We are in New York City playing around with the tennis folks while back in Kentucky it seems as if virtually nothing is going on. That is good, as this week before the first football game tends to be the calm before the storm. Calipari and his team are taking a breather after the last few whirlwind weeks and even recruiting is on a bit of a lull. So for now, we go with the little news that has taken place:
— As I said the other night, I really think UK’s stance with Jaylen Brown has improved and they will have a very good shot in the long haul. Along with Brown, I expect you will see an increased pursuit of a couple of big men in the next two weeks, Caleb Swanigan and Skal Labissiare. Kentucky has wanted both guys for a long time, but the Cats believe these guys had a great summer and you may see a bit of a full court press on both players. Skal is the more polished and Kentucky is likely one of the top two with Memphis for his services. We all know it is hard to get a kid from there to pass up the Tigers, but Calipari has a lot to sell and I could see this heating up quickly for a player that some REALLY love. Swanigan was the best of the 2015 bigs this summer at the Peach Jam, if you talk about performance in that weekend only. He wasn’t that good before and he hasn’t been that good since, but a great weekend in the biggest event of the year turns heads. Kentucky liked him a lot (and fell for him while watching another big target Chieck Diallo) and would love to get in on his selection. Michigan State, Indiana and other schools have been involved for a while so we will likely find out in the next couple of weeks if Kentucky is making the necessary moves to get to the forefront of his recruitment.
— Hated to hear about the injury to Devante Parker. He is a kid who probably should have gone to the Draft and his decision to return was always dangerous. He will miss 6-8 weeks, causing some problems for the Cards early, but likely giving them a big weapon by the UK game. I always want the Cards to struggle, but I never root for injuries, so the Parker news was disappointing.
— Speaking of the Cards, I was told by some folks in Kentucky this week that UL is “grooming the UL version of Matt Jones” to take on Kentucky and Calipari. I find this notion laughable, but the name is apparently John Ramsey, a former tv and radio guy in Louisville. I know very little about John except he is remarkably tan and has muscles that are too large for a man his age. I haven’t listened to him yet, but I will almost guarantee failure at this endeavor. Being the “Matt Jones” of UL is a silly enterprise as the fan bases are not the same. Kentucky’s is bigger and more passionate and the statewide area makes creating this tide of momentum much easier. Plus, while it often looks like we don’t know what we are doing (and we sometimes don’t), there is a method to our madness and the idea that you can just recreate it, especially with a 20 year media veteran is silly. Going after Louisville is easy…you have Jurich, Pitino and Petrino giving us endless rounds of material on a daily basis. But trying to replicate what we do, especially with an individual who has neither the intelligence, fan standing or personality to be up to the task, will be a laughable failure and should be fun to watch on our end.
— There is so much to watch for in Kentucky’s first game on Saturday, but one of my main interests is seeing what WR Dorian Baker finally looks like on the field. Jared Lorenzen said on the radio with me today that he thought Baker was “The kind of receiver we have never had at Kentucky.” He is big, fast and has an athleticism that is of the highest elite status. While he won’t be starting, he will surely play and I expect him to make some plays early this season that we simply haven’t seen at Kentucky. He has the biggest chance to be a future WOW player of almost anyone on the team. I can’t wait to see him get started.
— We are in the process of trying to work out a KSR and BBN go to see Damien Harris day in October. On one of either two days (the ESPNU game versus Pulaski County or the Boyle County game at the end of the month), we will do our show live from Berea, have an afternoon in the town and then go to the game as a collective KSR fan base. We want all of you to mark your calendars (when we announce the day) and plan to come to the game. A collective showing will obviously be great and it will be a lot of fun to see the highest ranked recruit in Kentucky since Tim Couch in action.
As you know, Drew and I are up here doing our Tennis thing for Tennis Channel. It has been a lot of fun already, has led to some good stories (hopefully you heard our “bitch ass racket” story from this morning’s radio show) and will be good for KSR as we continue to make connections that help the show. If you get a chance, do us a favor and check out our work below at the “OUTER COURTS” blog. It has some classic KSR writing, you will find it funny even if you don’t care about tennis and you will be supporting the site. Thanks in advance.
See you folks tomorrow….