Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tom Leach Interview with Wildcats Thunder

Catmancando
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Tom, you are now the voice of the Kentucky Wildcats. That is quite an honor. How long have you been doing this job and how did you obtain this position?

My first season of football play-by-play was 1997 and my first basketball season was 2001-02. I started working in radio in 1977 in Paris. In the spring of 1997, I knew Ralph Hacker was planning to give up the football job, so I applied with Host Communications and was hired in April, 1997.

You are a busy man with the many tasks you carry out daily. You are the commentator for basketball and football. You also host a morning show on AM 630. Could you tell us what a typical Tom Leach day or week consists of during the sports season?

I get to the WLAP studio at 5:30 Monday through Friday morning and I'm on the air until 9am. I usually spend another hour or two recording interviews, commercials and a daily show called "UK Today" that airs on stations around the state. The only other "set time" I have an assignment is Monday night, for the coaches' call-in shows. I have an office at home where I do most of the preparation for games, which includes reading, making lineup boards, and making notes of possible topics like stats, trends, stories, etc. I'll do some work on game prep every day but how much varies from day to day. I also try to see a couple of practices per week, too. I always get asked about how much time it takes to prepare for games, so I kept track for one week this football season and it was a little over 20 hours.

I can recall last year that you fell ill during a UK basketball game. Someone took over for you during the broadcast. Do you have a contingency plan for such events or did you just come up with a replacement when it happened?

There's not really a contingency plan. I had a stomach virus that night and started feeling worse the closer it got to tip time. I told our producer, Mike Dodson, what was happening, so with it being a home game, he found Dick Gabriel and told him to be ready on short notice to takeover. If that situation occured during a road game, Mike Pratt would probably have had to sub for a few minutes. If I knew earlier in the day that there was a potential problem, we could line up a local broadcaster in the city where were playing to come to the rescue.

The first UK basketball game I ever broadcast was in December, 1999 when Ralph came down with a case of laryngitis on the morning of the Kentucky-Louisville game. Fortunately, that short stretch of the Ole Miss game last year was the only time I've ever had to miss time because of sickness. I'm fortunate in that I rarely get sick enough to have to miss work. Ironically, in that Ole Miss, the Rebels' play-by-play man, David Kellum, was having stomach problems that night. His turned out to be an attack of appendicitis.

You have a short break during the basketball game at half time. What does your half time consist of normally?

The first order of business is always a visit to the bathroom. You never know when the end of the game will be extended, like that seven-overtime affair between Kentucky and Arkansas a few football seasons back. There's no time for bathroom breaks once the game resumes after halftime. I also make notes on the halftime stats on my scoresheet so I can calculate the 2nd half only numbers (that's something not provided on the computer stat monitors we have). With any extra time, I'll hit the press room and grab something to drink and visit with other media folks for a short break.

What is your prediction for UK's basketball record?

I don't make predictions on record or result. In general, I will say that I'm optimistic that this will be a considerably better season than the last one. The freshmen class is going to get a lot better between now and March and I really like their attitude.

Do you travel with the teams?

In basketball, we almost always travel with the team, except for an ocassional trip when my wife and/or kids go with my me. Also, if it's a trip to a place like Nashville, Knoxville,Indy or Louisville, our crew will drive there on the day of the game.

In football, our crew is larger (spotter, stat guy, sideline reporter, etc.) so we sometimes also drive to places like Georgia or Mississippi State.

What do you think UK must improve on this year to have a successful season?

At the moment, they must improve their defense. Before the Charleston game, they were on a pace for 182 steals, which would be well below last season and that was the low mark of the Tubby Smith era. It's also rare for teams to score 80 or more on the Cats and it happened twice in Maui. Tubby's track record suggests they will get the defensive issues fixed. I think they also have to cut down on turnovers. That killed them in the final minutes of the UCLA game. They need to consistently rebound better as well. Randolph Morris has stepped up his play in that area but he needs help. This doesn't figure to be an overpowering team on the glass but they have to at least get a draw or a little better in the boards battle.

Where do you think UK Football will play their Bowl Game?

I think it's a tossup between the Liberty Bowl and the Music City Bowl. Those two are on the same tier in the SEC's bowl pecking order, so I'm not sure who gets the call if they both want the Cats. With all of tickets UK is selling, I would think that would serve the school well as the bowls weigh their choices. It appears to be a situation where one of those bowls will get Kentucky and the other will get South Carolina.

Do you enjoy calling football or basketball more and why?

I get that question a lot and I really don't have a preference. I will say that there's a greater anticipation for football season for me only because I haven't had a chance to do play-by-play for about five months when football season starts whereas I'm already doing football games when basketball season begins.

What would you like to tell the fans on the message boards. Many are tired of Coach Smith and some still think Coach Brooks should leave. Do you have any advice for them?

When it comes to call-in shows, I've always said to coaches that there's one thing worse than negative callers and that's no callers. I would think it's somewhat the same with the message boards. Big Blue fans are passionate and while that means you get a lot of criticism as a coach, you also get great support, too.

As for your question, I would tell the fans on the message boards to just try and be fair and keep things in the proper perspective. Look at legendary programs like UCLA basketball and Alabama football and you can see that constantly chewing up and spitting out coaches doesn't usually work very well. Out in Maui, a friend of mine was in the UK crowd and a guy sitting behind was going overboard in his criticism of the refs, to the point that an older lady working in security tried to calm him down. He then lashed out at her and my friend tried to pull him back and say "calm down." The guy was not wanting to hear that message but after a few minutes of cooling down, he thanked my friend for pulling him back and he then apologized to the security guard.

With call-in shows and message boards, you get reaction that is fueled by that passion but hasn't been tempered with time. I think most fans' hearts are in the right place and for the financial and emotional investment they make in their teams, there's nothing wrong with them voicing their opinions.

I hope the questions are not too strenuous. Thanks for your time and consideration. I greatly appreciate it.

You're quite welcome. If fans are passionate about a team, they listen and watch the coverage so that's good for the person in my job.

I'm very blessed to have this position. Merry Christmas to you and all of the Big Blue fans.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

UK vs. UNC Preview

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst

VS

Well, well, well, look whats right around the corner. Two of the greatest programs in college basketball around is about to collide, and I for one am very exicted. UK and UNC should make for a exciting games with a mixture of experience and youth on both sides. Last season UNC came to Rupp and upset our cats so I say wouldn't it be nice to return the favor in 2006 at the Dean Dome, oh boy would it! So lets take a run down of both teams and see exactly were the advantages lie.

First lets look at the Tarheels. They are lead by one of the best coaches in the land in Roy Williams. UNC overall record for 2005-06 was 23-8 and 12-4 in the ACC. Not a terrible year but not UNC caliber, much the same as UK's year last season. UNC has 4 starters returning but I'm going to say all will not start in the 2006-07 season with the class they got coming in. Returning starters are Frasor, Hansbrough, Terry, and Green. They also have Ginyard, Miller, Thomas, Wood, Burke and Copeland coming back for the 2006-07 season. But UNC's talent is in their recruiting class they have coming in. They have a good mix of size and speed coming to Chapel Hill with this group. Of course we all know about Wright, the recruit all of UK fell in love with, then he pulled our hearts from our chest when he chose the Tar Heels. Then theres Ellington, Graves, Lawson, Stephenson and Thompson. This is a great young group of talent and basketball knowledge that should have UNC at or near the top for years to come.

