As I was walking around Louisville this weekend for all the Derby festivities, it was interesting to see the energy that engulfed the city. People were celebrating, events were happening and supposed celebrities were being spotted (“hey did you see Gene Simmons at the Galt House?!?!?”). At one point on Saturday, I went to my favorite generic Louisville eatery (Mo’s Burrito) and I heard a guy say, “yeah thats all well and good, but I can guarantee you wouldnt have seen Gary Cooper at 4th Street Live.” For some reason that line stuck with me all weekend. Gary Cooper, best known to me as the star of “High Noon”, my father’s favorite movie and the only one I think he has ever owned, seemed like an odd guy to think of when you are talking about modern celebrity. I can understand a person looking at the 4th Street crowd and seeing Nick Lachey, Larry Birkhead and Kid Rock and thinking that “celebrity” is a bit of a lame term nowadays….but how does his mind stretch to Gary Cooper? And what does he mean? Does he think that the Cooper of the elegant suit and cigarette or the tough cowboy with leather boots would not hang out at Felt Lounge or Lucky Strike (official advertiser of Kentucky Sports Radio). I must admit that it has perplexed me all weekend and still makes me wonder what part of the conversation I must have missed. And then, tonight, I find out that Monday is Gary Cooper’s birthday. Something is amiss ladies and gentlemen…..and I must find out what it is.
Now onto the news…..
(1) So the neverending saga of one Jai Lucas continues tonight as the Oklahoma Rivals.com website reports that Jai informed the Sooners that he would not be coming last Friday. This report tends to lend creedence to the view that some had that Lucas did tell the schools involved in the recruiting process of where he stood last week, but he has just not yet chosen to inform the media. No one has been able to get in contact with Lucas in the past view days as it looks as if he has cut off contact for the end of his recruiting saga. This weekend, it has been reported that Taurean Green signed with an agent, thus freeing up the Florida point guard role further. In addition, Yahoo Sports reported that Billy Donovan at one time DID talk with the Memphis Grizzlies about their head coaching job, lending credibility to the view that at some point soon, Billy D could be headed to the pros. Finally, an unbelieveable rumor came from the Florida Scout site which suggested that Jai Lucas and his dad attended the signing of Green and his agent. If the latter is true, then literally I have seen everything, as that strikes me as one of the more ridiculous claims I have ever heard….but nowadays, who knows.
What we do know is at this point, no Lucas decision has been announced publically. Jai continues to push further and further back the date when he is going to let everyone know about his plans and all of us are still left guessing. If you believe the OU report is true however, then the field has been decreased by at least one…..maybe we will find out more leaks in the coming days.
(2) Monday becomes a big day in the Patrick Patterson recruitment as Billy Gillispie speaks at the Huntington High Athletic banquet. This novel piece of recruiting strategy puts Billy Clyde with another chance to be next to Patrick and possibly give off good vibes, even during this “dead” period. Rumors have persisted that Patterson plans on announcing his choice to UK at this banquet, but as of yet I can get no confirmation on this story. At this point, I tend to take EVERY Patterson rumor and throw it away. No more “friends from Huntington” should be believed as I think at this point everyone is guessing. But it will be interesting to see if UK fans flood the otherwise tranquil Huntington sports extravaganza.
(3) Beas Hamga has returned from his UNLV visit and Marc Maggard is reporting that he has termed the visit “ok.” Hamga is scheduled to visit UK next week and many believe it will be his last visit before making a decision. Hamga will be on the Sports Mob tomorrow at 5 pm and you will be able to hear that interview here via the streaming option.
(4) Also coming on the packed Sports Mob Tuesday edition will be the latest UK offer, Tyler Zeller, the big man out of Indiana. IF you scroll down, you can see an interview I did today with the kid, where he talked about his new interest in the Cats. Tyler is planning on visiting UK TODAY and will be on tomorrow to talk about the trip. Presumably Tyler will see Billy Clyde before he goes to Huntington and then tour the new facilities. Tyler has lots good to say about the coach and the team, as you can see below.
(5) Finally, the visit is still on for this weekend for Michael Sanchez, who is taking his “Christian Laettner type” game to the Bluegrass this weekend. Sanchez visited Wake Forest this weekend and is planning on seeing Lexington before making a decision soon after. Arkansas, the home state school, has stepped up their pursuit of Sanchez, but Billy Clyde has the advantage of a long-standing relationship with him from his days in Texas. Sanchez, has spoken with no one in a while, but signs are pointing to him making a decision to go to school this year, rather than prepping.
There is more to come on Monday, including a report from Marc Maggard on a couple of 09 and ’10 guys (including the Rose Hill duo) who are going to be spending some time working out in the new UK practice facility. Rob Gidel has his preseason Top 15 football player rankings for the state of Kentucky (scroll down). Stay tuned for more through the day……