Wednesday is the birthday of one of my favorite Cats, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
. There aren't enough superlatives in the dictionary for the former Kentucky player, who is now the face of the Charlotte Bobcats. Although he was only at Kentucky for one season, he will go down as one of the most beloved players in its history for many reasons, but perhaps most of all, his perseverance. Michael is incapable of giving up, something he proved time and time again on the court, and off of it as well. On a team with so many stars, MKG stood out for his tireless work ethic, which led him to start "The Breakfast Club," an early morning weight lifting session that this year's squad is continuing. His work ethic became so famous that it spawned an acronym all it's own: WWMKGD
. Feeling weak on your morning run? WWMKGD? About to pass out during P90X? WWMKGD. Can't power through that last bite of cheeseburger? WWMKGD!
While in town for the Alumni Game, MKG helped out with Cal's Fantasy Camp and when he wasn't passing out water and towels to the campers, he was working on his game with members of the Bobcat staff. Hours after his former teammates had left the Craft Center to go reconnect with old friends, MKG was still there, which is why if anyone can drag the Bobcats out of the cellar, it's him.
Happy 19th birthday, Michael. Maybe, just for a second, take time to relax and enjoy it.
--- Tuesday was a sloooow news day in UK land, with most of the talk centering around the current state of the football team. With Steve Spurrier on his way to town to rub salt in all of our wounds, things don't appear to be getting better anytime soon. In fact, the Gamecocks' 21-point spread over the Cats is the biggest they've had since in an SEC game joining the league since 1992
, matched only by the spread against UK in 2001. Ouch.
--- There is positive news, I swear. Maxwell Smith threw some balls at practice and is expected to play on Saturday
, according to Randy Sanders. Sanders said he didn't look 100%, but he expects him to be close to that by game time (stop me if you've heard this one before). Kentucky's offense clearly moves best under Smith, and for UK to look respectable at the very least, he has to be in the game.
--- If Smith can't go, the staff is preparing Jalen Whitlow as best they can
, continuing to give him most of the reps at #2. Sanders said the staff is comfortable with Whitlow calling 10% of the plays in the playbook at this time, especially against a defense like South Carolina's (big, mean, fast).
--- Spurrier was his usual Spurrier self Tuesday when talking about the upcoming game. When asked about the game, he said: "I think we are better than them. But if we don't play better than them, they can certainly beat us." Sadly, that almost seems like a compliment coming from him.
--- Remember Mikie Benton's hit on Jordan Reed in the Florida game? The SEC ruled on Tuesday that the hit was indeed "targeting," but they won't suspend Benton because the impact was to Reed's shoulder
--- Don't even think about it, Karen Sypher:
--- Remember how Louisville mayor Greg Fischer's efforts to bring an NBA team to the city seemed stalled by UofL's ironclad contract with the Yum Center? On Tuesday, Tom Jurich told the Courier-Journal's Tim Sullivan that he is "willing to discuss" sharing the Yum Center with an NBA team, but he is not happy that the mayor went "behind his back" to meet with city leaders about the campaign on September 14th:
“We’ve always been very flexible, always tried to help any way we could. Everybody asked us to be a team player six or seven years ago. We had zero goals to go downtown. That was not even in our strategic plan. We were open and honest with everybody that we dealt with. We said, ‘We’ll go. We’ll be a team player. We’ll do it.’ But it’s starting to look like the ultimate bait and switch, isn’t it?”
Fischer told Sullivan that he has communicated his interest in bringing a pro team to both Jurich and UofL president James Ramsey in the past, and felt that having UofL representatives present at the meeting might complicate things. If Jurich is serious about being open to sharing the Yum Center with an NBA team, he needs to be willing to renegotiate the university's contract with the venue, and for some reason, I don't see that happening anytime soon. Until then, expect more "he said, she said" PR squabble.
--- Congrats to the UK baseball team, who just pulled in the 11th ranked recruiting class in the nation
(fifth in the SEC). That's the third highest ranking for the team in school history, behind 2008 and 2009's classes. The team is coming off one of its most successful seasons ever and is more than poised to follow last year's record-setting run. Go Cats.
--- Finally, get ready:
16 days until Big Blue Madness.
Be back soon.