I would say that there would be a nice mix of young and experienced guys both starting. I would hate to specualte on who starts so I'll leave that for the mind to ponder on. Looking at the talent UNC has I would have to say they have more talent than any other team in the country and are my pick for #1 at the end of the year. As much as it pains me to say!

Now our beloved Cats. UK has had a rough start to the season but it's nothing they can't over come. Tubby has incerted Thomas back in the starting lineup, which maybe a nice move sense I think Stevenson plays better as a frosh coming off the bench. UK is some what in the same boat as UNC as to who they have coming back for the season. UK has a nice core of young and experienced on there roster as well. If Tubby can find the right rotation of players to play and actually who to play UK will be fine.

Look for UK to start the same five as against the Collge of Charleston. But I think Tubbys hook for Thomas will be short. I think as well with Carter back he will play his way into the #2 Center spot. I mean I love Woo but hes just lost on the court. If UK can keep there turnovers down and shoot a decnet % from the field I think they have a great chacne to win, if not look for UNC to blow them out of the dome.

I expect this to be a semi high scoring game 70ish to 80ish for both teams. I think it will remain close through out the game with UNC pulling out a 6-10 point adavantage at the end. But it wouldn't suprise me if UK plays a solid game and leaves with a upset, lord knows I would love for that to happen but I just don't think it will.

Heres to another great game for our beloved Wildcats. UK always has a tough schedule and this season is no different. I would just have loved to seen a little lite schedule this year to help our freshman get used to the college game. But you know with playing these tough games and winning them is what makes UK, UK.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UK Pre-Season Football Predictions

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

The time has come to review this prognosticator’s pre-season predictions. The W-L record in () is my record as far as picking games.

UL - I saw this as a win. It was nowhere close to a win. WOW….not a great start. (0-1)

Texas St - The Cats win #1 for the season. (1-1)

Ole Miss - This was a game a we all knew the Cats needed. (2-1)

Florida - The Cats made it closer than I expected. (3-1)

Central Michigan - The Cats get back on the winning side of .500 (4-1)

South Carolina - I viewed this as the “Signature Win” of the season. Leaving the game that night was as sad as I’ve seen UK fans. (4-2)

LSU - The Cats forgot to get on the plane to Baton Rouge. No “Bluegrass Miracle” was needed by the Tigers. (5-2)

Mississippi State - The Cats began a run of 4 straight wins and bowl eligibility. (6-2)

Georgia - This turned out to be the “Signature Win” of the season. Granted it was not the best UGA team we ever played, but it was a W over a name program. (6-3)

Vanderbilt - The Cats came out ready to play and won a game they have lost in the past, (7-3)

La-Monroe - A good season almost went down the tubes!! But UK wins! (8-3)

Tennessee - A good season was almost a great one! (9-3)

I had the Cats going 8-4, but they wind up 7-5. I missed: UL, South Carolina and Georgia.

Our kids made positive steps forward this year! We need to be proud of what they and the staff accomplished! I have one more chance with the bowl!! A 8-5 season sounds good to me!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

College of Charleston vs. Kentucky - Preview

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

VS

Kentucky(3-2) faces College of Charleston(3-2) after returning from Maui. The Cougars are Coached by Bobby Cremins who is in his 1st year as their Head Coach. Cremins has coached for over 25 years and has a overall career record of 455-307(.599).

Charleston is from the Southern Conference and is the favorite to win the conference this year. Charleston is retuning eight players from last years squad.

The starters for the Cougars, I believe will be as followed:

Dantaye Draper 5-11 Guard, Sr. averaging 19.8 ppg, 3.8 apg and 3.3 rpg and is the teams leading scoring, all reports I have read say this guy is a scoring machine.
Jermaine Johnson 6-7 Forward, So. 11.2 ppg, 1.4 apg and 4.2 rpg.
David Lawerance 6-7 Forward Sr. 9.2 ppg, 1.4 apg and .5 rpg
Josh Jackson 6-8 Center Jr. 5.3 ppg, .5 apg, 3.3 rpg
Marcus Hammond 6-3 Guard So. 3.6 ppg, 1.2 apg and 1.6 rpg
The Cougars as a team are shooting .430% FG, .681% FT and .346% 3PT.

Several things that Kentucky must do in order to win this game is to focused on the Cougars and them only, no need to be looking ahead to UNC. The Cats need to be ready to play hard from the tip-off the whole game and don't let up. Rebound, Rebound to make for a fast outlet break and easy baskets. Kentucky needs to close the lane and not allow any easy baskets inside on the defensive end. Switch over on the open man and contast every shot.

Kentucky needs to control the pace of the game, by playing to their strenght's and getting the ball inside to Morris. By doing this UK should be able to get the Cougars big men in foul trouble.

Hopefully, Kentucky will win this game and get back on the right track, just in time to face UNC later in the week.

WT's Football "Top 10" (Nov. 27)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. USC
3. Michigan
4. Florida
5. LSU
6. Louisville
7. Wisconsin
8. Arkansas
9. Oklahoma
10. Auburn

WT's Women's BBall "Top 25" Poll (Nov.27)

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. Maryland
2. North Carolina
3. Oklahoma
4. Tennessee
5. Ohio St.
6. Duke
7. Georgia
8. Connecticut
9. LSU
10. Purdue
11. Arizona St.
12. Vanderbilt
13. Texas A&M
14. Rutgers
15. Stanford
16. Baylor
17. Michigan St.
18. California
19. USC
20. Louisville
21. Kentucky
22. BYU
23. DePaul
24. Texas
25. New Mexico

WT's Men's BBALL "Top 25" Poll (Nov.27)

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. UCLA
2. Ohio St.
3. Alabama
4. Kansas
5. Florida
6. North Carolina
7. Washington
8. Pittsburgh
9. Georgetown
10. LSU
11. Teaxs A&M
12. Wisconsin
13. Marquette
14. Georgia Tech
15. Memphis
16. Duke
17. Wichita St.
18. Syracuse
19. Arizona
20. Nevada
21. Butler
22. UConn
23. Gonzaga
24. Maryland
25. Kentucky

Friday, November 24, 2006

Kentucky Lady Wildcats vs Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens

WrathofRupp
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

VS

Coach DeMoss takes her 2-1 squad into action tonight against the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens in the Odwalla Classic, in San Francisco,Calif. at 8:00 pm.

The Delaware squad comes in with an identical record to our Lady Wildcats at 2-1 with wins over Villanova and American and a road loss at Boston College by a score of 68-60.

Delaware has 3 players scoring in double figures led by senior Chrissy Fischer at 19.7 PPG and 6.0 rebounds. The Fightin' Blue Hens have 3 starters averaging 32 minutes and 2 averaging 25 minutes. They also use a total of 8 players 11 minutes or more.

