This is definitely the easiest news and views intro I've ever had to write, which is fitting because the honoree is one of the few people who can truly appreciate that. On Wednesday, the young Drew Franklin turned another year older. He rang in his birthday as only Drew can, at Jack Demsey's with hundreds of Irish soccer fans, drinking the night away. Drew's enjoying his mandatory weeklong vacation from the blog (mine comes soon, can't wait!), and if his instagrams, tweets, and vines are any indication, he's still living the life we all wish we had. A sampling:
He partied with DeMarcus Cousins, Nicki Minaj and a bunch of champagne bottle sparklers. He took in a Dave Attell comedy show from the front row of the Comedy Cellar, which one of the braver things you can do in your life. He watched Ireland play Spain with a whole new group of Irish friends:
Live it up while you can, Drew. As someone who is almost a year older than you, I can tell you that the descent into your late twenties feels like a chilling preview of what's to come. Hangovers worsen, random muscles and bones you didn't even know you had start to ache, and going to bed at 9 p.m. begins to sound like a wonderful idea. (Old lady rant over, someone hand me my crochet and some Ensure.)
Everyone be sure to wish Drew a happy birthday in the comments section.
News and views?
--- First of all, if you haven't read Drew Barker's diary yet, scroll down and do so NOW. It's Barker's second entry for the site, and it's a fascinating look at what's going on behind the scenes of Kentucky football and Barker's journey as a top prospect. In fact, I liked the entry so much, here are my top five favorite things from it:
1) Trent Dilfer and the other Elite 11 Coaches liked him so much they pulled a prank on him
Barker found out he was an Elite 11 finalist when he was pulled over to talk to Trent Dilfer, who his Dad said was really mad at him. Instead, Dilfer invited him to Oregon for the Elite 11 Finals.
2) He is already forming chemistry on the field with Thaddeus Snodgrass
I have a feeling we'll be hearing "Barker to Snodgrass" a lot from 2014 on.
3) He had a UK football shirt made for Artavis Scott
Scott was Barker's roommate at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge, and knowing that Scott is a four-star receiver ranked 11th in the nation in his position, he put the full press on him. Landing Scott would be HUGE for the program.
4) He knew Darius West was bluffing when he said he was going to another school
Barker said that before Darius West committed, he tried to pull one over on Barker by saying that UK was only his third favorite school. Barker didn't buy it, and seconds later, West committed.
5) He feels good about UK's chances for Matt Elam
Barker said that although Elam left campus without committing, he's "not really worried about it." I love that optimism.
At this rate, it won't even be fair to have a KSR Favorite Blogger Contest.
--- ESPN released new rankings for the 2014 basketball class on Wednesday. Here's how Kentucky's top targets stack up:
1. Jahlil Okafor
2. Cliff Alexander
3. Tyus Jones
4. Trey Lyles
5. Emmanuel Mudiay
6. Karl Towns (COMMITTED)
11. Rashad Vaughn
12. Stanley Johnson
16. Devin Booker
19. Goodluck Okonoboh
20. Josh Perkins
31. Craig Victor
32. Jalen Lindsey
35. Isaiah Whitehead
36. Leron Black
On Thursday, we start an in-depth series about each of UK's primary 2014 targets. How's that for a teaser?
--- With two weeks left until the NBA Draft, there is growing doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers will take Nerlens Noel with the number one pick. Rumor has it that uncertainty about Nerlens' knee will cause him to slip as far as the fourth pick, which belongs to the Charlotte Bobcats. However, Nerlens has the chance to improve his stock in workouts with the Wizards on Friday and the Cavaliers in a week. Chad Ford says that whatever happens may not become clear until one or two days before the draft, as each team is taking as long as it can to collect intel on Nerlens' knee. Nerlens is doing his part, working out on this fancy space-age treadmill today:
--- As for Archie Goodwin, the news continues to not be good. At the end of the season, Archie was projected as high as the end of the lottery, but since, has slipped all the way into the second round. Chad Ford says Archie has a few first round teams looking at him, but he isn't doing himself any favors by canceling workouts with teams who have second round picks, like Wizards. On Wednesday, he worked out for the Nets, who have the 22nd pick in the draft. A veteran NBA scout told ZagsBlog that he would draft Archie in the second round between picks 35-45. Ouch.
--- In good NBA Cats news, it finally became official that Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall will participate in the Team USA mini-camp in July. Word that they had been invited leaked earlier this month, and now the three will head to Las Vegas to fight for a spot to represent their country, along with 23 other pros. Check out the full list of participants here.
--- On Wednesday, we also found out that the NCAA will no longer hold regional final tournament games in domes, starting in 2016. The NCAA said that hosting regional finals in domes was just a test run to see if it would work for the Final Four, which it has, but last year's low attendance has to figure into it as well. (UK not being in the tournament didn't help either.) Hooray for better sight lines!
--- Finally, count the Captain D's in Lima, Ohio among those who are happy Darius West committed to Kentucky:
Thursday's a big day. Four-star all-purpose back Stanley "Boom" Williams is visiting campus, and from his comments on Twitter, Mark Stoops may be in the mood to play some Yahtzee. If Williams commits, UK will move up to #3 in Rivals' recruiting rankings. Boom, indeed.
See you then.
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