A 6-11, 240-pound bundle of man-child talent, Karl Anthony Towns will be 19 years old in November. The kid has the right stuff to be a Kentucky basketball poster boy on a fan-love plateau with Jamal Mashburn, Kyle Macy and the Unforgettables.
Gatorade athlete of the year in 2014 and rated the nation’s fifth best high school prospect, Towns is grounded and well spoken in interviews, and his best numbers are not preceded by points, rebounds and blocks, but GPA: 3.96.
And so, I hope: Welcome to Willie Cauley-Steinville.
Best-case scenario: Towns becomes less Cauley-Stein’s platoon partner on the court and more his protégé off it. By his action, Cauley Stein shunned his coach’s idea of success, passed on the NBA draft this year, saying he wanted to enjoy “more of the college experience.”
Let’s hope Towns’ 60s-style black-rimmed glasses are but the first imitation of his mentor.
Words an internet writer devoted to “How to replace John Calipari” last week? 1,643, or about 1,400 too many.
The writer’s summertime circle talk meander:
• “If Cleveland’s season goes awry, Lebron continues to control the world by exercising his opt-out clause after one year, Kentucky wins another national title and Calipari decides he has absolutely dominated the world of college basketball, would the president/ coach offer from the Cavaliers reemerge? … Conceivably, Cal may receive his chance.”
• Top Four Hypothetical Replacements. 4. John Pelphrey, 3. Steve Masiello, 2. Brad Stevens, 1. Orlando Antigua.
For majority in Big Blue Nation, a melody sweeter than a Frank Sinatra croon was the writer’s conclusion: “… Cal is staying in the Bluegrass and Kentucky will win another national championship and perhaps not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven more may follow.”
The second hypothetical is a tastier intrigue than the first.
For examination purposes, let us flip the old phrase from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Ridiculous … v Odds for Rick Pitino disciple Steve Masiello coaching at Kentucky are longer than chances of a Billy Clyde Gillespie speaking engagement at Lexington Rotary Club. v Orlando Antigua must have a hat trick of 30-plus winning seasons at South Florida to get his name near an interview list in Lexington. His 2014-15 Bulls are picked to finish 11th and last in the American Athletic Conference. v Brad Stevens. The Gary Cooper-type’s view of life at the top may be hardened (jaded?) enough by his stay in Boston with problematic Rajon Rondo to make him just right to be candidate at Kentucky. Would be an irony – Rondo being partial cause for hiring one coach at UK after being part cause of another’s departure, Tubby Smith.
Sublime (maybe) … v John Pelphrey. If success in life is indeed about timing, this could be it. Fruit on the vine could be ripe, his having profited from tough love learning stints at South Alabama and Arkansas and being a Florida bench fixture twice Pelphrey gets high praise for recruiting, and of course, has a Kentucky pedigree.
Home grown, Pelphrey could extend UK’s on-court success while returning genuine academic emphasis to the basketball program.
Downside I. Noting job strain effect on the U.S. President’s hair color, the UK demand could make Pelphrey appear older sooner than his 46th birthday celebrated last week.
Downside II. I would despair to see Pelphrey become infected by air selfimportance that has long permeated UK’s athletic department.
Question: Billy Donovan having said “no” to the Kentucky job in 2009 on advice from Rick Pitino, could Pelphrey become a believer in “ya can’t go home again.” Or not.
Other viable candidates for a future UK coach list? As of today, none.
Dis ‘N Data v Joker Phillips. Sad thing, how too many Kentucky football fans on internet sites who have turned vicious on former all-SEC wide receiver, assistant then head coach. Fickle fans forget the man gave a huge portion of his life to UK football.
Sad not so much for Phillips, but fans’ fair weather attitude. v Best internet video last week? LeBron James being a dad cheering for his son in an AAU tournament in Lexington last week. v Kentucky football fan: “ I truly feel that if ( this coach) can’t get UK to a level of competing for SEC championships, then it will never be done at UK in my lifetime!”
Remark was made about Fran Curci in 1973, right? About Jerry Claiborne in 1982? Hal Mumme in 1997?
Yes, all the above. Includes Mark Stoops too.
The best things in life are not things. – John Ruskin
And so it goes.
You can reach bob Watkins at firstname.lastname@example.org