If Coach DeMoss uses her bench wisely, I like this match up against a tough team from the Colonial Athletic Conference. Mickie has 9 players averaging double digit minutes, 4 players averaging double digit points led by Carly Ormerod at 13.0 and Jennifer Humphrey at 10 PPG and an impressive 10 rebounds per game.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cats vs Vols

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

VS

If you look at the SEC stat sheet you get the feeling the UK-UT game could make the scoreboard at Neyland Stadium say “TILT” by the end of the game on Saturday.

There is not a doubt UT is talented on defense but let’s take a look at where they rank defensively in the SEC.

Scoring Defense- 8th
Passing Defense- 4th
Rushing Defense- 9th
Sacks- 10th
Red Zone Defense-12th
3rd down Defense- 10th

I don’t think I need to review UK’s defensive stats do I?

The big question with UK is how will they handle 100K fans? UK has not fared well vs. tough road opponents this season. UL, Florida and LSU are games that will not make the 2006 highlight reel. Unlike the games mentioned about UK HAS TO come out of the tunnel and make some positive offensive plays.

A healthy Rafael Little makes a big difference in the UK running game. If UK can run the ball this will allow them to utilize play action and give Andre an extra second or two to get off the pass.

Another big reason UK needs to run the ball is to eat up clock and keep UT off the field. While we like our triplets; Woodson, Burton and Little. UT counters with Ainge, Meachem and Coker.

Can UK beat the Vols in Knoxville? Yea they can, but a lot of things need to break right for UK.

1. Win the turnover game by at least +2.
2. Special teams HAVE to be better than last week. A blocked punt, a return for a TD but something positive needs to happen in special teams.
3. Rafael Little needs another 100 (rushing) 100 (receiving) performance.
4. Jacob Tamme needs to be able to work the middle of the field.
5. UK’s defense has to hold UT to FG’s in the red zone. UT will get their yards. Let’s just hope it’s between the 20’s.

UK will eventually break this 20+ year losing streak to the Vols. Let’s hope It’s this weekend and we cap off a beautiful season with a win over UT!

UK vs Memphis Preview-Maui

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

VS

Today #20 Kentucky(3-1) faces their second ranked team in two days in #12 Memphis(2-1) C-USA at 4:30 on ESPN2. Both teams are coming off a lost and will be playing for a third place finish in the Maui Invitational. Memphis is returning ten players from last years Elite Eight team. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

This will be both teams third game in three days. The question is who will have their legs under them in what I expect to be another nail biter til the final buzzer.

In order for UK to win the game they must be ready to go from the get go. UK must control the tempo of the game today and not allow Memphis to jump out with a big lead.

UK needs to shut the LANE down and not allow easy baskets, this has been a problem the whole time in Maui for UK. Memphis has some good jump shooters. UK will need to play not some, but "TOUGH SOLID DEFENSE" and make key stops the WHOLE game in order to slow them down and for UK to come out with the win. If UK doesn't the they will be leaving Maui(1-2) and (3-1) overall record.

After the final buzzer, UK will have played two ranked teams in #5 UCLA and #12 Memphis and come away with some valuable experience that I believe will pay off during the season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

UK vs UCLA BBall Preview - Maui

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

VS

First off let me say, expect to hear a lot tonight from the announcers about the TRADITION this two schools have.

Tonights game will be a real test as #20 Kentucky faces their first ranked opponent of the season in #5 UCLA (2-0). Who are a favorite to win the Maui Invitational this year.

UCLA returns 10 players from the 2006 National Runner-Up team and has NO seniors on their roster and UCLA should be the favorite to win the Pac-10 this year. I'm sure UK Coach Smith will remind the team of this and have them ready to play tonight.

However, there are several things UK will have to do tonight on the defensive side to come out with a win. UK must play with Intensity the whole game and not let up until the final buzzer, they "MUST" box out, rebound, play TOUGH DEFENSE and make key stops. But the most important thing is UK CAN NOT ALLOW A WIDE OPEN LANE for easy baskets. UK needs to play very smart on defense and not pick up silly cheap fouls.

UK can't afford to struggle offensively, they must play smart and and run their offense and set screens for the open man, instead of coming down and taking quick shots. If UK does this UK will win, if not UK is in for a long long night and their first lost of the season.

If UK passes this test tonight by winning, it will say a lot about this years team and what we as fans can expect for the season.

Maui's Final Four Summary

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst




The first team we take a look at is our beloved Wildcats.


UK is a team many consider to be having a down year in 06-07 but I dont think of this being the case. UK has a good core of contributors coming back and a good core freshman who know how to play the game. UK's front court can be solid if all the player scome to play on a day to day basis. I think Morris at 6-11 and 260lbs can be a All-American, if he plays with the passion he needs to. There guard play should also be better this year. Bradley will open the court up a little with his abiltiy to shoot to rock. Moving Crawford to his original 2G spot should also help with scoring and getting to the free throw line a little more. Add a improved Perry and a very athletic and long defensive gem named Stevenson and the UK lineup should be solid this year. UK sleeper pick to win the Maui.


UCLA is the next team we will take a look at. They have a defensive coach in Ben Howland who likes to play Tubby like D. UCLA lost 3 starters from last years squad but still have a solid core of players back for the 2006-07 season. But remember they are coming off a Final 4 apperance last season and are still improving with new faces this season. Starters coming back are Affalo and Moute. Add Shipp a 6-5 F, Keefe a 6-9 F, and probably Collison to the list and thats makes a solid starting core. The bench is pretty solid also with a lot of bodys to throw around for coach Howland. UCLA is probably the favorite to win the Maui.


Georgia Tech is another contender to look at. Paul Hewitt is the head coach here. Last season GT went 11-17, but don't look for another down season like that. Hewitt had a great recruiting class that should have GT in the top 25 all season. GT has all startes returning, but they all wont start after all. GT has 3 freshman starting and 2 are All-Americans. Young, Crittenton and Peacock are the 3 freshman starting. Dickey and Clinch will probably start along side the freshman to make a good lineup. There bench will also be solid considering 3 starters from last season will come off it. GT probably loses tonight ot Memphis


Memphis is the last team we look at in the Final 4 from Maui. John Calipari Tigers will be ready to roar in Maui. They went 33-4 last season, don't look for the same season this year. They lost 3 starters but gained some good freshman. Starters returning are Dorsey and Douglas-Roberts 2 very athletic players. Freshmen Kemp, Mack and So. Dozier should join the 2 returners in the lineup. Their bench will probably be alittle weak this season. They have bodies, they're just not experienced enough to do a great job. Memphis makes it to the finals and loses to UCLA.

Ramon Harris the Wildcat

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst

The University of Kentucky has got a bit of good news. The funny thing is were it comes form, Alaska. In the form of a 6-6 slick shooting and great leaping SF named Razor Ramon Harris. Harris signed his letter of intent and is already on campus at UK. He found out just last week that he will be eligble for the 2nd semester of the 06-07 season. This is very good news for this squad who are low on bodies. He will come in and backup Perry at the SF postion.

