It really was hoops, not Big K and Little K

| November 23, 2011

I realize that all of us had a hard time remembering that Kentucky and Kansas really did play a basketball game last week after all the huggy-kissy nonsense about Coach Big K and Coach Little K.

And Courier-Journal readers had to wait two days to read anything about the UK-KU game. But The Lexington Herald-Leader  had the result splashed as big as possible on its front page and a big picture and the guts of Nasmith Hall of Fame member Jerry Tipton’s  story on the first page of the sports section.

How the Lexington paper, printed 75 miles away, but available the next morning in Louisville, could have that kind of coverage when The Courier-Journal had zilch is hard to explain.

About the Wildcats

I have seen all of the Kentucky teams from the Fabulous Five of the late 1940’s to this day.

This is the fastest, quickest team I have ever seen. Period. The only way the Cats could have been quicker is if Ralph Beard and John Wall had been playing at the same time.

After a bad start, the all-under-classmen starters seemed to calm down when John Calipari called on senior Darius Miller.

If only ESPN had “a Miller” who could have subbed for Dick Vitale, who was at his uncontrollable and constantly-shouting worst.

Vitale did everything but kiss the rings of not just Bob Knight but General Robert Montgomery Knight AND Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski when the latter broke his old coach’s victory record of 902 when his Blue Devils defeated Michigan State 74-69 in the first game of a doubleheader in the Mecca of basketball, New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Tipton’s Rupp scoop

Jerry Tipton of The Herald-Leader is a real bird-dog. He can smell a story from a mile away.

As you know, there is a huge argument over whether a new arena should be built in Lexington or if Rupp Arena should be renovated. UK leaders seem to be leaning toward less costly renovation—if all Wildcat basketball games can be played in Lexington. Heavens! You don’t think UK would agree to play in Louisville, do you?

It just so happens that Madison Square Garden is undergoing a massive renovation at this very time—without any of its Garden-owned teams, the NBA Knicks and the NHL Rangers, missing a beat if they were playing now. Other entertainment venues—dog shows, world championship boxing matches, musicals and the like are accommodated.  Even wrestling! It’s a real marvel to see how quickly Garden crews can turn around the Garden for one event after another.

Attorney Brent Rice, chairman of the Lexington arena group, and his members were impressed. They were escorted by the man in charge of the daily operations of the Garden.

Balance, too!

UK’s five starters against Kansas scored in double figures, from Doron Lamb’s 17 to 12 by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague. Former night owl Terrence Jones scored 15 and Anthony Davis added 14. That’s balance that most coaches just dream about.

Watch Oak Hill!

Kentucky has no boys’ high school basketball teams in USA Today’s preseason Super 25 in the nation. But a Kentuckian, Steve Smith from Wilmore, is coach of the nation’s No. 1 team, Oak Hill Academy, a boarding school in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Smith and Oak Hill have been good to UK, sending Rajon Rondo and some other top players to Lexington. Rondo, of course, is a Louisvillian who left Eastern High for his final year at Oak Hill.

Neither UK nor U of L appears to be in the mix this year.

These current Oak Hill players have signed:
Georgetown: Point guard DeVauntes Smith-Rivera.
UCLA: Forward Jordan Adams.
Purdue: Center A. J. Hammons.
Memphis: Guard Damien Wilson

Smith likes to bring his team to Kentucky at least once a season, but I haven’t  heard of any trip this year. It may be that he can’t find a team strong enough to give his team a test.

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Category: Earl Cox on Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

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