By: Ira D. CombsTri State Sports Media
November 12, 2012
After somewhat of a slow week last week, once again Big Blue Nation is going to be treated to a unique mix of Wildcat athletics this coming weekend.
This time a triple dose of Wildcat football and basketball, as well as the UK women’s hoops team, will be on tap, and all games are on campus and all three games have tickets remaining.
First up, Cal’s Cats return to the friendly confines of Rupp Arena for a Friday night matchup with Lafayette University, then Saturday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum, Matthew Mitchell’s UK Women’s Hoops team will entertain the Lady Panthers of High Point University. To finish off the two-day plethora of UK sports, the 2012 UK football seniors will take to the Commonwealth Stadium turf Saturday night for their last home game against Samford University of the Southern Conference.
The advanced weather forecast is very encouraging, although it may be a little chilly Saturday night, so dress appropriately and let’s send the seniors and Coach Joker Phillips off with a nice show of support for a change.
Could UK basketball have a new twist in the rotation?
Two years ago a couple of NBA scouts dropped by an early season practice at the Joe Craft Center the day before a game at Rupp Arena to get a closer look at Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, but after witnessing the practice they both asked Coach Cal, “who’s the big white kid, coach?” Of course we all know the end of that story and it was a pleasant one for Josh Harrellson.
Now fast forward to the present day and ask yourself, does UK have a “little white point guard” by the name of Jarod Polson about to crash the party and make a name for himself on this year’s edition of the Wildcats?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that Jarod Polson could be in the NBA in a couple years. I am saying that the seven-man rotation that Coach Cal so diligently worked in the two preseason exhibition games to prepare for Maryland and Duke took a back seat when Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays both suffered injuries and foul trouble against Maryland, opening the door for Jarod Polson to show how much he had improved the last two years after battling Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague at the Joe Craft Center on a daily basis.
I doubt that any of you will remember and I know you won’t research my previous two years weekly syndicated columns to validate this, but I did predict in November 2010 that Polson would play some meaningful minutes at UK before he left and contribute to a win or two before he graduates. Many people laughed at me and several of my media friends gave me that deer -in-the-headlights look when I said it.
I’ll take a bow now, and thank you.
Hopefully, those supposed astute fans at Rupp Arena will stop yelling “Shoot! Shoot!” every time Polson touches the ball and give the young man the respect and recognition he deserves, similar to the other players when they make a play at Rupp Arena.
This kid is tough mentally, physically, and emotionally, but most of all don’t ever lose sight of the fact that there are other unique talents and skills that some players still possess in the game of basketball besides the ability to slam dunk, run like a sprinter, jump like a kangaroo, and, oh yes, that tremendously over used word “athleticism.”
There are actually a few players left that have pure old time basketball skills and the ability to play fast with them yet under control.
Let’s be painfully honest folks, you and I both know, “the little white point guard” would have never been given the opportunity had Harrow and Mays not both been forced out of the game. Hopefully, now Coach Cal will have the same confidence in him that a lot of high school coaches across the Commonwealth knew about all along.
Bruce Pearl, the ESPN Analyst, casts unique predictions on 2012-13 Wildcats
One of Coach Cal’s and Kentucky’s old enemies, Bruce Pearl, has drifted off to the analyst booth like most fired or retired college coaches do. He surfaced at ESPN and it didn’t take him long to rile Big Blue Nation.
Last week on the day of the Maryland game, espn.com released their college basketball panel’s predictions, views, and a few select comments on various teams and coaches for the 2012-13 college basketball seasons. Each panelist had to predict the following: Final Four teams, player of the year, conference champions, NCAA title game, and a “bold prediction” on one particular team.
Pearl and the panel of course were to be objective, but you tell me after scanning his remarks below:
Pearl’s final four teams were: Indiana, Louisville, Florida, and Arizona
Pearl’s SEC champion: Florida
Pearl’s NCAA title game: Indiana beating Louisville
Pearl’s Player of the Year: Doug McDermont of Creighton
Pearl’s Sleeper team: Tennessee Vols
Pearl’s bold prediction was also geared at UK: “As talented as the roster is (young Kentucky will lose at home this year) to either Missouri, Florida, or Tennessee ending the nation’s longest home winning streak presently at 52 and John Calipari’s first ever loss at Rupp Arena. The Cats may even lose there twice.”
Of the 17 ESPN panelists, only six picked UK to make it back to the Final Four, but three of those six picked the Cats to make it back to the championship game. Two panelists picked a UK-Indiana championship game while one predicted a UK-Kansas rematch. Indiana had 13 of the 17 panelists pick them for a Final Four appearance and Louisville had 14 panelists pick the Cards to make it back to the Final Four.