Now for the big question? How much can he or will he help the Wildcats this season. I will say this about the kid. He wants to be a cat and he has a huge heart who hustles on every play and wants to get better. I see Harris coming in and if he gets Tubbys system down I believe he can help this year. I look for Harris to come in and avg. around 5 or 6 points a game and a couple rebounds. I think he comes in and show alot of energy. I also believe his energy on D will help alot with this team.

Last thought here form me. I think Harris coming in here will help UK a good deal. I believe he comes in and runs up and down the floor and gives the whole team more energy by just watching him. Add Harris to the already present freshman ann the future at UK looks bright as we speak.

UK Football has Big Recruiting Day!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

UK received good news x 4 yesterday regarding recruiting. The following kids committed to UK:

Mychal Bailey-LB/S
Matt Lentz-QB
Brad Durham-OL
Antonio Thomas-LB/S

This brings UK's total to 16. You still have Stuart Hines and Chase Dumphord two KY kids we need to get on the bus!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cats beat Warhawks!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

The University of Kentucky Wildcats jumped out 28-10 on ULM Saturday. It seemed the route was on for an easy Senior Day victory. Someone forgot to send the memo to ULM’s offense and UK’s defense.

ULM came into the game average 315 yards per game. They rushed for 351 yards!!! UK’s defense was non-existent from the 2nd quarter on. ULM just lined up and ran the ball down UK’s throat. Mike Archer did nothing to change UK’s look. As a matter of fact he let ULM dictate things.

It was very apparent ULM was not going to throw the ball or throw it well if they tried. Why not walk 8 guys up and make ULM beat you in the air? Instead they would go three wide and we bring in the nickel package and get gashed up the gut.

Remember in little league football the coach telling you as a DE to stay home and be as deep as the deepest. IOW, comes across the line stay as deep as the deepest guy in the backfield. This helped with cutbacks and reverses. Not our DE’s!! They consistently crash down only to have the QB keep the ball on the “read-option” and run to the spot they left!

The UK defense again, was unable to get off the field on 3rd down. ULM was 9 of 13!! They were also 4 of 4 in the red zone.

It not for UK’s defense the UK special teams would have had the distinction of being the worst unit on the field Saturday. A FG blocked and returned for a TD. Masthay kicking the ball out of bounds on kick-offs. A fumbled snap on an extra point. It’s a good thing Rafael Little was able to run back a punt for a TD!

Mike Archer and his defensive staff need to take the offensive guys out for a steak dinner! They bailed them out on a day that a loss would have been tough on UK’s post season chances.

UK has 7 wins and a bowl berth wrapped up. That does not happen very often for UK football and these kids deserve a huge pat on the back for what they have accomplished. The fans need to be ashamed for not supporting this group! (That is for another article)

Let’s go to Knoxville and let it all hang out and break the 20+ year losing streak to the Vols. As my daddy taught me as a young kid, “Nothing sucks like a big orange!”

Where are you UK fans?

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

Is it Rich Brooks? Is it Mike Archer? Is it Mitch Barnhart? Where are the UK football fans? Come on, Saturday was a perfect fall day for football!

Not too mention, watch a winning football team! How many times have we sold Commonwealth Stadium out with a 4-7 football team? UK football fans have been the most loyal fans for as long as I can remember. They have begged for a winning record in November! Now, they get it and don’t show up for the games?

You had a UK team with 6 wins playing for the 7th on Senior Day. A day that honored young men who have been through probation, humiliation and now a bowl invitation!! Yet for some reason, there were 10,000 empty seats!

Is Brooks not "sexy" enough for you? He is a straight shooter and tells it like it is. Has that rubbed people the wrong way? Here is a man who inherited a historically losing program now on probation. He went into many games with 20 less scholarship players than the opponent. Yea, there have been some bad losses. Ohio seems to be the one that sticks in the mind of most people.

Some people point to his 1st season when UK was 4-8 with Derek Abney and J-Lo. What they don’t remember is the loss of Artose Pinner and Dwayne Robertson!!

Is it Mike Archers (lack of) defense? Granted this unit is bad, but it did not stop people from coming last year. UK fans have never cared about defense anyway. It was always, "Make it exciting. We don't care if we lose 50-48." Well, we've been winning 50-48 so this can’t be the reason, can it?

Are you upset Barnhart raised ticket prices? Guess what, you get what you pay for. You want UK to be a winner but you can't do it with the lowest ticket prices in the SEC. In the past UK has lost great assistant coaches because they wouldn't pay them to stay. Tommy Bowden and Lovie Smith would be two I can think of! In order to get top notch people you have to pay them. Part of that process is ticket prices and the K-Fund donations.

I hate to think fans stay home wishing for losses and a new staff? Those of you who have this mindset stop reading the LHL and let me tell you something they won't!

UK has been to 10 bowls in their history. You have a coach taking them to their 11th yet fans want him fired. If Barnhart did that, tell me how he would sell that to a potential coach? Here is the scenario.

"Hey Coach XXX, this is Mitch Barnhart from UK and I would like to talk to you about our head coaching vacancy here at UK." Barnhart states.

'What happened to coach Brooks?" Coach XXX asks.

"Well, we let him go." Barnhart answers.

"Aren’t you going to a bowl?" Coach XXX asks.

"Yes we are!" Barnhart tells him.

"Then why fire the coach?" Coach XXX asks.

"Well, our fans don’t like him." Barnhart answers.

"You’ve been on probation, correct? You’ve been to how many bowls in the history of you program?" Coach XXX replies.

"Yes, we are 4 years removed from probation and we have been to 10 bowls in UK history." Barnhart tells him.

"So, why would I want to come and work there if you fire a coach who takes you to a bowl." Coach XXX asks.

You hear a dial tone as Barnhart can not give an honest answer to that question.

So, UK fans why don't you support this team?

Wildcats Thunder Football "Top 10" (Nov 20)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. Michigan
3. Notre Dame
4. USC
5. Florida
6. Arkansas
7. LSU
8. Lousiville
9. WVA
10. Wisconsin

WT's Men's BBALL "Top 25" Poll (Nov.20)

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. Florida
2. North Carolina
3. LSU
4. Ohio St.
5. Kansas
6. Washington
7. UCLA
8. Alabama
9. Georgetown
10. Boston College
11. Pittsburgh
12. Wisconsin
13. Duke
14. Memphis
15. Teaxs
16. Michigan St.
17. Kentucky
18. Syracuse
19. Arizona
20. Nevada
21. Marquette
22. UConn
23. Wichita St.
24. Georgia Tech
25. Tennessee

WT's Women's BBall "Top 25" Poll (Nov.20)

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. Maryland
2. North Carolina
3. Oklahoma
4. Stanford
5. Tennessee
6. Duke
7. Ohio St.
8. Connecticut
9. Georgia
10. LSU
11. Arizona St.
12. Purdue
13. Texas A&M
14. Rutgers
15. Vanderbilt
16. Baylor
17. Michigan St.
18. California
19. USC
20. UCLA
21. Kentucky
22. BYU
23. DePaul
24. Texas
25. New Mexico

Sunday, November 19, 2006

DePaul vs UK BBall Preview in Maui

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator



DePaul(1-2) from the Big East Conference will face #22 Kentucky(2-0) for the first time since Dec. 18, 1970 a game UK won 106-85. DePaul's last win over UK was on February 18, 1956, 81-79, at the Chicago Stadium. Kentucky leads the all-time series 17-3. This will be the first meeting between the two schools on a neutral court and at the Lahaina Civic Center Maui, Hawaii at 9:00 p.m. as Kentucky returns to Maui for the first time since 2002 when they went 2-1.

