My wife, who must be one of the luckiest horse race bettors on the planet, has been in a bit of a slump lately. Friday, she blanked utterly. The last two Derbys, she has failed to scratch. We were beginning to fear that her mojo had finally fled.
But yesterday, in Kentucky Derby 133, that all came to a screeching halt, she hit the Derby trifecta, and the sun has started rising in the East once more.
But this is a Kentucky board, and that means we talk mostly about Kentucky basketball here. So with no further ado, I'll get to it.
First of all, Alex Legion's commitment has apparently cast some doubt on our recruitment of Willie Warren. Matt Jones has the tidbit here, although he attributes it to the character of the player, and he may well be right. Let's hope so.
Hidden somewhere amongst coverage of the Kentucky Dery, the Courier-Journal has an article today that chronicles Billy Gillispie's rise from a high school coach sweeping his own gym floor to leader of the Big Blue Nation. I liked this in particular:
He called basketball people he respected in the state and asked, "Who's the best recruiter in Texas?"
"Of the five or six guys I asked," Self said, "four or five said Billy Gillispie."
Read the entire article.
Former coach Tubby Smith continues to laud his time as Kentucky coach, and even intimates to a television reporter that he may want to retire in the Bluegrass:
"Bitterness?" he replied. "No. Kentucky certainly is a place someday that maybe we will retire to."
We'd be proud to have you here, coach.
Continuing a return to focus on basketball and away from the Derby, the Courier-Journal has this article about coach Gillispie's Texas recruiting connections, and it makes my mouth water:
Texas is an absolute hotbed of basketball talent, rivaled only perhaps by Indiana and California. If Gillispie can remain true to his Texas roots and consistently bring in players from that state, UK's return to the top of college basketball will be considerably shortened.
What surprises me is how a man who has been in the college head coaching game for such a relatively short period of time has made so many contacts among college recruits. It truly says something about Gillispie's skill as a recruiter and tireless work ethic that he is that well known in such a large state.
The Lexington Herald-Leader has this article which looks at the 25 people in Kentucky likely to have an impact between now and Derby 134. I think they have compiled a good list, although how Derrick Caracter managed to get to #8 is a bit of a mystery to me, even beating out his coach at #14. Traitor Rick is probably fuming today ...
The HL also has this article fully laden with great tidbits, including Glynn Cyprien's Katrina connections, increased Kentucky recruiting of Al-Farouq Aminu, a visit from 2008 5-star Tyler Zeller, and this:
What do you suppose Billy Gillispie will be doing while Billy D. & friends are over in Ireland, swilling Guinness and three-putting greens, hmm??? I love this Gillispie guy.
Oh, and happy birthday to J.P. Blevins. Many happy returns.
Here's an illumination of the recent Memphis Grizzlies' flirtation with Billy Donovan. Interesting, especially this comment:
Update [2007-5-6 18:38:6 by Truzenzuzex]: Commenter boobs tells us that Taurean Green has signed with an agent. That means Jai Lucas would have a free shot at Florida's point guard next year. Very bad news for UK, I would say.