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Sunday Newspaper for April 19th, 2009

The John Calipari Lovefest continues for the 18th straight day as UK fans from near and far heap their adoration one the new Kentucky basketball coach.  This piece by Jerry Tipton describes a recent appearance on Joe B. Hall's radio program followed by a lunch which saw Coach Cal make many new friends and continue to make a big impression on the Big Blue Nation.

For some reason, it feels like I have been writing a society column for a newspaper lately reporting on this stuff, but I think the remarkable contrast between Calipari's hiring and that of former coach Billy Gillispie continues to captivate not only my attention, but that of many other people who follow Kentucky sports.

But according to the article, he expects to have critics, and make no mistake, he already does.  They have been largely drowned out in the local love affair that has consumed the Bluegrass for three weeks now, but at some point, all the fuss will die down and the naysayers, the "Miserables," as Calipari calls them, will start to find their voice.  We may not be treated with mug shots from past indiscretions, as we were with Coach Gillispie, but trust me, critics and rivals will find a way to work themselves under our collective skin.

And now, the news.

Kentucky Basketball News

  • Jon Hood and DeMarcus Cousins named to the Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern team.  Congratulations to both young men.
  • According to former UK commitment Michael Avery, he had to grow up a lot in the last year.  In the same article, Vinnie Zollo says he is still committed to Kentucky.
  • Calipari jokes that he thinks DeAndre Liggins was the subject of some And-1 tapes, but he is getting better and better.
  • Calipari likes what he sees in the 'Cats so far, and Perry Stevenson is having fun learning the new offense, even through struggles with it. [via Aaron's blog]
  • Could a home-and-home series with Arizona be in Kentucky's future?  I would not mind seeing that at all.
  • Dime Magazine says that Calipari is trying to become the new Coach K.
  • This editorial from Tom Eblen of the Herald-Leader makes a lot of sense to me.  It seems like the UK Athletics Association should provide much more than 1.2 million to the university.  I would love to see UK either defend this figure, or consider revising it upward substantially.  If the University of Kentucky is paying one red cent to support the athletics program, I think there is a real problem there that should be addressed.  And I think a 10% "tithe" to the University is more than reasonable, based only on what little I know.
  • Maxpreps thinks that the odds John Wall will pick UK is only 5%.  North Carolina leads with 35%.
  • Konner Tucker is a pretty smart guy.  4.1 GPA?  Back in my day, you couldn't get those.

Kentucky Football News

  • Wildcats use the "Wildcat" successfully in scrimmage.  As Rich Brooks points out, this is a little different than normal Wildcat formations in that Randall Cobb can throw the football.  Usually, you are putting a running back or receiver back there who can make plays, but can rarely throw the football.
  • Randall Cobb says getting hit never felt better.  I can't wait to see him as a sophomore.
  • Rich Brooks, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer reject the entitlement mentality that seems to infect so many players nowadays.  Unfortunately, I think that is a problem Rich Brooks wouldn't mind having to address more often.

Other Kentucky Sports News

  • Patty Jo Hedges-Ward will be inducted in to the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Mississippi State evens the series with UK by way of a walk-off homer in the 10th.

NCAA Sports News

  • New Memphis coach Josh Pastner took a shot luring at Illinois' assistant Jerrance Howard, Bruce Weber's best recruiter, to Memphis.  Fortunately for the Illini, Howard turned down Pastner's advances.

Other News of Interest

  • Tayshaun Prince disappoints in the Piston's loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-84.  Motown String Music says that Tayshaun was much the worst player on the floor for the Pistons in that affair.  Here's  hoping he turns that around next game.
  • A Derek Rose-Rajon Rondo showdown.  Both were great, but Rose's team got the W.  I also note a major complaint about Joakim Noah's screen setting in this post.  All I can say is that I can totally relate -- Noah pancaked Rondo on several moving picks back in the day.  He's still getting away with it, apparently.
  • A must-read blog from The Dream Shake about former Wildcat Chuck Hayes.  here is a taste:  "Hayes may be all of 6'6" and have the worst offensive game in the NBA, but when it comes to defense, you do not want him guarding you."

    But, dear God in Heaven that man has a butt-ugly stroke.  I don't remember it being that bad at UK -- talk about your devolution!