DePaul's Head Coach Jerry Wainwright is in his second season at DePaul and his 13th as a head coach. He is 199-161 overall and 13-17 with the Blue Demons.

The Blue Demons return four starters and eight of their top nine scorers this season. Senior Guard Sammy Mejia 6'6 is DePaul's returning led scorer with 14.9 points a game to go with 66 assists. The other 3 returning starters are So. Guard Jabari Currie 6'4, Jr. Forward Karron Clarke 6'6, So. Forward Wilson Chandler 6'8. I believe from reports that Senior Forward Marcus Heard 6-7 will be the other starter. DePaul in their last game shot 48.9% from the field, 37.5% from 3-Pt., 59.4% from Free Throws.

Kentucky needs to come out focused and keep that mind set til the final buzzer. UK can't afford to get careless and lazy against a more improve DePaul team from last year atleast on paper. If UK does then UK could be going down to the wire with a very close game and looking at their first lost of the season.

However I believe UK should win this game, by how much I don't know. But I hope the Cats have a big enough lead with over five mins left, that Coach Smith can pull the starters and let the Freshmen finish out the game getting valuable experiece and the starters getting some rest for the next game against UCLA/Chaminade.

This years leaders and team wants to prove the media wrong and show that they are ready to make a run to get to the Final Four and the National Championship game. What other way to prove that, than by going to Maui with the mind set to WIN and ALL BUSINESS?

Note: This game will be televised by ESPN2 with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (color commentary) and Jay Bilas (color commentary) handling the announcing duties.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lady Wildcats vs Old Dominion Lady Monarchs Preview

WrathofRupp
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

VS

Coach DeMoss has her Lady Wildcats heading to take on the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs of the Colonial Athletic Conference. The Lady Monarchs are coming off of a season opening 72-92 loss to the Virginia Cavaleirs and are looking to get on track against the #22 Lady Wildcats.

Old Dominion is lead by 5'8 junior guard T.J. Jordan with 21 points and 6'1 senior forward Sherida Triggs at 15 points. Defending the paint for the Lady Monarchs is 6'4 junior center Tamara Ransburg who should be able to give Elliot and Humphrey some tough competition after recording 2 blocks, 1 steal and 5 rebounds in the loss to Virginia.

Coach DeMoss looks to right the ship after falling to Indiana 51-54 in the finals of the Womens Sports foundation tournament.

Cats vs. La.-Monroe Football Preview

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

VS

UK is coming off 3 straight SEC wins and face UT next week in Knoxville. We hope this isn't a game UK forgets to play. Alabama, Ohio in 2004.

I think this team has a different make-up to them. These kids are tasting success for the first time in their UK career and I doubt they let this opportunity go by.

It is important for UK to get out early and hopefully have a big enough lead in the 2nd half where some younger kids can get some time.

I am curious to see how Eric Scott does with his first start at guard. The young man has been a TE, DE and now an offensive lineman.

It is important UK come out of this game without anymore injuries. Especially on the OL. Rafael still needs a few carries to keep in the swing of things after missing 4 weeks.

I hope the defense comes out and holds this group to under 300 yards offense. While that might not seem like much they need some good things to happen to them so they can have some momentum going into the UT game.

The most important thing on Saturday is we graduate 16 seniors. Seniors who stuck with a program that was arguable at an all time low after being left on probation by Hal Mumme. These kids deserve for fans to show up and show they appreciate what these young men have accomplished. Their careers at UK were in the cellar at one time and now they have a chance to go out with a bowl appearance. "THAT DESERVES OUR GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION!"

UK vs. Miss. Valley St. Preview

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

vs

Kentucky(1-0) had better be ready to play Friday night against Mississippi Valley St.(0-2) and not looking ahead to some fun in the sun.

MVSU is a SWAC school who only has one Freshman on its roster and Head Coach James Green is in his second year at MVSU with his career record being 132-128. MVSU is picked to finish eighth in the SWAC.

MVSU starts a three guard lineup with their tallest guard being 6-2, their forwards are listed from 6-4 to 6-8, the only center on the roster is Ronald Alexander at 7-0 and is expected to be a force in the middle for MVSU.

MVSU has avg. 45.5 pts a game this year and are shooting 28% from the field, 18% from 3-pt and 62% from the free throw line.

With MVSU losing their opener to #20 Creighton by 36 pts and their second game to Ole Miss by 23 pts. MSVU should be hungry and they would love to come into Rupp and get a BIG WIN over #22 Kentucky. MVSU might be nerveous playing in front of 20,000+ at Rupp, when their home court only sets about 5000.

Now I know on paper this is a big mismatch. But if UK comes out flat and looking ahead to Maui, then this game could go down to to wire and the Cats could be going to Maui with a lost.

But I believe that Tubby will have the team ready to play Friday and the crowd will be rocking in Rupp. I believe UK will win this game by 20+ pts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Coach DeMoss lands top 10 recruiting class...again

WrathofRupp
Wildcats Thunder Administrator


Mickie DeMoss has just landed her second top 10 recruiting class in a row and 4th top 25 in 4 years at UK. DeMoss was the recruiting assistant at UT under Pat Summit and is bringing in the quality of talent that made UT a perenniel powerhouse in womens college basketball.

Coming to play for the Lady Wildcats are:

Catina Bett -Bett is a 6'5 center from Gladsen, Alabama. She was ranked in the top 50 womens players and also plays competitive volleyball. She chose UK over Florida, Auburn, Alabama, and Mississippi State. Coach DeMoss describes her as very mobile and agile for her size with solid presence on both ends of the court.

Victoria Dunlap -Dunlap is a 6'1 power forward from Brentwood Academy in Nashville Tennessee. She is described as a tremendous leaper and was named Female Track Athlete of the Year by the Tennessean for winning the state pentathalon and high jump. She comes to UK as the #14 player in one poll and #18 in another. She chose UK over Vanderbilt, Florida and Kansas.

Amber Smith -Smith is a 5'5 point guard from Winter Haven, Florida. She is a 3 year starter in high school averaging 11 points and 9 assists as a junior. Winter Haven High School holds an inplressive 91-5 record with Amber at the point. She chose UK over Vanderbilt, Maimi and Clemson.

Carly Morrow -Morrow is a 5'11 guard from Chattanooga Girls Prep in Tennessee. Coach DeMoss expects her to step up and fill the 3 point shooters role when Alcius and Pfeiffer graduate. She is a 3 sport athlete and received "Best of Preps" honors in soccer and basketball. She signed early and didn't give any other schools serious consideration.

