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Wah Wah Jones’s Monday News and Views

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UK lost one of its legends early this morning as Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones passed away at the age of 88. The Harlan County native’s life reads like a storybook example of what makes Kentucky sports great. He grew up in deep Eastern Kentucky, where he was a baseball, basketball and football star at a time that the best athletes played all three. He went to the state Basketball Tournament four times, helping Harlan win the title in 1944. While at UK, he had a legendary career like none other, playing football and basketball at a high level, earning All American honors in the process. He was part of one of the greatest teams in UK Basketball history, the “Fabulous Five” of 1948 that not only won the NCAA title, but were then made part of the US Olympic Team that won the Gold Medal in 1948. His athletic exploits are legendary and he was called by John Calipari today, “perhaps the greatest athlete in UK history.” He was also one of our last remaining links to the golden years of UK Athletics, as he played for both Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant in Lexington. I met Wah Wah on a couple of occasions later in life, and he couldn’t have been more gracious, telling me stories about games he played against Middlesboro during his high school years. He was also part of one of the more special events I have ever attended at Rupp, when he and Anthony Davis were honored with their gold medals in 2012, a symbol of the great living tradition of Kentucky basketball. Wah Wah Jones in the epitome of the Big Blue Nation tradition and KSR’s prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends.

With that, a few notes from the weekend:

The basketball team begins practice for the Bahamas in full force on Monday, getting 10 days of practices in which to get ready for the trip to the island. The excitement around the basketball facility is palpable, as everyone realizes just what a special season this can be. The plan in the Bahamas, at least for the first couple of games, is likely to be to play two separate five man teams an equal amount of the game. That may change for the latter games, but this will give all ten of the main players a chance to get full work and showcase themselves. That means big things for Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee, who will likely get extended periods on the court and be able to get into their groove and contribute. The playing time may switch afterwards as they try different rotations but this “two team” concept should be very entertaining to watch for the early games. All of the games will be at 1 pm, the first three on ESPNU, the second three on the new SEC Network and all of them on radio. We will be doing KSR LIVE from the Bahamas, Ryan will host an extra 30 minutes of the show and then there will be a half hour IMG show leading into the game….all of which means if you are at work, you can listen to UK basketball on the radio from 10 am to 3:30 pm for an entire week in August. That’s pretty cool.

Julius Randle was in town this weekend…and everyone sent us pictures. Here were my three favorites, the first because of what is happening in the background, the second because it was very cool to get Couch and Julius together in a pic and the third because it made me laugh:

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— In the basketball recruiting world, we learned again that Jaylen Brown is really damn good. He played on ESPNU on Sunday and I was once again amazed at his talent. He is so graceful on the court, can get to the rim against anyone and is literally perfect for the Calipari system. Everyone continues to seem negative about Kentucky’s chances but I still don’t buy it. UCLA, Kansas and his home state Georgia schools will be tough, but I know he is target #1 for Calipari and until I hear something different, I still think UK has a very good shot. Either the way, the kid can ball and watching him is a pleasure.

We also have confirmation that Stephen Zimmerman is coming to Big Blue Madness…great get by Kentucky to have him in the building on what will be a huge recruiting weekend.

— The “Coaches for the Kids” event was this weekend and while it was “off the record” (meaning we can’t tell any juicy gossip), one thing was clear (and repeatable)…this football staff is amped up for the season. Every conversation with these guys from Mark Stoops to the Graduate Assistants reveals the same thing…they believe the team is going to be much better and they can’t wait to show it. Last year was a humbling season for everyone involved and while the learning curve was going to always be steep, it ended up being much steeper than people thought. But there are now athletes in the program of another level, and it is about time to see some positive steps. We keep hearing great things about two guys…Patrick Towles and Ryan Timmons…two Kentucky kids who will play a huge role in this offense and the season. I can’t wait to see them get started. The team officially reports next Sunday, with practice beginning Monday. Get ready…

The Women’s clinic was this weekend…our own Brennan English was there and has a great report below…the star was of course Zadarius, who is here with KSR Radio Super Fan Marsha Poe

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— Finally, a short note on football recruiting. Yes, Kentucky lost out on George Brown and CJ Conrad (who is committed to UK) went to the Ohio State Friday Night Lights event (but didn’t yet get an offer). But I am hearing some rumblings of good news coming very shortly that could have us all very happy before we depart for the Bahamas. “Bermuda, Bahamas, come on pretty Mama…Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don’t We Go Yahtzee?” (Reading that back, that is really awful…but its been a long weekend and I am going with it either way).

The West side of the state treated us great with massive crowds and unbelievable energy. We only have five stops left on the tour….DANVILLE, NORTHERN KY, MAYSVILLE, LEXINGTON and LOUISVILLE. Mark Stoops and Slice Rohrrsen will join us at the Lexington stop and Neal Brown is going to be on with us during the Danville stop (his home town). Northern Kentucky should be great at Dickmann’s and Louisville is where someone wins a trip to the Bahamas. Should be a great week.

