2011-08-03 / Sports

Sports in Kentucky

August: It must be time for two-a-days in Ky.
Bob Watkins

With the Heat Index hovering at triple numbers and the air heavy enough to cause the happiest of fans to turn grumpy, it must be August.

It’s time again for two-a-days and water breaks and whimsical jargon exclusive to America’s game – dime package, depth charts, 4-3 defense, nickel back, in-the-box, double cover, hang time, field position, no hot dogging in the end zone, hurry-up offense, “bring it!” and of course, BCS.

Anybody else love the term nose tackle? Makes one think of Attila the Hun, Goldfinger’s Odd Job, Spartacus or Ivan the Terrible (synonym for Dick Butkus and Jack Lambert).

Making college football fun in the hot air of a TV broadcast booth are the game’s Three Amigos. Trumpets please for return of Lou Holtz, Lee Corso and Beano Cook. You love all three, right?

Two-a-days in dog days is the most dreaded time of year for veterans, the scariest for rookies, and most fun of all for coaches scowling with military voices.

Watch for the following early on at Kentucky’s three D-I camps — UK, UofL and Western Kentucky:

• Length of did-not-qualify and/or no-show lists.

• Injury lists (two weeks in).

• Buzz from coaches – Morgan Newton’s progress, UofL’s starting quarterback, and who’s going to block for Bobby Rainey at Western?

• Depth chart movements. Rise of true and red shirt freshmen at one-two-three spots and how many.

• And, how each school spins ticket sales progress.

• UK fans, did I mention Morgan Newton’s progress?

Ransdell to Hall

Bill Ransdell is one of six slated for induction to University of Kentucky’s Athletics Hall of Fame next month.

From middle school to high school at Elizabethtown and on to Kentucky, Ransdell earned his accolades all the way to this one.

At UK, Ransdell made himself into an exceptional quarterback and leader. He was paired with the ideal coach for his skills, Jerry Claiborne. Ransdell’s extraordinary will to win, toughness, pride and staying power (even when a helmet under the face guard knocked him goofy), mirrored that of Claiborne. Ransdell belongs alongside legends Vito “Babe” Parilli, George Blanda and Tim Couch.

Darius Miller

In keeping with the expression good things come to those who wait, Maysville’s Darius Miller added to his basketball résumé this week. The UK wingman is among the last 14 from which a 12-man Team USA will be chosen for basketball’s World Games in China later this month.

Try-outs at Colorado Springs wind down to a final cut on Sunday.

Senior-to-be Miller, who UK lists at 6-feet-8, 235, is on track to be the 56th player to score 1,000 points at Kentucky. He has 851.

Joe B. Hall Flap

Tickets for the August 15 Dominican Republic National Team versus a team of NBA-flavored stars at Rupp Arena went on sale this week. But media gaga for big name players and UK Coach John Calipari was upstaged for a news cycle or two when Joe B. Hall was invited then uninvited to coach the opposing team peopled by ex-UK stars.

Embarrassed, Hall wanted an explanation and rightly so. Blame was put on the NCAA, but that agency promptly issued a statement saying it had nothing to do with Hall’s removal.

Who then and why? Hall deserves an explanation.

We wonder, did UK’s administration over react? Have Hall removed for fear of another bad PR week? An NCAA scolding like one it received for celebrating Calipari’s 500th coaching win?

Via e-mail, I asked DeWayne Peevy, UK’s associate athletic director of media relations, who made the decision. In reply, Peevy said he would not comment by e-mail.

Consolation. Calipari added Hall to his coaching staff for the exhibition.

If the University of Kentucky was complicit in Hall’s removal, it would be beyond shabby and leave some of us to wonder anew: How can college basketball’s winningest program continually become entangled in pettiness then be reduced to damage control?

Worth Repeating

Summer basketball camps and recruiting prospects create all the buzz for hoops fans in July. With today’s economy as backdrop, one college coach shared his experience on recruit-visits-our-campus scenario with ESPN The Magazine recently. An excerpt:

“We’re all in an arms race. You have to show a recruit the brightest and the most technological anything – weight room, practice gym, film room – whatever attracts them.

“We’ve got pretty modern facilities, so the only other thing I’d love for the boosters to help us with is to add a training food table, basically a daily buffet for our guys. Hey you’re talking about a 16- or 17-year-old making a big decision. They don’t always make it for the right reasons. I know I didn’t; I just picked the place where I had the best time on my visit.”

COMMENT: Leaves us to wonder which will come first ...

1. How soon boosters at basketball programs at, say, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Murray State and other so-called midmajors put in place a “competitive” training food table?

2. Or, the NCAA adds to its manual, a bylaw to put a stop to the whole thing?

And so it goes.

You can reach Bob Watkins at Sprtsinky@aol.com.

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