With these back to back stellar classes, I smell a title run sooner rather than later. Here's hoping Coach DeMoss is in UK Blue and White for a long time to come.

WT's Women's BBall "Top 25" Poll (Nov.14)

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. Maryland
2. North Carolina
3. Oklahoma
4. Stanford
5. Tennessee
6. Duke
7. Ohio St.
8. Connecticut
9. Georgia
10. LSU
11. Arizona St.
12. Purdue
13. Texas A&M
14. Rutgers
15. Vanderbilt
16. Baylor
17. Michigan St.
18. California
19. Kentucky
20. UCLA
21. USC
22. BYU
23. DePaul
23. New Mexico
25. Texas

WT's Men's BBALL "Top 25" Poll (Nov.13)

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. Florida
2. North Carolina
3. Kansas
4. LSU
5. Georgetown
6. Ohio St.
7. Boston College
8. Washington
9. UCLA
10. Alabama
11. Pittsburgh
12. Wisconsin
13. Duke
14. Memphis
15. Teaxs
16. Michigan St.
17. Arizona
18. Syracuse
19. Gonzaga
20. Kentucky
21. UConn
22. Marquette
23. Louisville
24. Georgia Tech
25. Wichita St.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Alan Cutler Interview with Wildcats Thunder

Catmancando
Wildcats Thunder Administrator & Co-Founder

Catmancando:
We have seen the new Freshman class for 2 exhibition games. The fans seem to think they are going to be really good. What is your opinion on each of the new comers?

Cutler:
I have said for a couple of months on radio that this year is going to be a lot more fun in Hoops than most UK fans believed. All four of the freshman can help right away. Their attitude is perfect. I like how they enjoy the game and play HARD. Something that many, for some reason overlook. Jasper really sees the court Stevenson's knickname, Pogo is perfect. He can help today in the Paint. Meeks might start before many think. Don't count out Porter. His Dad was his coach. The more you see him the more you will like him.

Catmancando:
The 2007 class currently includes A.J. Stewart and Mike Williams. What do you think about the recruits that have signed and what about Ramon Harris?

Cutler:
I want to see them first. I had some recruiting "experts" rip Stevenson to me before he got here. I'd rather judge later on. I like that they have been signed. But, let's take another look when the entire class is completed.

Catmancando:
The football team is doing quite well. It appears that we have a great chance of completing the season with a winning record and are bowl eligible. Do you think the staff's jobs are safe?

Cutler:
Jobs are safe.

Catmancando:
What bowl do you feel the Cats will attend?

Cutler:
Don't know...No one does at this point. Have you thought of the possibility of UK going 9---4 this year in football ? Could this be the first year since 1964 where UK and Vandy beat Rocky Top in the same year ?

Catmancando:
Alan, you are very busy man. You are currently involved with the Cats, Reds, Bengals, WLEX T.V. and the host of All Sports Sports Talk on AM 630 WLAP.

Cutler:
I also do weekend sports talk on WLW in Cincinnati...the no. 1 station.........in Cincy perhaps this will help you...
Alan S. Cutler
Host of the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network
Sports Director WLEX-TV
700 WLW Sports Talk
Reds Radio Network
WLAP Sports Talk

Catmancando:
My question is what does Alan do for "down time". What are your hobbies and what types of activities do you enjoy to do while you are not working.

Cutler:
I try to work out everyday so I don't turn into 300 pounds.........

Catmancando:
Out of all of the sports you cover, which one is your favorite?

Cutler:
Don't have a favorite sport anymore.

Catmancando:
How good will the 2006-2007 Kentucky Wildcat basketball team be this year? What's your predictions?

Cutler:
They will battle with anyone in the SEC in this....a year where it might be as good as it was when Barkley was at Auburn. This could be one of the great years in the SEC.

Catmancando:
Coach Smith discussed changes last year. Do you feel that changes have been made and do you think that the changes are sufficient?

Cutler:
If Tubby wins enough....who cares about some of the changes people wanted to see. Let's see how it plays out. If UK Doesn't win enough...that's a different story. We need to let Tubby make the changes he thought was necessary.............The change in the strength coach to me was huge. It's something that should have been done years ago. That has more to do with the success of many programs...than most believe. It has to do with the mental and physical outlook of the players. I believe in working players....REALLY HARD....and, in the long run....it's the best thing for them....whether or not they realize it when they are going thru it.

Catmancando:
I can see that you are a very busy man. Thanks for your time Alan. We really appreciate it. Keep up the good work and I'll be sure to keep listening to your great show every week night at 6 p.m. on WLAP AM 630.

Cutler:
Good luck to you guys..................................................................
alan

UK vs. Miami,OH. Basketball Preview

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst

VS

First off let me say that I think this will be a exellent game to start the season off for UK. Miami, Oh. should make for a good game and great learning experience against UK and their freshman.

Lets take a look at Miami,Oh. and see what they bring to the table. Under head man Charlie Coles last season Miami,Oh. went 18-11 overall and 14-4 in the under rated Mid-American conference. They also had a apperance in the NIT were they were bounced in the first round by Butler. They have 3 starters returning in Peavy a 6-8 F, Penno 6-5 G, and Pollitz 6-6 F. To round out the the starting 5 Coach Coles will look to red shirt freshman Fletcher 6-8 C from St. ALbans W.VA. same school as former Cat Williams and also was a teammate of his in high school. Also look for a transfer form Southern Indiana in Richburg a 5-9 G to start. There bench will be young and inexperienced and probably not used all that much. The Redhawks will be a mostly young team this season and will probably have a rough time this year. So I see this as being a good opening game for UK and their freshman to get their feet wet with.

Look for Tubby to start the same 5 as he has during the preseason games. I say Meeks will be the first off the bench followed closely by Jasper and Stevenson. I look for UK to open up the game early and run with their new found endurance thanks to coach Holsopple. I don't think Miami,Oh. depth is deep enough to run with the Wildcats. I say they fall off in the second half and UK wins by 20 or more.

Cats to go Bowling!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst


The University of Kentucky football teams has won three straight conference games and are at 4-3 in SEC play. A lot of people wondered if UK could beat Vanderbilt this past Saturday coming off the big win over Georgia. It seems the next step in the building process has taken place after the Hal Mumme probation era.

Andre Woodson, Keenan Burton and Rafael Little give UK a trifecta of offensive fire power. Woodson threw for 450 yards and 4 TD’s vs. Vanderbilt on Saturday. Burton had 11 catches for 171 yards and two TD’s. Vandy killer Rafael Little had 132 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards.

UK put together another great 4th quarter. Trailing 20-17 UK scored on its 1st possession to take a 24-20 lead. Vanderbilt drove to the UK 2 where on 4th down Chris Nickson was picked off by EJ Adams who returned to the ball to midfield.

It took UK four plays when Woodson hit Demoreo Ford for a 27 yard TD pass for a 31-20 lead.

Vanderbilt again drove deep inside UK territory only to have Marcus McClinton pick off another Nickson pass in the end zone.

The Cats put the game away when Woodson hit Burton for a 57 yard TD pass and a 38-20 lead.

