By – Ira D. Combs – Tri State Sports Media Service Inc. – www.combsbrothersonkysports.com
Dear Big Blue Nation we have been lead astray again by these so called recruiting service gurus and the many under qualified national sports media gurus of college basketball . Many of us bought in to the 40 – 0 talk or even a two or three loss season , yes we did , we bought it hook , line , and sinker as they say down at the local barber shop .
Personally , I’m ashamed of myself because I’ve been exposed to and directly involved with several championship level basketball teams over my 61 years and should have known better .
However , in the last 10 days or so I have come to my senses and now know what to expect the remainder of the season and what I think to be the high water mark for this team . They say confession is good for the soul so let’s move on with this week’s column and the rest of the season .
When will the vast majority of the UK basketball fan base ever learn that just because UK has highly rated and many times overhyped basketball players wearing their beloved blue and white jerseys they are no different than any other college basketball teams players when it comes to playing like freshmen . They will be inconsistent in their performance level as freshman and especially on the road when they make their first appearance in each of the SEC basketball venues .
They will look like they are ready to conquer any and all odds one game then the next game especially on the road they will , well , look like freshmen . It’s just the nature of the game and no coach has an answer no matter how many games or championships he has won .
That old time honored trait that each team takes own it’s own personality , well , this team is just taking a little longer and it’s driving Big Blue Nation and Coach Cal to a tizzy in the process . Last week in this column I wrote that this team needed to steal a win on the road and I’ll admit again like many others I really meant two . At the end of the week they done exactly what I ask them to , steal a win and it was a good one at an extremely difficult place to win . Missouri was 42 – 2 at home under Frank Haith until Cal and his extremely young felines came to town .
Now UK heads into this week ( 16 – 5 overall 6 – 2 SEC play ) and have a date at Rupp Arena tuesday at 7:00 on (ESPNU) against Ole Miss and it’s basketball version of Justin Beiber (Marshall Henderson) who I’m sure will give the new modern day young fan base a thrill or two and at the same time make us old school folks cringe and scowl at least every other possession . Then Saturday the Cats will head back out across the southern trail this time to one of the most picturesque settings in the south at Starkville , Mississippi where the historic cowbells will be at full force when the blue and white team takes the court .
My crystal ball says UK will end the week at 18 – 5 overall and 8 – 2 in SEC play then the following week UK will hit both ends of the SEC in cellar dweller Auburn on a Wednesday in Auburn and then entertain the new basketball Kingpin of the SEC at present anyway , the # 3 ranked Florida Gators in Rupp Arena with the ESPN Game Day cameras running nationwide .
Just remember UK us front loaded and top heavy with freshmen and the only thing consistent will more than likely be that they will be inconsistent during this stretch .
UK Football Set To Sign Best Ever Freshman Class
This Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. the CWKYT TV station out of Lexington , the sister TV station of WKYT will air a special on the Cats most highly ranked football incoming freshman class in the long embattled history of the school’s football program . Mark Stoops has made many in-roads in areas that UK has never been able to crack the last two recruiting seasons as well as re-tap into some of the home grown talent across the Commonwealth that had been lost in recent years .
Some of the recent gloom and doom of UK football has been due to three consecutive losing seasons of 6 – 7 , 2 – 10 , and 2 – 10 . Some of it due to their in state rival Louisville Cardinals recent success and according to some people inside UK football circles some of the Cats recent misfortune has been due to the inept recruiting abilities of former coaches like Joker Phillips which doesn’t make sense because Phillips was well known just a few years ago as the person responsible for buiding the pipeline of players to UK from the talent laden LaGrange , Georgia football program which helped produce four consecutive minor bowl bids by the Rich Brooks regime .
Be that as it may we are now definitely in a new era of recruiting football players to UK and the man responsible is Mark Stoops who is set to announce his 2nd class this Wednesday . Seven incoming players ( 6 freshmen and 1 junior college player ) have already enrolled earlier this month to get a head start on their college career so they can participate in spring practice this March / April at the Nutter Training Center.
Reports have been circulating out of the practice facility that one of Stoops prize nuggets incoming freshman QB Drew Barker will be thrown directly into the QB race when spring practice starts .
You can go online to www.combsbrothersonkysports.com for more coverage of UK basketball and football including all the new football recruits late this week and also info on KHSAA basketball and football .