Crawford and Bradley
Joe and Ramel recently ended their second NBA pre-draft camp. Somewhat surprising to some was the solid play of Joe Crawford. He seems to have helped himself immensely by displaying an ability to score the ball from multiple spots on the floor. His strength has also garnered some attention. He has an NBA ready body, and he knows how to use his strength and agility to get to the rim. According to Aran Smith from nbadraft.net , Crawford has a good chance of going in the second round of the upcoming draft.
Ramel on the other hand did not perform up to expectations, especially considering the strong showing he had at the Portsmouth Invitational a few weeks ago. The knock on Ramel seems to be his decision-making, which should come as no surprise for two reasons: he's not really a point guard, and he's started less than fifty games at the position. But I feel some adventurous, yet wise GM will recognize this fact and take a chance on Smooth. Recognizing a players growth potential can be difficult to discern, but not all NBA decision-makers are incompetent.
I wish only the best for Joe and Ramel. They will always hold a special place in the hearts of UK fans.
Hunter and the Elite
Recent UK fan-base heartthrob Hunter McClintock performed his vast arsenal of jump shots and ankle-breakers at the UK Elite Camp this past weekend. KSR published a thirty-nine second video of the boy wonder plying his wares at the camp. After viewing the most recent video , and reviewing the seven-plus minutes worth of video previously made available, I have come to a few conclusions on McClintock:
1. Tru was right on target with his analysis of McClintock a few weeks ago. I agree with everything Tru wrote about the young man, except for one or two caveats. Where Tru thinks McClintock is not a great passer yet, I feel that he shows a real talent for finding the open man, and a gift for putting the ball in perfect position. I feel McClintock also has incredible handles; the ball is an extension of his hand ( think Macy, Hardin, Ford, and Turner ). In my opinion these two attributes make him an interesting candidate for a scholarship offer.
2. As we all know making final judgments on a player based on eight minutes of Internet video is a foolish undertaking, but some aspects of a players game are readily apparent. What we don't know about the kid though, could fill up a thousand column inches. Therein lies the rub. He has obvious talents, but without seeing him in a more "real game-like" setting it is impossible to determine whether he is capable of playing at a high level in the SEC. He has cool hair though.
I also learned something about "Elite Camps": they don't play defense. In the thirty-nine second video of McClintock, I didn't witness one defensive move by anyone, other than a swipe. It looked to me more like a school yard game, rather than an organized camp setting. But I suppose that is understandable. There simply isn't enough time teach game-planning.
Cowgill and Carroll
Former UK baseball players Collin Cowgill and Sawyer Carroll were recently named All-America performers, becoming the first two Wildcats so honored in the same year.
Carroll set two UK records: he drove in 86 runs ( season record), and he posted a .386 career batting average. He also led the SEC in hitting at .419 this past year. He is to be congratulated. I am sure he has a long professional career to look forward to.
Cowgill scored a UK record 80 runs this past year. He also hit .361 with 19 home runs.
UK's baseball program also set a team record for most players selected in the MLB draft with seven ( four in the first ten rounds ). They also had nine signed players drafted.
Both Cowgill and Carroll should be recognized as the pillars of reconstruction for the UK baseball program. They are responsible to a high degree for the incredible turnaround the baseball team has shown over the last five years. Along with Ryan Strieby and Sean Coughlin, they represent four All-America selections in the last three seasons for UK. Quite an accomplishment by Coach Cohen and his staff, as well as the tremendously talented players.
Coach Henderson, you have quite the large Floursheims to fill.
Bill Curry's Comeback
No, Ken isn't pulling a prank or trying to be funny. As reported by the 67% approved John Clay, Curry will be taking over the reins of the newly minted Georgia State football program. I've always liked Curry, even though his record at UK wasn't stellar ( being kind, I know).
Whenever I think of Curry's time at UK ( it isn't often ), five distintive memories come to mind:
1. Marty Moore fumbling, instead of falling down, after his interception at the end of the game in the '93 Peach Bowl versus Clemson. Extreme disappointment.
2. Moe Williams. Williams was awesome.
3. Billy Jack Haskins playing his hind quarters off versus Tennessee ( '95? ). That performance is still one of the absolute best efforts I have ever witnessed by a single player, in a single game. He nearly, must it always be nearly, beat UT singlehandedly.
4. Signing Tim Couch. I remember thinking that if Curry didn't sign Couch, they might as well lock the doors to Commonwealth Stadium. The announcement that Couch was going to attend UK brought more relief than joy.
5. Danny Wuerfell to Chris Doerring. UK had led Florida for the ENTIRE game. The 'Cats were up by as many as twenty-one points. But in true UK fashion ( by that I mean cursed ), the Gators scored the winning touchdown with seven (?) seconds remaining. Deflation begins.
Curry was simply a good man who didn't embrace change. I do wish him luck, he will be a great ambassador for the Georgia State program.
As reported by Tru earlier, former UK wideout Stevie "Can't catch me" Johnson is opening many a Buffalo Bill eye with his play in camp. The seventh round draft pick is doing what he did at UK; basically being unstoppable. It is good to see that Johnson will definitely make the team, and will vie for playing time once the season begins. Wideouts usually take a couple of years to develop, but Johnson's ability to get open, and his money-hands may leave the coaching staff no choice but to play him. Considering Lee Evans is the only receiver guaranteed a starting spot, Johnson could certainly compete for playing time.
What I don't know: how can NFL GM's miss out on Johnson's abilities? Didn't they watch any of his game film? Tyke Tolbert, Buffalo GM, said that the LSU game sold him on Johnson's talents ... it's good someone was paying attention. Good luck, Steve.
Something I didn't know about John Pelphrey
One thinks he knows someone, but he really doesn't. That would be the case for me and John Pelphrey. I thought I knew quite a bit about the former UK star, and member of the Unforgettables. But I didn't .
It seems as though Pelphrey lost a child in 2003. John Patrick, Pelphrey's infant son, was diagnosed with a "rare blood disorder" and later died. Being the father of two young girls, I still cannot even imagine how painful losing a child must be. Pelphrey though, in true John Pelphrey fashion, has rebounded from his trauma and formed a charitable organization which concentrates on "neonatal research and care facilities".
I encourage you to read Jerry Tipton's piece . It is a must read if one cares at all about Pelphrey.
We all wish Tru and his wife a safe return to the continental United States. Let's hope the first errand Tru performs upon his return isn't sending out pink slips.
Happy Birthday to my sister Wendy, her daughter Mallory, and her husband Travis. Their respective birthdays were the 1st, 4th, and 11th of June. Happy Birthday guys!
Thanks for reading, and Go 'Cats!