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A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Looking around Al Gore's Folly this morning revealed a few items that I think deserve a little more comment.

First of all, Matt Jones has a post (his server is down at the moment, apparently back up now) with this little nugget from a former UK player who has been around the team a bit recently:

Second, this player thinks the story to watch this year will be the Joe Crawford situation and how Alex Legion is utilized. As we have heard from other sources as well, this player is concerned with how Joe is taking to the new staff and what his role is going to be. He believes that Joe may not start all the time and that Crawford will have to accept his role in order to succeed. Similarly, the player said that Alex Legion is a star in the making and the most likely recipient of time lost by Crawford.....this dynamic is one that could go any direction and may be the most interesting subplot of the year.
Ok, so for those of you who thought I was off base about Crawford, here is more indirect evidence that Crawford is not exactly embracing his most recent opportunity to excel.  Of course, it is very early in the season, and what is happening now  is an adjustment period for both the players and the coaches.  Just because Crawford is looking challenged at the moment doesn't mean he won't rise up and take it.  But my guess is, Joe was expecting to be handed the 2-guard spot this year, and he is finding out that a new coach means all the old stuff, good or bad, is pretty much history.  It's what you're doing now that matters.

Not to beat my chest, but I made exactly this same point in an earlier post, and I haven't watched one minute of practice other than Big Blue Madness.  These two guys know of each other, and coming from the same state, may well have crossed paths more than we think/know.  I am going on record right now and saying that the Crawford/Legion dynamic is a potential source of serious internal conflict for this team.  How serious is hard to tell, but if you think Crawford is going to go quietly into a diminished role in his senior year, I think you are mistaken.  Gillispie had better beware, he has not had to deal with prima donnas like we  are wont to get at Kentucky, and this situation could well be his biggest challenge all year.

Continuing with the basketball theme for a moment, we will learn a lot about this team from it's first exhibition game when Pikeville College rolls into Rupp Arena.  Yes, I know Pikeville is just a glorified scrimmage, but here are some of the things Wildcat fans should be keeping an eye on:

  • How do different groups work together?
  • How well do our young guys play defense?
  • How are we looking on the free throw line?
  • Is Ramel leading the team by getting others involved, or by trying to shoulder the burden himself?
  • The Crawford/Legion dynamic.
  • Mark Coury -- many reports are indicating that Gillispie loves this guy.
  • Ramon Harris's game -- something we have never actually seen.
  • How much have our sophomores improved?

I'm sure you can think of others, and we'll rehash all this as we get closer to tipoff.  I'll be in the comments of the game thread all during that game, as I want to get as many of your observations as possible.  To me, the exhibition games are really important in that a lot of things expose themselves which get hidden later in the season by the importance of the games and tightening of the rotation.  This is a chance to really learn a lot about where we are, and where we are likely to wind up.

Switching gears now to football, there is a post up by Rick Bozich which is annoying in it's Big East partisanship:
The SEC is tough. So is the Big East. So is the Pac 10. Every BCS league can be tougher putting more poof in your hair than Donald Trump.

And to all those SEC wonks, I'll just say this:

West Virginia 38, Miss State 13.
You know, this is just the sort of stupid remark that makes me want to write a scathing comment on his "blog".  Of course, I have way too much to do writing scathing comments on this blog to bother with Bozich, but you get the idea. 

Just one question, Rick -- What does the strongest team in one conference beating one of the 3 weakest teams in another at home say about relative conference strength?  That's right, Rick, nothing.  Zip.  Zero.  Bupkis.  Nada. 

Why don't you stick to basketball?  Oh, that's right -- not exactly your long suit, either.  Perhaps you should just stick to generic observations and avoid those that require real analysis skills.  That way, you have less chance of coming off looking like you wrote the entire article the morning after a 36-hour pub crawl.

Finally, Messenger at Wildcats Thunder has an excellent post up today (well, it was up yesterday, really).  It's long, but it is wort the time it takes to read.  This part, however, threw me for a loop:
As I read fan posts on various internet sites, I am seeing new calls for various members of UK's coaching staff (including both coordinators, and even Coach Brooks himself) to be replaced. I see fans questioning this team's heart and character. These posts are not just coming from a few troublemakers, either. There is a lot of that stuff out there right now. I think it is time to put all of this in perspective....again.
What the ...?  Can this be right?  A quick perusal of the usual places confirms that, sadly, Messenger is correct.  Well, we can all be thankful that this sort of insanity doesn't infect our little corner of the Internet, but it sure makes me want to rethink the praise I had been heaping on Kentucky fans vis-a-vis the football team.

Maybe our Internet detractors are right.  Perhaps Kentucky fans are just completely devoid of any sense of reality or proportion, and live as a group in some kind of Big Blue Fantasy where all the teams win every contest by lopsided margins.

What a boring place that would be.