July and August in Kentucky is keep-the-pot-boiling time for basketball fans.
At Louisville, Russ Smith has signed an NBA contract. And, college basketball’s premier coach, Mike Krzyzewski, weighed in about UofL joining the ACC. “Louisville brings the ACC a great brand. This is one that will make headlines in business journals.”
At Western Kentucky U., Jeff Brohm is revving up the Hilltopper football fan base with emphasis on recruiting in-state players. What to watch: Brohm landing a quarterback the caliber and quality to match that of his coach.
At the University of Kentucky, 75 student- athletes made the SEC’s First-Year Academic Honor Roll for 2014. The list included Dominique Hawkins and Dakari Johnson, who are majoring in communications, and Derek Willis and Marcus Lee, majoring in undergraduate studies. The Honor Roll is based on grades from fall 2013 and 2014 spring terms.
Summer ball in Big Blue Nation brings projections, debate, argument, (diplomatic of course) and comparisons for season 2014-15.
A non-partisan measure of how special Kentucky’s team could be: Willie Cauley Stein, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee will come off the bench.
UK fans on Internet sites have already forgotten the eat-crow of the 40-and-oh rant a summer ago, The new buzz: Will our Mc- Donalds All-American-decorated Wildcats this season be best in UK history?
A 30-something age limit can dim a look into history. The comparison makers here settled on the 1996 NCAA championship winner. A better question for would be: In its glorious history, which is Kentucky’s best basketball team ever?
Tripwire word here is team. An NCAA title banner is not necessary.
Best Team(s) ever from here: 1. Rupp’s Runts ( 1965- 66), 2. Fabulous Five (1948-49), and the first team to play in Memorial Coliseum, the 1950-51 Wildcats squad that finished 32-2.
Stars of those teams? Look ‘em up.
World Cup to Germany
Around the planet this week, Germans are in rejoicing mode, waving the homeland flag.
On behalf of the not-so-soccereducated observers among us, congratulations to Germany for its newest World Cup title to go with wins in 1954, 1970 and 1990.
With all due respect to soccer fans, an e-mail received Monday reflects the emotion of most Americans, I think.
“I’m sorry. I tried to watch the World Cup Championship (Sunday). I watched and watched and watched and nobody scored. I finally gave up. I saw later that Germany scored in the 113th minute to win. Good. I just cannot watch it. Boorrrrinnng!”
5.5 Football Wins
Kentucky’s football team will win five-and-a-half games this season, says ESPN.
Tennessee-Martin, Ohio, Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe. The half? Seems to be first two quarters in Knoxville on November 15.
“… next-best (UK) win possibility,” the writer said, “is 37.9 percent at Tennessee.”
The worth-repeating assessment here is number five. Coming off back-to-back 2-10 seasons, five wins, four at Commonwealth Stadium in the season’s first half, should keep attendance numbers up for visiting Mississippi State and Georgia in the second half.
Still, Vanderbilt and Louisiana Monroe present an interest dynamic each.
The Commodores have crushed Kentucky the last two seasons.
La-Monroe returns 17 starter, nine on defense from a 6-6 season.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari put forth 20 questions he believes a high school prospect should ask his prospective college coach.
Most are typically self-serving, but these are worth repeating. v How many players have graduated from your program over the last four to five years? v How many of your players were insured through the disability program last season? If none were, why not? v Where does your Academic Progress Rate retention rank among other schools?
Kentucky football all-stater Damian Harris attends Madison Southern, not Madison Central as was mentioned in this space.
Among My Favorites Dept.
Friday (July 11) marked the 54th anniversary for publication of To Kill A Mockingbird. A novel by Harper Lee published in 1960 is, according to a literary poll done five years ago, best novel of all time. To date, Mockingbird has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
This week, a new book, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, is on the market. Written by Marja Mills, the book, as is the original To Kill A Mockingbird, is available in e-book form.
It is these words from Harper Lee not long ago that touched my heart.
“I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird,” she wrote. “I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement.”
And so it goes.