According to comments from John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcat PG Ryan Harrow may practice today. The latest word is that Harrow has lost seven pounds from “flu-like” symptoms and it is doubtful that he will play this week. To be honest, he really won’t be needed this week and Julius Mays and Jarrod Polson are more than capable to lead Kentucky. But you Know that Kentucky is Kentucky when CBS resident troll Jeff Goodman weighs in on Harrow’s situation and even made it his top takeaway from the opening week of college basketball:
1. Not sure what to make of the Ryan Harrow situation. The line coming out of Kentucky is that he remains out with the flu, but no one truly knows. Teammate Jon Hood, when asked how Harrow looks, answered this way: “I haven’t been around him because of the mystery.” What is becoming increasingly worrisome are the questions regarding his mental toughness. Harrow virtually has one season to be The Guy in Lexington, with the Harrison Twins set to arrive in 2013. He sat out all of last season after transferring from NC State. If I were Harrow, I’d do everything I could to get on the court, especially in a huge early-season matchup against Duke in front of more than 20,000. But Harrow didn’t even make the trip. There are those who question whether Harrow is talented enough, but I’m not in that group. Instead, I remain skeptical whether he can handle the pressure of following in the footsteps of John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague
I will admit that the situation is a “mystery” but that Harrow deserves his privacy. It’s not quite time to push the panic button yet, but if Harrow is not practicing by Friday, I would start to worry. Kentucky travels to Notre Dame on the 29th and I would feel a lot better with Harrow on the floor.
If anything, former Unforgettable Sean Woods made the Kentucky/Morehead State game a bit more interesting with his comments yesterday about the current crop of Wildcats. Woods made some comments that he felt the current team had a “sense of entitlement”:
Woods said he didn’t like “the vibe” and sensed a feeling of entitlement.
“These kids don’t know anything,” the Indianapolis native said. “I’ll bet you any type of money that besides the kids from Kentucky that are on UK’s team, they couldn’t tell you anything about one player in the history of Kentucky basketball. When I walked in the door (as a UK freshman) I knew about every player.”
Woods later said on Twitter that he was venting more about “an observation of today’s youth everywhere”. And for the most part, Woods got somewhat of a pass from Kentucky’s fanbase. I get where Woods is coming from and it is a totally different game from when he played. A top recruit can not announce without a press conference and for them, it has become less about the name on the jersey and what the opportunity can do for them.
DeMarcus Cousins committed to John Calipari originally and then followed him to Kentucky. Cousins would have followed Cal everywhere, but the experience of Kentucky basketball has made DeMarcus a Wildcat for life … and in a way, that is more important. Same with Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd – Gilchrist. True, they may not be living out the childhood dream we all had of being Wildcats, but these guys are true blue and ambassadors when they leave.
I know it is a little late, but Sean Woods would bash me on Twitter if we did not at least recognize the fact that Joe B Hall was honored over the weekend. Here is the official UK press release from yesterday:
Former UK men’s basketball head coach Joe B. Hall and contributor and UK graduate Jim Host were two of 10 members in the Class of 2012 to be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
As a Kentucky assistant coach in 1972, Hall had the unenviable task of succeeding Adolph Rupp. Unfazed by the task, Hall guided the Wildcats for 13 seasons, winning 75 percent of 397 games. Within three years, he reached the NCAA championship game and, in 1978, he earned National Coach of the Year honors while coaching Kentucky to its fifth national title with a 30-2 record. His Wildcat teams won eight SEC championships and earned a Final Four berth for the third time in 1984. He was named SEC Coach of the Year four times.
The founder and principal of Host Communications, Host realized the potential growth of men’s basketball and partnered the NCAA with major corporations like Gillette, Valvoline and Pizza Hut. Host, who also had a background in broadcasting, went on to create a model for multimedia rights, bundling everything from coaches’ radio and TV shows, promotional appearances, endorsements and publishing into a single package for some of the nation’s top programs. He has been recognized as one of college athletics’ most influential people.
Along with Hall and Host, the Class of 2012 included former coach Dave Robbins of Virginia Union; players Patrick Ewing of Georgetown, Clyde Lovellette of Kansas, Phil Ford of North Carolina, Kenny Sailors of Wyoming, Earl Monroe of Winston-Salem State and Willis Reed of Grambling; and contributor Joe Dean.
Saturday’s game between Kentucky and Tennessee will feature a lame duck Joker Phillips coaching his last game versus a TBD coach for Tennessee. Blame the Vanderbilt Commodores on both job openings. Beyond that, Larry Vaught has an interesting point on how the two schools have dealt with the firing and the apparent openness of the school’s AD’s:
However, there’s one big difference in what Tennessee did Sunday when it released Derek Dooley compared to how Kentucky fired Joker Phillips.
Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart didn’t post a letter to fans on a website. Instead, he held a press conference to talk about his decision and what direction the coaching search would go. Dooley issued a statement.
Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart announced Phillips’ firing on the UK website and has yet to talk publicly about it as speculation continues to swirl about who the next coach might be. Phillips has met with media members five times since his firing and has been open, cordial and informative.
Vaught goes on to talk about how Hart has been open with the media on the the ongoing job search and Barnhart has been relatively mum. Looks like these two job searches will be linked in history, so get ready for more comparisons.
No matter how you felt about Joker as a head coach, you had to appreciate what Joker did for the Wildcats and the University and the way he handled his firing with class so he deserves a bit of a goodbye. Here is Joker’s last Monday press conference for the season: