NBA draft mystery – whose head was it?

| June 29, 2011

At least one of our major Kentucky daily newspapers knows how to bring down Coach John Calipari a little – and maybe even hurt his feelings.

Surely every daily used the picture of the 6-foot-11 Enes Kanter “getting a hug after the Utah Jazz selected him third” in the NBA draft.

Everyone in Kentucky knows that the hugger was none other than Coach Cal. Okay, only the back of the coach’s head was shown, but any basketball fan would have recognized him. The camera was on the coach repeatedly when one of his players was selected.

Kanter was the No. 3 player chosen, which had to make UK fans grind their teeth even more than they did when the NCAA ruled the UK student permanently ineligible. Had he been able to play this past season, the Wildcats would still be celebrating the university’s eighth national championship.

Kanter is from Turkey. He is a bright young man who speaks perfect English. During his television interview, he was ebullient in his praise of UK fans and how well he was treated while in Lexington.

Ready for football?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the best of the preseason football magazines doesn’t think much of the chances of the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals.

Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, the most respected of all the magazines, picks Charlie Strong’s Cardinals next to last in the Big East Conference. Here’s how the Big East teams are ranked:

1. Pittsburgh.
2. South Florida
3. Tie between West Virginia and Cincinnati
5. Connecticut
6. Tie between Louisville and Rutgers
8. Syracuse

Here are the Southeastern Conference predictions, and as usual for Joker Phillips’ Wildcats, it’s thank God for Vanderbilt:

West Division
1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Arkansas
4. Mississippi State
5. Mississippi
6. Auburn

East Division
1. Georgia
2. South Carolina
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt

The only one of our heroes picked on any of Steele’s All-American teams is UK’s linebacker Danny Trevathan, who is on the third team. Guard Larry Warford is on the second offensive team.

Ten of the 12 SEC teams are picked for bowls. I don’t have to tell you that UK and Vandy are the two not expected to be chosen. The projected bowls:

BCS National Title game: Alabama-Oklahoma.
Fiesta: Notre Dame-Boise State.
Sugar: LSU-Texas A&M.
Rose: Oregon-Nebraska.
Orange: Va. Tech-Pitt.
Cotton: Arkansas-Texas.
Gator: Florida-Michigan State.
Insight: Missouri-Penn State.
Sun: Miami, Fla.-UCLA.
Compass: Auburn-Cincinnati
Music City: Tennessee-Clemson.
Chick-Fil-A: Miss. State-Florida State.
Holiday: Ariz. State-Texas Tech.
Belk: West Va.-N.C. State.
Capital One: Georgia-Ohio State.
Outback: South Carolina-Wisconsin.
Alamo: Okla. State-Stanford
Champs Sports: North Carolina-USF.
Liberty: Ole Miss-Southern Miss.

Classy Mr. Jeter

During the 50th reunion of my high school class, I told my friends about being in New York to report on Pete Rose when he was on his long hitting streak.

A fellow who had married one of our prettiest girls asked me if I had ever met Derek Jeter. He was the campus  minister at Western Michigan in Jeter’s home town  and, like everyone else, had nothing but good things to say about him.

George Steinbrenner, the owner of the Yankees, knew what he was doing when he named Jeter the team captain while the team was – can you believe this? – in Cincinnati for the American League-National League inter-league rivalry.

Jeter has been a Yankee for a little more than 18 years. So has catcher Jorge Posada and relief pitcher Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees are the biggest draw in Major League Baseball. Notice that I didn’t say the most popular or most hated, but the team that draws the most fans. National League teams are happy when it comes their time to play the Yankees in inter-league games.

Look at what happened in Cincinnati. Full houses turned out for all three games.

When rain forced the middle game of the three-game series to be postponed, a day-night doubleheader was scheduled for the next day. Both games filled Great American Ballpark.

Jeter is due back soon. He is sure to reach his 300th hit as a Yankee. He needed just six more when he was hurt.

Jeter is all class and fans everywhere will be pulling for him.

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Category: 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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