We are now just a little over a month away from this time of year

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Article written by Matt Jones

23 Comments for Wah Wah Jones’s Monday News and Views



  1. Michael
    10:51 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I like the optimism about football, and I think we will be better, but I don’t see that translating into wins this season. The talent gap is still ginormous and Stoops still hasn’t proved he is a good enough coach to win games (although to be fair he hasn’t proven that he isn’t). The unfortunate fact is that we play in the most dominant conference in college athletics, and the SEC is the Goliath to our David. I would actually be encouraged if we can win our 3 “gimmie” games this year, firstly because we haven’t won all of our so called easy games the past two years (see: WKU), but also because I don’t think those wins will be as easy as people think. Win those 3 games and I’m on board to be optimistic. I think you have to play Vandy close, at least make it a 1 possession game and maybe sneak out a win. The other 8 games just hope you can be in at least a couple and the ones that we inevitably get blown out in make sure it is within 30. I think this team can be good in a couple of years (good meaning competing for Music City Bowls again, Kentucky Football is never going to win the SEC East as long as the NCAA exists), but for now without a QB and any elite defensive SEC talent outside our two ends, the mountain is too steep to climb.



    • ukfan
      12:00 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Good post but it disagree that UK will never win the SEC east.. I think it is very possible to win the east within the next 5 years. For one, Stoops is recruiting at a level we’ve never seen before, and I don’t know about you but I can’t wait until the day where the entire team is made up of Stoops players. Then, once those kids become Juniors or Seniors is when I think we can make a run at it. Imagine Barker and Elam as a senior, and If we get him Damien Harris as a junior. Woah. Hell we were ranked high as 7 in the country in 07 and the talent level on that team is no where near as strong as the talent Stoops and his staff are bringing in. You say we can never win it, I say #WhyNot



  2. vinnycent
    10:53 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    today is the 27th his number is 27.



  3. CatFanDu
    10:54 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    That selfie with Julius is awesome sauce!



  4. Irl Stevens
    10:55 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Someone should make a movie about Jones. Wah Wah, not Matt!!!!!!!



  5. ukfan
    10:56 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Great post Matt, I want to address one thing though. I really think that you should give the Bahamas trip away at the stop in Lexington rather than Louisville. Give it to the people who live in this great city, the people who live only minutes from Rupp Arena and Commonwealth Stadium. Give the people of Lexington a chance to win the trip, it’s only right Matt. Kentucky fans who live in Louisville have probably drove hundreds of times to Lexington to watch games, so if they want a chance to win the trip then they can drive themselves down Thursday morning for yet another time. However, the people of Lexington hardly ever drive to Louisville, and it’s not fair to ask them to drive to Louisville for a chance to win tickets to watch the team from their city play in a once-in-a-lifetime event at the Bahamas. Please think about it.



    • James K
      11:30 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      That is really stupid. There are a ton of UK fans in Louisville that love UK just as much. Sorry man, stupid. I just don’t see any logical basis for a request like that.



    • catdaddyd
      11:34 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      Idiotic. Do you not understand how this works?



    • ukfan
      11:45 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t care how many UK fans live in Louisville, they could double the fans in Lexington and my position still wouldn’t change. Lexington is the home of Kentucky basketball, not Louisville! Don’t you think that there are Duke fans that live on the North Carolina side of Tobacco Road? How would Duke fans that live on the Duke side of Tobacco Road feel if tickets to their teams summer trip were given away on the North Carolina side of the road? They would feel ripped off. Lexington is where Kentucky basketball is at, we should get the chance to win.



    • Buckets
      1:15 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Good lord, people will complain about ANYTHING.



    • CATandMONKEY
      1:49 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Wow. UK belongs to the STATE of Kentucky. It just happens to be located in Lexington. Why should it matter where Matt is when the name is drawn? The people who are finalists have been signed up from all over the state. Again…Wow.



    • Ukfan
      7:44 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Yea my bad guys I’m an idiot.. I didnt realize how this worked until this morning, I thought he was picking a winner from the crowd at the Louisville show. Sorry Matt, my bad.



    • CATandMONKEY
      8:01 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

      UKFan, props to you. We are all UK fans. Peace and Go Cats!



  6. Just Guessing
    11:22 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Zimmerman. Big white kid. I say Arizona or Kansas.



  7. Sinful
    11:42 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Any percent chance we can get Jaylen Brown, Malik and Diamond, and Diallo to come in with Matthews? Any chance at all!?



    • ukfan
      11:47 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      Yea and maybe Lebron, KD, and Melo will all come too!



  8. BBN
    12:16 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    So you’re telling us Towles is the starter. I’m pumped!!! Love the discrete messages Matt sneaks in without making it a profound statement. Let’s go!!!!!!



  9. ZAK8898
    12:35 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    On the occasion of the Muslim celebration of Eid-ul-Fitri at the end of 30 days of fasting in the month of Ramadan, I would like to wish all Muslim BBN and Kentucky Wildcats fans around the world a joyous Eid Mubarak. Hope you have a blessed celebration with family and friends and pray for peace around the world.



    • Bobbum man
      7:44 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

      No one cares



  10. Buckets
    1:14 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    RIP, Wah Wah.



  11. KG
    9:52 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Love the KSR “around the state tours” but you seem to have over looked the fact that Ashland is actually in Kentucky! Just a reminder…………



  12. TheMcLain
    11:02 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Very nice writeup about “Wah Wah”, Matt. Not only a treasure of the University but also the Southeastern Kentucky in general. Always had a great story to tell about anything sports related. Hope they do something special to honor him in Lexington this season.



  13. Jimmy
    11:24 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Wah Wah Jones is a class act guy. The other Jones, Matt, not so much.