Whitesburg KY

Sports in Kentucky

Bledsoe flap brings a quick rush to judgment



The Eric Bledsoe flap. Let me get this straight …

• Linking John Calipari to Bledsoe’s high school shenanigans is a grassy knoll stretch.

• Interesting, the quickness a New York Times story moved metro media in Kentucky to remind readers of Calipari’s two vacated Final Fours, Derrick Rose slickery getting into Memphis U, then Cal’s jump to Kentucky ahead of the NCAA police.

Relevance of these items to the Bledsoe flap? None, unless a smoking gun (receipt) sent by Fed-Ex to Lexington from a Birmingham Parker High guidance counselor is found.

• Given time, Calipari will have a Big Blue Nation-worthy spin for not doing a double-take on Bledsoe’s pre-senior year’s anemic transcript, right?

• Sandy Bell, where are you? Bledsoe’s 1.9 jump to 2.5 GPA failed to set off alarm bells in the office of University of Kentucky’s charge d’ affaires for NCAA compliance?

• Who blew this whistle? Bledsoe’s coach Maurice Ford said the player’s transcript was revealed to three schools, including Memphis.

• Algebra. In one academic year, Bledsoe turned a ‘D’ into passing grades in Algebra 2 and Algebra 3? Most of us can recall nightmares with Algebra 1. Basketball equivalent of Bledsoe’s great leap forward? Like a team trailing by 27 points with a minute left and winning the game. Holy mackerel, a double-jaw-dropping miracle.

• New York Times. With two hot wars, a mammoth oil spill, Congressional gridlock, stock market thrashing, and whether or not Brett Favre will play again, isn’t it a bit odd that Gotham City’s Gray Lady invested time and money to investigate a high school kid’s transcript in Birmingham, Ala.?

• Emergence of the Bledsoe intrigue stirs another curiosity? What courses did he take at Kentucky? Grades? By law, such things are private, but so was his high school transcript, awhile ago.

What next?

University of Kentucky could face forfeiture of 35 wins for using an ineligible player. If that happens, Sports Illustrated could have a hot cover story: Shame II.

By June 25, Bledsoe will be a millionaire and saying to UK “sorry about your luck.”

Around our Commonwealth, Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart will join Calipari on the hot griddle of public outrage and condemnation. Right? Stop laughing.

KHSAA Hall Of Fame

Like weather and taxes, the KHSAA’s latest Hall of Fame induction list stirs a hot stove league discussion. Congratulations to the new inductees followed by “… how come (fill in the blank) was left out again?”

Across the spectrum of sports in Kentucky, generally the high school Hall of Fame is a long and distinguished list dating to its first class in 1989. Yet, there remain glaring omissions that diminish its distinction in the public eye.

One bone of contention, and there always will be one, the peculiar absence of so many Mr. Basketball, Miss Basketball and Mr. Football winners. The argument for: An athlete who earns his/her state’s highest award in his sport, should qualify for induction automatically.

A review of the KHSAA web site tells us fewer than 20 of 56 Mr. Basketball earners, are in the Hall of Fame. Something’s wrong with that picture.

Four years ago co-Mr. Basketball 1958 Harry Todd began a lobby on behalf of the Mr. Basketball Fraternity. He leveled reasonable “how come” question to KHSAA officials, but got no satisfactory answers. So, last week 72-year-old Todd congratulated inductee J.R. Van Hoose, and said he will step down, hand fraternity presidency to Steve Miller (Mr. Basketball ‘84).

“I’ve made some enemies within the KHSAA while fighting for the Hall of Fame for our members,” Todd said in an e-mail.

Enemies? That a Mr. Basketball winner and KHSAA Hall of Famer himself, who invested time and energy on behalf of Mr. Basketball Fraternity, goes away feeling he “made enemies,” is sad and reflects poorly on the KHSAA … again.

For those he represents, Todd deserves praise and lasting respect for voicing his ‘How come…?’ question on his own dime and making effort to elevate Mr. Basketball to Hall of Fame status. Among those still waiting: Wes Unseld, Jeff Mullins, Randy Embry and Jim McDaniels.

Adcock an All-Star

Kentucky native Nathan Adcock is a Florida State Class A allstar selection. The 6-5, 190-pound righthander is 6-2 in 10 starts and 2.40 ERA for Class-A-Advance Bradenton, a Pittsburgh Pirates affi liate. Adcock played high school baseball at North Hardin in Radcliff .

Big League prospects for 22-year-old Adcock? According to one scout, “He projects as a number four starter, or a back of the bullpen option in the future.”

Three years ago Adcock was a fourth round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners who traded him to the Pirates last year. His signing bonus brought to mind a Hardin County High School pitcher from another time. Kansas City made highly regarded pitcher Tim Brandenburg a second round pick. When a Royals representative was told Brandenburg wanted a signing bonus in the $90,000 range, he left town in a huff . The year was 1976. Adcock’s signing bonus: $200,000.

Worth Repeating

Losing recruits Enes Kanter and Terrence Jones to Kentucky, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said he was reminded of Michigan during its Chris Webber-led Fab Five as ‘the flavor of the month.’ “… those guys were in college a couple of years and they were out. They were being recruited that way — come play a couple of years, and go on to the NBA. Reminds me of what’s going on (at Kentucky) now.”

Parting Shot

Interesting, four SEC names on NFL Top Ten Coaches who should have stayed in college along with comments from ex-NFL players. ESPN’s list included Steve Spurrier, Lou Saban and former South Carolina coach Lou Holtz. Rated lowest and most hated — Arkansas coach Bob Petrino, followed by Saban.

Spurrier coaching the Washington Redskins was called “an absolute joke.”

But, walking out on the Atlanta Falcons during the season, Petrino got the worst of it. Ex-NFL players called the former Louisville coach “despicable, a liar and a coward.”

And so it goes. You can reach Bob Watkins at

Leave a Reply