Drew and I stand awkwardly at the foot of the Davidson Glacier
We have returned and ready to get back in the saddle again after our KSR Cruise to gorgeous Alaska. The last week was amazing, as Ryan, Drew Franklin and I toured with KSR fans and 2,000 strangers on a huge cruise ship throughout the great white North (and thanks to Tyler, Ally and John Wilmhoff for holding down KSR and Vanetti, Mike Pratt, Jeremy Jarmon, Jennifer Palumbo, Matthew Mitchell, Briam Milam and Dusty Bonner for holding down the radio show while we were gone). The area received record highs while we were there and thus the drawbacks of Alaska (cold, snow, Sarah Palin, Carlos Boozer, Trajan Langdon, kidnappings of Wayne Turner, the cancellation of "Northern Exposure", Bridges to Nowhere, insomnia) were nowhere to be found. Instead what we experienced was one of the more fun weeks that I have had in a number of years.
The KSR fans on the tour were great (next year we are booking to a warm weather destination and I encourage you to come along), the stories we produced will be radio gold (Ryan Lemond and nudity are involved in one) and it was a great chance to relax and do some minor celebration. While we were there, we found out we finished #1 again in the Lexington ratings (more on that later) and we started to get ourselves energized about football (maybe it was the international waters, but I came close to talking myself into 5 wins). But most memorably, we were amazed by the gorgeous scenery. If you have never been to Alaska, try and make a trip...there is no more beautiful place that I have seen and the sight of stunning landscapes and unfathomable glaciers (the retreats of which made me somewhat sad) was remarkable. It was a great trip and one I hope to do again in the near future.
With that said, it is now time for business. UK Football players reported today and we have a big week ahead with football practice starting and some basketball news potentially breaking...before we get started however, let's review some things that happened while I was gone, with some comments and pictures that we have backlogged after our week at sea:
1. Harrison Twins and James Young
Sometimes rumors take on a life of their own and when they do, connections to facts or actual news become beside the point. Remember when we thought Zack Morris had died in a car crash? No matter what anyone would say, there was always one kid in school who insisted he was dead and wouldn't be deterred. Such is the case with the continued set of rumors surrounding the Harrison Twins and James Young.
Buoyed in part by a random tweet from Jerry Meyer of 24/7 Sports, fans continue to worry that James Young and the Twins are to be ruled academically ineligible. Message boards continue to perpetuate the news from "insiders" (in my eight years on the internet, I haven't found one message board "insider" that wasn't eventually discredited) and UL fans use Kentucky worry to spread the rumor to fans who are hoping not for the worst. I will repeat what I have said often on radio...from everyone I have spoken with, and these are people that would know, there is not a concern about the Twins and Young being eligible this year. They are expected to be wearing Blue in the fall. Could that change? It is possible...they haven't been cleared yet by the NCAA, but neither have a couple of other UK players as well...it is simply a process that hasn't been completed. But they are expected to be on our mega-team next year. If that changes, we will let you know. Until then, tell your worried friend to calm down and your UL friend to (a) buy a new t shirt and (b) shut up.
Our first picture is a Fan of the Day shot from a family that I like mainly because the kid wearing #23 seems to be in misery at his seat and his three goggle pose. But he is still a trooper
2. Hopefully not the real T Jones teaching them about Kentucky
I was really disappointed to leave the boat in Skagway and read the story about Terrence Jones allegedly kicking a homeless man and then being arrested. I know no more of the facts than anyone else and like everyone else, I hope that we learn something that doesn't make this seem as bad as it does on the surface. With that said, I have to admit that I wasn't shocked by the story. Jones is a nice kid, a smart kid and when focused, someone with a very bright future. But he often made very stupid decisions while in Lexington, a couple of which he was lucky were not bigger deals during his time here. My hope is that this blows over and we find out more information that makes this not end up as bad as it now looks. But the idea of a millionaire college athlete taunting a sleeping (or lying down) homeless person, is pretty low in my book. There are mistakes young people make that showcase a need to mature...we all make those. But then there are mistakes that showcase a need to change one's attitudes...if this happened, then the Portland instance is the latter and I hope Jones makes the necessary adjustments.
I feel like this is a punishment that could have been handed down on a young Drew Franklin
3. Brandon Knight gets a new home
Knight being traded from the Pistons to the Bucks simply sucks. The Pistons were about to take a big leap forward and Knight could have been part of that turnaround, but instead he ends up in NBA no-man's land, with the least remarkable franchise in the league. Quick name something about the Milwaukee Bucks....besides Kareem getting traded from there. See you are done. Knight will be on a terrible team, once again being undervalued as his best traits (intelligence, team play, basketball savvy) will be lost on a team of goobers. I think Knight is a better long term option for the Pistons than Brandon Jennings, but time will tell. However for Knight, all it means is that he will likely go under-appreciated in the NBA for a bit longer. Brandon, like Keith Bogans, is destined to be a UK player that never totally gets his due...hopefully I will be wrong but it is hard to see much positive out of his current surroundings.
Gotta love this picture of Alex Poythress carrying his mama's bags while she shops...let's all say AHHHH
4. John Wall Gets Paid and says he is #1
I was very happy to read this week that John Wall got the max deal he was hoping for and signed a $80 million contract with the Washington Wizards. Wall is the guy who got the ball rolling here in the Calipari era and his commitment, and corresponding help in moving UK to the "cool" team category, was maybe the most important moment in building what UK now has. He has had some bad luck early in his NBA career but by the end of last season, he was playing as one of the top 5-7 PGs in the league and had the Wizards on the path of a playoff team. After signing the deal, he said that he believed he was the best point guard in the league, which predictably got him killed by the media. But what did they expect him to say? You have to believe you are the best, and for Wall, those words are more motivational than explanatory. He isn't the best PG, but in year 4, the great ones make a leap. This is his year to hit the next level and he has the ability to do it. Stars become stars by at least their fourth year...this is Wall (and Boogie's) year to do it and they know it. I hope for John's sake it happens and believe it will. He is that talented and a great representative for the BBN.
