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Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats Tip-off Luncheon, Nerlens Noel, and More

An update on some late breaking news on the Kentucky Wildcats front for Wednesday, October 10th.

Chris Graythen - Getty Images

There are a few late-breaking stories that need to be highlighted, and discussed. First, Jeff Drummond of The Cats Pause is reporting that Karl Towns Jr. will be in attendance at Big Blue Madness. Source? Karl himself through his Twitter account:

I had this up in the breaking news box because it's a big deal to me. This kid is the real deal, even if he is young, and he could be the cornerstone of another #1 class for 2015. Plus, I just love his smile. Call it a man-crush.

Next up is the Wildcats Tip-off Luncheon held in Louisville every year. Matt Jones of KSR was the MC, and kudos to him. More important to me is what Coach Call had to say:

Later, UK Coach John Calipari tried to set a more welcoming tone toward U of L. He said the Cardinals were highly ranked "and deserve it."

Calipari saluted Pitino as a "great coach." He also said UK held "no disrespect" toward U of L.

Yeah, Calipari, you're on your own there. No amount of love by you will undo the decades of antipathy between these two teams. Nice try, though. Also, Matthew Mitchell was at the luncheon (first time the women's coach has been there), and not just as a prop:

Coach Cal is now even asking Mitchell to share in some of the notoriously lofty expectations of Kentucky fans, at least jokingly. Mitchell's team returns the majority of its roster from the group that won the conference last season and Calipari isn't afraid to pump it up. In fact, he brought the women's team up at breakfast earlier this week.

Rather than try to repeat all the stuff he said, I'm just going to share the whole thing. You can watch it, and trust me, it's worth the 21 minutes of your life:

When we took the Harrison twins away from the Maryland Terrapins, they got mad. Oh, they didn't get mad on here, but they definitely took it personally. Witness this hopeful post about the situation with Nerlens Noel reported earlier over at Testudo Times:

And some people will say they're not happy about that, because they want to beat a full-strength Kentucky side and watch Shaquille Cleare embarrass Noel and yadda yadda yadda. Not me, though. A win's a win's a win, and by the end of the year when Kentucky's a top-20 team, being able to put down that Maryland won that game - even if it has an asterisk on it - is clearly superior to losing it. And no Noel makes that scenario a heck of a lot more likely.

Heh. Well, it's certainly possible that Maryland, and the Duke Blue Devils both, will beat us in the first two official games of the season -- we get them back-to-back, and let's just be honest with ourselves, it will be tough with a bunch of green players.

I must say, though, it speaks volumes about a fan when they hope a team's best player (we don't know that, of course, but let's just say he is the best) doesn't play for whatever reason. It bespeaks desperation, and UK fans know what this feels like. Just a few years back, there was some quiet rooting around here when trouble came up for a team's best player.

I think we've learned, since then, that is not very ethical fandom. At the same time, we aren't mired in mediocrity like Maryland, and whether they win that game or not, they will still be mediocre at best. So if it makes them happy to root for UK to be a man down against them, I say fine. Oh, and then there was this:

Noel's potential absence would keep Kentucky without a defensive gamechanger on the court, and give Maryland a significant advantage down low. Noel was their best chance of matching up with a hopefully much-improved Alex Len; without him, they'll either have to turn to Willie Cauley-Stein, a seven-foot freshman (who was ranked lower than Shaquille Cleare, for a frame of reference) or ... Kyle Wiltjer? Haha. Kyle Wiltjer. Len would have three inches and probably about 15 pounds on the poor fella.

Heh. These guys seem to think Kyle Wiltjer is a joke, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. They are in, I suspect, for a very unpleasant surprise. All I can say is that it's unwise to talk smack on Kentucky. Every team who has done that recently has lived to regret it -- right, Indiana? Will Maryland be next? I wouldn't be surprised.

What James Young's commitment tomorrow would mean: