beach on vacation. It was very nice but then four guys (who may or may not know them) sent their response…both made me happy:
— The 2015 UK Basketball Recruiting scene continues to get more interesting as the plethora of potential UK riches grows. The Cats already have Charles Matthews in the fold but the totality of the class continues to look more promising. Malik Newman says he is 100% committed to being a package deal with Diamond Stone, and if Kentucky is still the Newman leader (which most everyone says is true), then you could have three STUDS wrapped up in one big swoop…a huge situation. Jaylen Brown says he is interested in three schools primarily, Kentucky, Ohio State and UCLA and most people think the Cats are the leader. If one adds him, then your backcourt is taken care of and you really only need one more big guy. And now today, 2016 star Thon Maker, who I think is one of the most astounding high school players I have ever seen, says he is considering reclassifying to the 2015 class. Folks, Thon Maker is a star and the Cats will probably be fighting for him with Duke and one or two others. If they could SOMEHOW have a class with Matthews, Newman, Brown, Stone and Maker…well dare I say it, but it might be on paper a better class than the 2013 group. Lots still to happen to make that possible, but we can dream.
While I worked today, I had on the French Open a lot. There were some amazing matches, but nothing can quite top this press conference transcript that occurred when Frenchman Nicholas Mahut came in after a loss:
— The Rupp Arena debate continues to heat up, as more questions remain after the interviews on KSR Radio on Friday. Mayor Jim Gray and Governor Beshear both made clear that there is still distance between the city and UK and the legacy of last week may be that the distance got into public view for the first time. We now know there are disputes between the two about the financial plan, The “Team Rupp” process and also the strategy as a whole of UK staying in the background publicly. If the Rupp Arena Renovation is not dead, and I don’t think it is yet, it is certainly struggling on life support. The next step is probably for the city to replace (or put in the background), Brent Rice, the LCC head who took the tension up a great deal with his public letter, and have the city and University come together once and for all and put a public face on whatever is going to be the plan going forward. For now, the opponents of the plan had a big week (even though Senator Stivers chickened out of the interview…a move that could have been costly had Brent Rice not given him a a lifeline with his stupid unnecessarily aggressive letter to Eli Capiluoto) and the Mayor’s plan needs help after Stone Cold Capiluoto laid the smacketh downeth in a public takedown of the current state of the Rupp proposal. A project that seemed a slam dunk in March has been completely dismantled by May…you never know what will happen in the world of government/UK sports.
You may have heard a listener to KSR Radio call in and talk about his horse running in a race on Tuesday (it was a great call). A reader has found his horse and it is the favorite in the 8th race from post position 1, “Part N Parcel.” On Tuesday, we are all Part N Parcel…
— I am hearing really good things about the development of UK’s two Kentucky quarterbacks, Patrick Towles and Drew Barker. I spoke to someone close to the program this weekend who told me that the folks around UK were “blown away” by the progression of both young men and that they are very optimistic about the performance in the fall. Barker has shocked them with how quickly he is picking up everything involved with being a SEC quarterback, while Towles has improved “exponentially” according to the source. Patrick is working now with George Whitfield, the QB guru in California and is set on hitting the potential he had showed coming out of high school. Both movements are huge for the future of this program and should give encouragement to all of the BBN.
Finally, this was sent in by reader JTPatton, who saw a UK fan make an appearance on Tosh.O this week. Here’s to you Misti Moonshine for representing the Cats in blasting LinkedIn (which I will not join no matter how many emails I ever receive):
See you folks on radio and the site in the morning as we move our way to June and the month of death in UK sports (but July and August will be huge)…