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The Big Blue Daily Mail -- News for Kentucky Wildcat fans, May 11th 2009

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As you can see, I have renamed the daily news, links and commentary post into something that is both more appropriate and more search-engine friendly.  One thing about writing a blog is that it is easy to get lost in the forest, and lose sight of the primary focus, which is obviously to reach out to and bring in new readers.  We tend to focus a lot on servicing our existing members, but in that process, we sometimes forget to do the little things like writing headlines that Wildcat fans would recognize as related to their favorite team.  Ah, the Internet.  So unlike the Jurassic media of newspapers.

Today, I want to talk a bit about a former UK player who has shown himself to be one of the most determined and unrelenting individuals ever to wear the Blue and White.  In his four years at UK, he never failed to make a positive impact on the basketball team, and never let excuses like a lack of size at his position, a lack of offensive skill, or any other physical disadvantage he may have had make a difference.  He always used his skill to its fullest, and took advantage of the unfailing tendencies of gifted players to underestimate what he could and could not do.  For four years, Chuck Hayes led UK to one of its finest stretches of basketball glory in memory.

I never believed Chuck Hayes would see one minute as an NBA player.  I was, like so many of his victims, convinced that his physical limitations meant more, at that level, the the outsized "Valentine" (as Bill Raftery so famously puts it) in his chest.  I was so incredibly wrong, and I hope Chuck gets as many "nya, nyas" as he wants at the expense of my lack of faith in him.

Yesterday, Chuck once again proved why he is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and how you can parlay a big heart and a keen basketball brain into victories for your team.  There are just a few players in the Association who make such an amazing impact on a game without impacting the stat sheet -- Shane Battier is famously and most prominently among them.  But Chuck Hayes deserves a place right beside his teammate, and showed the world last night just exactly why with a sparkling, dominating defensive performance that helped lead the Rockets to a shocking, almost embarrassing 99-87 win over Los Angeles after just having lost their superstar center Yao Ming for the rest of the season with a cracked bone in his foot.  Don't let the margin fool you -- this game was a blowout.

I had the distinct honor and privilege of seeing Chuck Hayes' Senior Day live and in person, and the sight of him weeping to My Old Kentucky Home is a memory that will remain near the forefront of my mind until I am called home to my reward.  Chuck Hayes is the embodiment of UK basketball --  the team first, never-say-die, the-name-on-the-front-means-most amalgamation of the spirit, pride and determination of a Kentucky Wildcat.  He did us proud while he was here, and he continues to do us proud in Houston.  Attaboy, Chuck -- this one is for you.

UK Basketball News

  • Matt Jones reports that Patrick Patterson and John Calipari will be holding a press conference on Monday to discuss Patterson's return to the Wildcats.
  • John Calipari again compared to Alabama's Nick Saban.  I have often said that Alabama football fans are the only truly kindred spirits to UK fans in the SEC.
  • This blogger thinks UK will be ranked #1 in the pre-season.  Hmm, I'm thinking Kansas might have a thing or two to say about that.
  • Heh.  Well, I suppose this could be considered a fringe benefit.
  • Wall impressed by Miami trip.  The author thinks that Miami really has a chance at Wall.

UK Football News

  • Another article bemoaning the lack of minority head coaches in college football.  Joker Phillips gets a mention.

Other UK Sports News

  • UK softball earns their first bid to the NCAA tournament.  Coach Calipari was in attendance at the team's selection show gathering.
  • Bat Cats needed to sweep Auburn, but they dropped the last game despite hitting the ball well.  Now, they are faced with needing a sweep over the Gators and some help by Vanderbilt.

NCAA Sports News

  • The Lance Stephenson saga continues.
  • Is the ACC catching up to the SEC in football?  Well, by the author's measure you would think so, but I don't think many SEC fans would agree.  The whole, "why does [the ACC] fail to compete for national championships?" would seem to be relevant.
  • Should Mike Slive muzzle SEC coaches?  Maybe Lane Kiffin ...
  • More congressional complaints over the BCS, now from the Senate, on the heels of other semi-wacko Congresspeople.  Good grief, guys, is there nothing more important to do on the national agenda?
  • Lane Kiffin -- college football's biggest dunce?  I know this -- he has made the SEC a very interesting place so far, and he hasn't coached a single game.

Other News of Interest

  • Happy Mother's Day -- Not.  Yeah, I know this didn't happen on Mother's Day, but it was close enough for me.
  • West Virginia high school basketball is missing Patrick Patterson and O.J. Mayo.