Tale of two winners.
Both leaving our old Kentucky home
Mr. Football Elijah Sindelar, Caldwell County quarterback, off to West Lafayette and Purdue.
Mr. Basketball Camron Justice, Knott County Central shooting, guard headed to Nashville and Vanderbilt.
Q&A session with an internet reporter recently, Elijah Sindelar offered straight talk. v Why did he choose Purdue?
“Engineering department was the biggest deciding factor,” Sindelar said. “I based my decision where education came first, not just football. v How would Sindelar describe his style to a fan who hasn’t heard much him?
“Perfection,” he said. “I’m an athlete (who) gets mad when I throw a pass and it misses what I was aiming at by inches. I like everything to be perfect. My drop, my footwork, my throw, everything. I like to be in command of the offense, facilitating the ball. I don’t like having one favorite receiver, I like to use the whole field to pick defenses apart.” v Goal after four years?
“ To have led Purdue back to the Rose Bowl, to limit my interceptions to less than seven per season, having a completion percentage of 65 percent or higher, and hopefully entering the NFL Draft.”
Prize for Vanderbilt basketball and vice-versa … down the road.
Cameron Justice, a sturdy 6-3 shooting guard previously headed to Tennessee (until he snapped out of it), can be model for watchgrow succeed.
Vandy’s glory days are forever tied to good-shootin’ Kentuckians migrants. Al Rochelle (Guthrie) and Babe Taylor (Frankfort) in 1950s, Barry Goheen (Calvert City) 1970s, Brett Burrow (Radcliff ) 1980s, and the last Kentucky Mr. Basketball to go south and succeed, Phil Cox, Cawood in 1981.
Role for Justice?
Emphasis on no-give-in-tohome sickness, embrace supreme education, maintain “plays hard all the time” reputation, and patience.
Role early? Presuming no red shirt, Justice can push sophomores Wade Baldwin IV, Riley LaChance and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Nolan Cressler, transfer from Cornell (averaged 16.8 points), will sit out a year. Nathan Watkins will be a senior and Shelton Mitchell transferred to Clemson.
UK’s Barnhart … Clutter
After Kentucky’s lost to Wisconsin, UK director of athletics Mitch Barnhart posited an open letter on the 38-1 season. Following are a few points (his), and a few observations (mine).
Barnhart: “… was an incredible group of young men.”
Yes. From poise and focus-ongoal and sportsmanship, the Wildcats skipped macho and preen and played extraordinarily well … together. Off court, from Bahamas’ trip to end, only red flag incident I can recall, Andrew Harrison’s ugly remarks about college player of the year Frank Kaminsky.
Barnhart: “The spotlight is always bright here.”
Yes, and Kentucky fans love it. Ashley Judd does too.
Barnhart: Team was “… dissected and analyzed from every possible angle, with experts breaking down how (it) could be beaten and wondering whether (it) would be able to stay together.”
Yes. Dissected and analyzed from every angle! By experts-on- UK across the Commonwealth. We call them assistant coaches, to whom talking heads Seth Greenberg, Charles Barkley, Jay Bilas et all, can’t hold a candle.
Footnote: Also part of Big Blue Tradition: Dissect-and-analyze for next season started two minutes before Badgers’ coach Bo Ryan called his last time out.
Barnhart: “(UK player) fielded question after question in facing an unprecedented media blitz, never saying a word to start even the smallest controversy.”
Unprecedented? Disingenuous, cynical and appeals to the worst in us, UK’s AD alleging media queries are intended to stir controversy. All NCAA tourney teams attract extraordinary attention in March. Certainly an unbeaten, top ranked and top seeded one.
Barnhart: “The clutter was everywhere …. but they (players and coaches) tuned it out ….”
Clutter? A choice of words to make transparent Barnhart’s arrogance, ignoring that consumer dollars are why CBS pays billions for the tournament; media reporting that helps make it The Big Dance. Also, not mentioned: It balloon’s Barnhart’s budgetary largess. Clutter indeed.
Portion of Barnhart’s open letter with which UK fans can sorely identify:
• “… the end came before I could even process it. One moment we were up four, the next Wisconsin was celebrating. Everything our players had worked for all season was over in a blink. The emotions were overwhelming for me.”
• “I refuse to let a single bad night take away from everything this team accomplished both on and off the floor this season. These players have given a great deal not only to the fans that followed them. … I believe history will reflect that.”
Under heading: Okay, kid, with a moniker like this, you’d better be good! v Phabian Glasco committed to Western Kentucky’s coach Ray Harper last week.
A 6-7 forward from Tulsa, Glasco joins Marlon Hunter, 6-2 from Memphis, Tenn., Chris McNeal, 5-11, Jackson, Tenn.) and Fredrick Edmond 6-3, Lansing, Mich..
Glasco averaged 12.5 points and 10.6 rebounds as a sophomore at Connors State (Okla.) College helping his team to a 32-2 record and a 17-0 conference mark. He shot 63.5 percent from the field. v And, Skyler Hunter, 6-7 forward helped Calloway County High to a 30-4 record is headed to Bellarmine U.
ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith told viewers recently, if Kentucky had not advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament title game (against UConn), the Wildcats’ coach would have been fired.
Utter nonsense from a talking head whose first priority has always been and is bringing attention to himself.
And so it goes.
You can reach me at bob. Watkins24@aol.com