This guy sent me this pic because he said he wanted to show what a big fan he was of the Cats...I think he wanted to show that he was able to get six hot women to pose with him...either way it worked. Well played
5. Michael Porter Gets 2 Years in Jail
The less said about this the better, but we have to note that Porter's jail sentence is the end of maybe the most embarrassing story involving a UK player in a decade. Sex acts with an underage girl (14) while in his role as a youth director at the girl's church. Just reading the charge makes you sick to your stomach and the only good thing that can be said is now the ordeal has come to an end. Porter likely cements his role as the least liked UK player of the modern era, a title that he held for many (in my opinion at the time, unfairly) for a long while. Well after the events of the past few years, he has made certain to have earned that title without much controversy and to close any debate on the subject for years to come.
I wish I knew the backstory of this, but I love it
6. UK Football Players Reported Today
It is officially football season. UK will have Media Day and its first official practice tomorrow as the Stoops era finally officially kicks off. This much anticipation hasn't awaited a UK coach in a long time and tomorrow will be our first chance to hear from a lot of the players and get a sense of what is going to happen this season. The Freshmen and Quarterbacks will all talk tomorrow and then won't talk again until the week before the season. So tomorrow is all we have. Get used to it. We will also probably learn about at least one more Freshman who will join Justin Day as a non-qualifier for the team this year from the recruiting class. Day is going to prep school and at least one more may join him before the official roster is set. We will have lots on the radio show and the site tomorrow about Media Day, but for now, some excitement is in order. Stoops has had the best offseason probably in the history of Kentucky football...now it is about turning that into production on the field. It should (finally) be fun.
With all the problems at North Carolina, everyone may be ready to jump ship and find a new program.
7. Kentucky Gets Another Big Offensive Line Commitment
The Cats were up for two offensive linemen while we were gone, Brady Taylor and Nick Richardson. Taylor was considered by all to be virtually a UK lock and there was genuine surprise when he picked Virginia Tech. Not only does that say a lot about what Stoops has done (we are surprised a kid picked Virginia Tech...which has played for a national title...over Kentucky), but it also put some pressure on the next day when 4 star Nick Richardson picked the Cats. Richardson was probably the most coveted offensive lineman the Cats wanted in this class and getting him over Vanderbilt was a huge get. This great story in the Herald Leader
today showcased how Stoops and company were able to make the connection with Richardson and his commitment kept UK in the #3 spot in the Rivals.com rankings. Going into fall camp, the Cats are now in an enviable (and rare) position of having tons of great commitments and only a few spots left. They are going to continue to recruit their commits (to keep them solid) and then try and pick and choose a few final replacements. Getting Nick Richardson wasn't the sexiest of the commitments this year, but because of his role as a likely anchor for the UK line for his entire career, it will certainly end up one of the most important.
Eric Bledsoe repping my baseball team, the hot Atlanta Braves who (going into tonight's game) are 9-0 since opening a Waffle House at Turner Field. Bert's Chili has always been quite the good luck charm.
8. Lexington's Role as a College Town
Much attention was given this week to the study that put Lexington as the 5th best college town in America, behind Boulder, Austin and a few others. While I don't dispute Lexington's high ranking among those cities, I dispute the notion that it is a college town at all. I consider Lexington a small city...it has the horse industry, non-UK businesses and a vibrant culture and community. Like Austin and Boulder, it is more than just UK. A college town (in my view) is a place that only revolves around the college itself. So for me, the top 5 college towns are Charlottesville, Oxford, Ann Arbor, Athens and Chapel Hill. The school is the town. In Lexington, the school is party of the city. I love the accolades for my favorite place in the lower 48, but I think it is a misplaced definition that ran the entire survey.
After all that (2200 words as of now), a couple of quick things. We received the ratings for KSR in the Lexington market and they were amazing. KSR finished #1 in its time slot
yet again, making the show #1 for the entirety of the past year. Some of you ask me about ratings and how they work, so here was the Lexington book for us in the last period (Apr-May-June...not exactly high sports time here):
Men 12+ - 9.9 share
, #1 in the city - highest M12+ number for KSR in Lex
Men 18-34 - 15.0 share
, #1 in the city- highest M18-34 number for KSR in Lex
Men 25-54 - 9.0 share
, #1 in the city
Persons 12+ - 7.1 share
, #2 behind 98.1 The Bull
Persons 18-34 - 11.4 share
, #2 behind 98.1 The Bull
What do those ratings mean? Well they mean we were first in every male demographic in Lexington for our time slot and received a 15.0 share for 18-34 year olds, a mark that is through the roof. For all listeners (including females), we were second behind country music, and still received over a 7 for persons 12+. These ratings are extremely rare for an AM sports talk show, especially those for the 12+ group (which basically means all ages) and females. We thank you guys so much for helping make them possible and having the show succeed in a way we could have never imagined. It isn't because of us, it is because of the fans and we really do want to thank you.
Tomorrow, we are LIVE at Media Day for KSR Radio and the blog
. Check in here beginning at 10 am for everything going on from Media Day and don't miss recaps and the show all day. It should be fun....just 26 days until a great year in Kentucky athletics begins..get on board.