While the UK offense racked up 597 yards of offense the defense gave up 621 yards to Vanderbilt.

As they have all season UK was able to win the turnover battle 4 to 1. Two of the turnovers where interceptions in the end zone. It does seem the bend but don’t break defense has worked for UK this season, but missed tackles at some point will come back to haunt UK if they can’t get this fixed. Vanderbilt had 7-8 yard plays that turned into 40+ yard plays due to UK’s inability to tackle.

UK did hold Vanderbilt to 2 of 9 on 3rd down conversions and 0 for 2 on 4th down. Add that with the turnovers and UK did make some plays on defense.

The usually solid UK special teams need to get their head back in the game. Two missed goals of 27 and 43 yards need to be made. A block punt for Vanderbilt caused an injury to Tim Masthay. UK roughed the punter on Vanderbilt’s 1st series and could have had the ball inside the 50. Keenan Burton had a KO return for a TD nullified with a holding call.

Kentucky seems on their way to a bowl game! This is a huge step forward for a program rocked by probation and negative press from the Lexington media. This allows the young kids to get practice time and set the stage for spring practice.

This will be a HUGE shot in the arm for recruiting! It shows kids UK can win and the future is bright for UK football.

WT's Football "Top 10" (Nov.13)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. Michigan
3. Notre Dame
4. USC
5. Florida
6. Arkansas
7. Rutgers
8. LSU
9. Louisville
10. WVA

Friday, November 10, 2006

UK Football Recruiting for 2007

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst


As we wind down the 2006 season let’s take a look towards the 2007 recruiting class. The past few seasons UK has signed 28-35 kids. Some of these kids were placed in prep school or grey shirted. UK does not have many scholarships to give in 2007.

Here are the kids who were placed in prep school or grey shirted from the 2006 class who will count towards 2007 numbers.

Allen, Moncell, RB 5’9 215
Boswell, Marckus, WR 5’9 170
Cessna, Chris LB/TE/DE 6’3 210 (will count as 2006)
Cross, Mike OL 6’6 320
Drayton, Chris LB 6’0 200
Foote, LaRay RB/DB 6’0 180
Goode, Demetrius RB 5’9 185
Salahudin, Ameer DB 5’11 180

UK has received the following verbal commitments this fall:

Jefferson, Duran ATH 6’1 195
Keye, John WR/TE 6’4 220
McCord, Shane DL 6’2 275
Murphy, Billy Joe OL 6’6 265
Tydlacka, Ryan P

That is 13 scholarships for next year. The biggest need in the 2007 is the OL. UK may have caught a huge break this past week with UL pulling the scholarship of Kentuckian Brad Durham.

Here is brief breakdown of who is left on UK’s board:

Matt Lentz(QB) I don’t think he comes or he would have already pulled to trigger.
Vic Anderson(RB) Attended the UK-UGA game. He has verballed to WVA
Terrence Scott(WR) JUCO originally from Tennessee.
Brad Durham(OL) as stated above we may benefit from UL pulling their offer.
Stuart Hines (OL) The top rated player in KY. The key to the class.
Paul Millay (OL) Another KY kid who would help in the future.
Shukree Barfield(DT) JUCO who originally committed to Rutgers. Best friend of UK DB Shomari Morre.
Jeff Boyd (DL) had committed to UK in the summer, but has since said he is wide open.
Greg Meisner (DE-LB)
DJ Satfford (DE) From LaGrange. Will be hard to get away from UGA or Auburn.
Randall Burden (CB) Teammate of Stafford. Will end up at UK
Dequan Dembry(CB) had committed to Auburn, but has reopened his recruitment.
Roy Hundley(DB) JUCO player has made a visit to UK.
Anthony Watkins (DB) From Washington state, but has family in KY.

A win this weekend over Vandy and you will probably see some of these kids publicly commit to UK.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

UK Freshman: "Jodie Meeks Recruitment"

MrMeeks
Wildcats Thunder Member
**This Blog of the Day post is courtesy of the GT Sports Blog
2006 Recruiting Prospect: Jodie Meeks


Being a top national recruit basketball can be fun, stressful, invigorating, pressure-packed and rewarding - all at the same time. Navigating the winding road to find the right college is not easy. We had an opportunity to discuss the recruiting game with a top national prospect from the state of Georgia, Jodie Meeks, as well as his father, Orestes Meeks. In case you don't know, Jodie is 6'4", 190lb PG/SG from Norcross High School. He is from the class of 2006, so he will be a senior this fall. He currently plays for the AAU Georgia Hurricanes, a fairly new team sponsored by Reebok. He was formerly with the Georgia Stars. Rivals ranked Jodie as the 9th best SG in the nation, and the 38th best prospect overall. Justin Young, a top recruiting analyst at Rivals.com, lists Meeks as the 6th best prospect in the state of Georgia.

What about his game? Jodie has primarily played the PG spot in high school, but is very athletic and a scorer, which gives him the flexibility to play the 2-spot also. In fact, some of the recruiting services list him as a SG. He attacks the basket, plays above the rim, has a nice mid-range jump shot and is an excellent defender. He led his high school team in assists last season and carried much of the scoring load. He is a guy who likes to shoot the big baskets in the clutch, often taking over towards the end of a game.

What does Jodie think are his strengths? "I have a pretty good handle and can shoot the ball pretty well. I love to play defense. I also recognize situations pretty well." Jodie is an excellent athlete, excelling in baseball as well, but gave it up to focus on hoops fulltime.

When looking for a college, Jodie is looking for a combination of strong academics and strong athletic program. "The first thing is what type of school is it academically. I would like to play early. I really look at who they have and who they recruit. My dad has watched how a school recruits and if they over recruit. My dad also said when I visit the campus, I'll know. I am also interested in having a positive relationship with the head coach. I wouldn't go play for a school if I didn't know and feel comfortable with the head coach."

As far as academic interests, the sciences and math are strong attractions, says Jodie. "I like history. I loved math until I took Trig this year...whew! I got an A the first term and B the second, but it was tough. I also like some of the sciences. I have not decided on what I will major in."

What about the draw of a big city versus a cozy small-town atmosphere. Jodie feels he could adapt, based on his background. "I could go to either. My dad is from a big city (Chicago), and my mom is from a small town in Tenn (Petersburg). I just want to go to a place where the students are important, and basketball is fun."

When it comes to the recruiting game, things have been heating up for Jodie. When asked about the stress, it didn't seem to be an issue. "No, I still like it a lot. The rules and the coaches keep it fun. I think my high school and AAU coaches have a much tougher time than me. They get all the calls." As to how many letters he gets - "Hundreds. The ones that stand out are the personalized cards or handwritten comments."

Jodie's father has tried to help him focus on the details of recruiting, how coaches express interest and body language, subtle or otherwise. "I have tried to prepare Jodie for the recruiting process by discussing what's important to him as a person. We talk about how the different schools have different needs and perspectives on players. We also discussed that those teams/coaches that are really serious about him will take the time to get to know him as a person. We usually get invited to games by the schools that are interested. On one occasion the coach spent 5 hours showing us around the campus and talking to us about the school and why they fit him as a person. On another occasion we were invited to a basketball game and Jodie's first impression of the coach was the coach reaching over Jodie to shake the hand of another perspective player, and telling that player that he would come to his next game. Which school would you choose?"

