Halloween. All trick, no treat for Kentucky football. Trick? Back-to-back home losses and back on the road after open date. The whoosh you heard Monday was Rich Brooks’ team free falling from BCS top 25.
And so …
Basketball. A few reasons why 2007-08 will be prime time entertainment.
1. UK’s hoops team is exactly where it belongs at Halloween, waiting in the wings while football still tops the marquee and call-in shows will still be bowl talk despite the egg UK laid against Mississippi State.
2. Rich Brooks extends Billy Clyde Gillispie’s honeymoon from, “Is your team gonna play fast?”
3. Until proven otherwise, pecking order: Louisville, Kentucky, Western, Eastern, Murray State and Morehead.
4. You can avoid the Christmas rush and start criticizing Rick Pitino early. Da Coach predicts three underclassmen will leave school at season’s end, leaving UofLexposed to unsatisfactory on NCAA graduation rates.
5. Kids at Pikeville College have a unique Halloween story to tell the grandchildren, “… the night we played Trick-or-Treat at Rupp Arena.”
6. Our state has its most promising number of dancers for the NCAA’s Big Jig since Cawood said “so long everybody.” UofL, UK, WKU and EKU.
7. Louisville is legitimate top 10, but may not be Big East best, leaving John Calipari laughing as Memphis uses C-USA as step stone to another NCAA top seed.
8. UK ranked 22nd in first coaches’ poll is perfect.
9. Western and Louisville have two of America’s finest big guards, Courtney Lee (Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy nominee) and Terrance Williams.
10. Kentucky’s Ramel Bradley’s time to cowboy up, prove he’s worthy of a new title. Lead guard.
11. Louisville’s David Padgett, leader of men undeterred by creaky wheels, reminds us of Mike Grosso.
12. Legitimate OVC dark horse – Murray State Thoroughbreds.
13. Patrick Patterson. Hype is over, show us what ya got.
14. Give me David Padgett, Courtney Lee, Edgar Sosa, Ramel Bradley, Adam Leonard, Earl Clark and sixth man Jodie Meeks and let’s play.
15. Feb. 23. Arkansas plays at Rupp Arena. Predict the decibel level when Razorbacks’ coach is introduced.
16. Long way from Eddyville, WKU senior Ty Rogers has arrived on the cover of Western’s sparkling media guide.
17. Honoring UK’s Fiddlin’ Five. Seattle visits Rupp Arena Nov. 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kentucky’s fifth NCAA title win. It came against Elgin Baylor-led Seattle, 1958.
18. Best success story in April could be” “How Coach sent me home to get my head straight.” Louisville’s Derrick Caracter.
19. Recruiting. November signing period. Last week, one of the state’s best underclassmen, Aaron Cosby, sophomore at duPont Manual, committed to UMass.
20. Newcomers who may surprise us: Mike Williams (Kentucky) and D.J. Magley (Western).
21. Guys Who Shoot Straight: Jerry Smith (Louisville), Adam Leonard (Eastern) and Alex Legion (Kentucky).
22. Fun web sites check out weekly – Minnesota, UMass and Arkansas.
23. Keep an eye on Tayshaun Prince, Francisco Garcia, Chuck Hayes, Keith Bogans, Taquan Dean and Kelenna Azubuike. And wondering whatever happened to … Greg Minor and Desmond Allison?
24. Take pause to appreciate a few who made basketball a dream game in Kentucky. Ralph Beard, Frank Ramsey and the late Charlie Tyra.
The ‘New’ Pelphrey
John Pelphrey is wearing red ties, driving a red car, talking Razorback red. As it should be. But fans around Paintsville and Johnson County are smiling quietly. Meanwhile the popular ex- Wildcat shared a telling story with reporters at SEC Media Day last week. Three Arkansas players arrived late for a bus trip to the airport and the new coach suspended them for a game and called it “a good opportunity for us to be able to set a tone as coaches.”
What’s Bud Mackey’s future look like?
Former basketball star at Scott County High School, Mackey was arrested on drug charges, has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
If reports are accurate that Mackey has quit school, then Indiana’s scholarship offer is void. Best hope for Mackey from the legal system is probation, which does not seem likely if he is found guilty of distributing drugs at a school. Best case scenario, a lenient judge and (Scott County) coach Billy Hicks-led community effort to enroll Mackey in prep school far from Georgetown. Ideally, a military school. Minimum two years after which the talented kid could be humbled and man enough to use his basketball gifts to eclipse the past.
Mackey could become subject for documentary for every kid to see how a gifted kid comes to the brink of squandering opportunity, but a few caring friends help him re-set.
Solution for fans racing onto the field at Commonwealth Stadium costing the University of Kentucky thousands of dollars, Al Gibson, publisher of the Clinton County News, has a better idea: “(Instead of calling out the Kentucky National Guard) place members of the 101 Club along the edge of the field, holding borrowed church collection plates. Everyone who storms the field drops in $5 as they run past – celebration continues and fine paid!”
And so it goes. E-mail Bob Watkins at firstname.lastname@example.org