Today is the Blue/White scrimmage. We'll have a tailgate up, as well as a live thread and the whole game day deal.
Tweet of the Morning
Kentucky will have 9 times as many McDonald's All-Americans on its roster next year as Louisville.— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) April 26, 2014
Heh. Absolutely hilarious. But that's Rick Pitino's style, eh? He needs 'em around for four years. Calipari just needs two, sometimes one.
Neal Brown calls Kentucky the "Commonwealth's team." Cardinal fans heads will be exploding in 3... 2... 1... :
"When I first get on the phone (with a recruit) or when a kid first comes here and I’m having my first conversation, that 51,000 at the spring game is one of the first things I talk about," Brown said. "I’m talking about, ‘Hey, our fan base is one of the best, if not the best in college sports,’ because there’s no NBA team, there’s no Major League Baseball team, there’s no NFL team. So UK athletics is it.
"The other team doesn’t want to hear that, but it’s it. We’re the show in town, in the state."
Ouch. Well, all I can say is, if we are going to talk the talk, we have to walk the walk, and honestly, the Cardinals have walked all over us two season in a row.
You feel me there, coach? As you might expect, Cardinal fans are having a little fun with that comment.
Mark Stoops, Neal Brown talk about the spring game after yesterday's practice. The Cliff's note's version:
- Today will mostly be the ones versus the twos.
- No live kicks.
- There will be some team-switching
- Format will be similar to last seasons
- First-team starting quarterback will be the leader for the spot
- Three will be separate sidelines for the two teams
- Ryan Timmons will be available, as will Thaddeus Snodgrass. That's really good news.
- Braylon Heard and Jojo Kemp have elevated themselves at running back. (Note: I have a man-crush on Braylon Heard. Sue me.)
- Demarco Robinson will be playing. That's good news.
There's lots more, including some pleasant surprises on the line. You should read the whole thing.
Athlon Sports thinks Kentucky should be concerned about point guard play, playing time, and expectations.
First of all, point guard play will surely be better next year than this year, and this year all Kentucky did was get to the NCAA Tournament finals.
Second, playing time wasn't a problem this season, and I doubt it will be a problem next season.
Finally, expectations. Seriously? After this season? Have these guys ever read a Kentucky blog, Twitter, or the comments on a newspaper site? Evidently not.
Of course, you will have high expectations, we always do. Yes, some fans will go nuts every time Kentucky loses a game — again, this is nothing new and happens every season at UK. But expectations cannot get any higher than this past season, and after experiencing that season, anyone who is going to allow themselves to become completely invested in the team to the extent that they expect 40-0 or something, all I can say is that they are on the wrong side of the old "Fool me once ..." saying.
What you mean, "Could be," Kimmosabe? Oh, right, you mean Doug Gottlieb. Well, he doesn't count.
Wildcat Blue Nation points to a Pat Forde tweet indicating Derek Willis may be considering transfer.
It is certainly possible. Willis will once again have to fight through a lot of players to get playing time. I think it's better if he stays, because a lot of player are likely to leave Kentucky after next season, and injuries and/or fighting his way to playing time are possible, all he has to do is look at Dominique Hawkins this past season.
Plus, if Poythress does not work out at the three, Willis will have a chance to get minutes there. But it will not be easy. Transfer is definitely an easier path to playing time. But if he wanted easy, coming to Kentucky was a really bad idea to begin with. Of course, he doesn't have to live with that decision.
Calipari in attendance at Nike EYBL on Friday night to evaluate recruits. How's that hip, coach?
Us in the media, mainly. People like Chad Ford of ESPN and Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, two people who are exceptional at their jobs, but it's an impossible job. Projecting the NBA draft status of a kid in high school, as the Harrison Twins were at this time last year? Impossible, unless that kid is LeBron James. And nobody ever said the Harrison Twins were the next LeBron James.
But everyone did say one or both of the Harrison Twins were lottery picks. Chad Ford said it last summer. Gary Parrish said it. Someone was telling them that, too. It's not like Ford, Parrish and mock drafters everywhere were just, on their own, deciding that a pair of 6-foot-5 high school seniors from Fort Bend, Texas, were better NBA prospects than all but a handful of players in college basketball and the amateur ranks around the world.
I think this is fair. Kentucky fans also failed them, in many ways, by railing against them when they didn't live up to their expectations. A number of A Sea of Blue members are now former members because of taking that criticism too far.
Doyel also points out that Kentucky is the new Duke, in his words, "...the new scary-good monster to hate...", and I think that's right. It's okay for "them" to hate us, though, because I think we all know what that actually represents. "They" do as well, and so do you, dear reader, so well leave those of lesser intelligence or purblind partisanship to scratch their heads about that.
Finally, consider this rather gentle, but scathing attack on a co-worker:
Good for them [the Harrison twins] for figuring it out. The system almost failed them, as it failed so many others who came before them, high school kids who were told they were ready for the NBA Draft and who believed it. Chad Ford, bless his heart, had the gumption to tell the Louisville Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker that Andrew Harrison, the point guard, "saw his draft stock fall from a top-10 pick into the second round" without explaining that the failure wasn't Andrew Harrison's. He didn't show up at Kentucky, surround himself with the best coaching, teammates and competition of his life, and somehow get worse. [My emphasis]
I'll just leave this right here. Hat tip: KSR
Michael Wilbon "knows" that Calipari has a problem with Kentucky fans, their expectations and scrutiny. Just one question, Michael — does Coach Cal know this?
He also thinks that pro jobs have more longevity "and more money." They actually pay this guy to say this stuff. And they do it on purpose.
I can only shake my head in amazement. It's not worth a rebuttal, heck, even Duke or Louisville fans would probably object to this stupidity. Which tells you something.
Serious thought.. I do believe Kentucky will go undefeated next year.. Seriously— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) April 25, 2014
I don't think so. Even if it does happen, does it really matter? All that matters, I think, is competing for #9, and if we don't go too far overboard, maybe we can even enjoy a journey that includes a few losses. This past year taught me a lot, and Dan Dakich's irrational exuberance, real or fake, is not dragging me back to repeat the frustrations of last season. It's so unnecessary.
We almost went through another "season without joy" last year. I suggest we don't go there again, get on board and just enjoy the ride. Whether we win it all or not, I think there will be a lot of fun to be had along the way if we'll just let ourselves enjoy it and embrace the inevitable hate. Hat tip: KSR
The thought of the twins coming back with several other of Kentucky's role players from this club, as well as the incoming recruits, is just scary.
So it begins. Look, in what world does Kentucky not deserve a pre-season #1 ranking? After all, UK was runner-up this past season and returns 60+% of their scoring and rebounding, not to mention the #2 recruiting class. On paper, Kentucky deserves nothing less than a #1 ranking. In practice, they may not live up to it, but my money would be on them anyway.
Other Kentucky sports
61 UK athletes are on the 2013-14 SEC Academic Honor Roll, 4th most among all SEC teams. Congrats to all. Men's basketball had five, including Jarrod Polson and Alex Poythress.
Softball drops opener to Tennessee. Second game is today with first pitch at 5 PM.
Mitch McGary has nobody to blame but himself, according to Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press:
Mitch McGary isn’t a victim. Anyone who thinks he is should fill up a specimen cup to see what they’ve been smoking.
The Michigan center knew the rules. He willingly broke them when he admittedly smoked marijuana following the Wolverines’ regular season. His postseason indiscretion fell underneath the much stricter purview of NCAA punishment for recreational drug use, rather than the more lenient Michigan policy.
He's right. Even though I don't agree with the NCAA policy, it is a rule and players must abide by it or face the straightforward, if Draconian consequences. Even though Michigan's policy which would have controlled before or after the tournament, the NCAA has a perfect right to set rules about smoking marijuana during its tournament even though I may think that rule is outside their mandate.
To McGary's credit, he isn't excusing his behavior or asking for leniency, and to Michigan's credit, they are being very honest about the affair. Even though McGary did a dumb and illegal thing, taking it like a man is laudable. Good for him.
ESPN's president doesn't like the one-and-done rule either. Well, I guess that makes it unanimous.
Other sports news
Dick Vitale points out that coaching in college, despite the coaching carousel there, offers far more stability than coaching in the NBA.:
There is absolutely no stability for coaching in the NBA. You can have great success, even be the coach of the year one season, then gone the next. Go ask George Karl about stability. He is a brilliant leader, but he lost his job and ended up broadcasting instead of sitting on the bench. That is an absolute joke.
For once, Vitale is absolutely right in every aspect — coaching in the NBA has become a joke, and a really, really bad one at that. Why anyone would want to do it is beyond my comprehension.
Tom Ziller wonders if Russell Westbrook is the right guy for the Oklahoma City Thunder to have on the roster with Kevin Durant:
Of course, possessions used are a zero-sum game. Every shot taken by Westbrook is a possession that guys like Ibaka, Sefolosha, Reggie Jackson or one of the other guys doesn't get. Every possession used by Westbrook is, of course, one that Durant doesn't get, which is a famous concern in basketball analysis. What often gets overlooked in such discussions is that Durant gets plenty of possessions. Westbrook's outsized role doesn't so much impact Durant as it impacts the Thunder's Nos. 3, 4 and on down.