Right now some of the schools involved with Jodie have a strong SEC and ACC flavor, including Wake Forest, Alabama, Arkansas, S.Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Maryland, FSU, Miami and VaTech. He currently has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado and South Carolina. UCONN and Illinois are making sure they have kept contact as well. Jodie and his father recently visited the campus over at Florida and came away impressed. Georgia Tech is actually somewhere on that list as well. Jodie was not ready to reveal a favorite, although he does have one.

How will Jodie narrow down his list? "I am focusing on who I know, the campus, and who they are recruiting. I always try to see myself playing at the school."

As to a timetable, Jodie gave us this schedule - "I plan to sign in the first signing period in November. I will cut my choices to 4-5 schools by the end of the summer season. I can see committing in late September early October. I want to make sure, since this is a very important decision for me I will take my time."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One Win Still Needed!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst



UK fans are still in a state of euphoria after beating the Georgia Bulldogs. Hopefully Coach Brooks has the kids back down to earth and focusing on Vanderbilt. UK was the final nail in the coffin of Vandy’s bowl hopes last season. A fact that is not lost on the Commodores!

UK took a huge step forward last week in beating a “name” school and one they had not beaten since 1996. The next step in the growing process is following up a big win with a win over an opponent you should beat. Six ones will probably get UK a bowl invitation, but seven wins will get them a better bowl game.

The much maligned UK defense seems to be getting healthy since the opening bell vs. Louisville. A defense that made the Bulldogs commit four turnovers. Myron Pryor seems to be over his foot problems. Just as important, Braxton Kelly is playing like he was last year before his ACL injury. Like baseball, it is important to be strong up the middle.

UK will be without Durrell White, but Jeremy Jarmon and Nii Oninku will be more than capable replacements. Also, look for Jamil Paris to get his playing time since a mid season injury.

The UK defense will have their hands full with QB, Chris Nickson and WR, Earl Bennett. As a matter of fact Bennett had a MONSTER day vs. UK last year. Nickson is Vandy’s leading rusher. A fact that is not lost on those of us who hate to see a running QB when UK’s defense is facing a 3rd down.

Andre Woodson leads a HUGE 4th quarter come back last week. BUT, this was the second consecutive week he threw a pick inside the five. If that continues, at some time it will come back and bite the Cats in the rear end.

As good as it was to see the defense step up it was good to see the offensive line take control the last two drives. UK pretty much ran the ball in the last 30 yards of the winning drive. It was the line that started the season, expect Lane was in at RG and Aitcheson moved out to RT.

One positive for the offense is the expected return of Rafael Little. As good as Alphonso Smith and Tony Dixon were last week, Little is the main back in UK’s running game. UK’s running game has suffered most of the season. If the OL is starting to get it together and if Little is 100% then you can see a very dangerous UK offense. One that will keep the other team from ignoring play action pass and teeing off on Andre.

Hopefully we will see a young UK team take another step in the maturation process.

WT's Football "Top 10" (Nov. 6)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst


1. Ohio St
2. UL
3. Texas
4. Michigan
5. Notre Dame
6. California
7. Florida
8. USC
9. West Virginia
10. KENTUCKY- (gotta have some fun here!)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! A BIG WIN!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst



UK football has been looking to knock off a big name opponent since Alabama in 1999!

-A Chase Harp fumble costs us vs. UT in Morris's 1st season.
-LSU's Bluegrass Miracle!
-J-Lo makes a bad play and UF erases a 24-7 4th quarter deficit!
-UK loses in 7OT's to Arkansas.

I remember leaving the SC game this season hearing fans with defeat in their voice and how we, "will never get over the hump!"

Today I saw, I bet was a couple in their late 60's give each other a hug and kiss when the final horn blew!

UK fans charged the field today not to just celebrate a win over Georgia but to vent years of frustration with close losses.

Anybody here think UK was toast after UGA scored to take a 20-17 lead? To the amazement of all, NOBODY left the stadium!

Unlike years past this team drove the ball down the field behind a QB who had made two bad 1st half plays. Plays IMO that cost UK a 17-7 halftime lead. Instead of being rattled, he steps in the huddle and does what a leader does! He leads his team on a game winning TD drive!

The OL stepped it up as well! Being so excited and short on memory it seemed UK's OL and Tony Dixon pretty much sealed the deal from the 30 on in! A group who has struggled all year, smacked a much bigger an talented front seven on their heels and RAN the ball in for the winning score.

UK's defense!!! They gave up two drives today. One for 80+ yards with us up 3-0 and one late for UGA to take a 20-17 lead. BUT, give these young men and coaching staff CREDIT for stepping up and getting the job done today! They created four TO's.

The biggest a vicious but legal hit on a UGA receiver on a screen pass. (ESPN has said he is moving all his extremities and we pray the young man recovers fully and quickly!) The Cats capitalize and take a 17-14 lead in the 4th quarter.

We take the lead 24-20 with 1:20 on the clock and this much maligned group of kids make the biggest play of the season when Trevard Lindley from Hiram, GA intercepts a pass to seal the deal!

We talked early in the week about TO's and special teams. While was solid in special teams, UGA missed two FG's and an extra point. UK was +1 in the TO battle.

I felt after the SC game we let one get away. I wondered how long it would take for an "opportunity" for another chance. We got one today and our KIDS AND COACHES GOT IT DONE!!

We got to leave Commonwealth in disbelief and tears, again! It sure was nice!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Mike Williams & AJ Stewart, UK's Basketball Commitments for 2007

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst


Mike Williams & AJ Stewart

To all of us who love the recruiting wars going on in the world of college Basketball today, a commitment is like finally getting that one big pay check. It took UK and coach Tubby Smith a while but they finally got a couple commits from a pair of under rated players for the '07 class. Tubby managed to pull another 7 footer out of the air, and a wirey 6-8 slashing SF/PF.

Mike Williams is a 7 foot center who as came to the US from Britian to play orginized ball. He has developed nicely while in the states. His growth and knowledge of the game has advanced in leaps and bounds since playing Basketball in Virgina. He has a big body and knows how to use it. He has a nice jump shot out to 10 - 12 feet and has a nice hook shot with either hand. He also has great hands and can catch the ball in deep knowing what to do with it when he gets it. His weakness is that he is slow at getting up and down the floor. His feet are also a little slow in the paint. But all in all he is a talent that hasn't exactly hit its peak yet but he should in the coming 4 years at UK. He should be in the top 150 and maybe top 100 by the end of the season if he keeps developing like he has in the prior years.

My Outlook for Williams: I say he becomes a 4 year player at UK. He should start the final 2 season at UK and avgerage close to a double double. He very much has the ability to play at the NBA level. It just depends on how much work he will put in and time he spends in the gym. All intentions say he is a gym rat and will do the work.

AJ Stewart is a player who has not let his love for UK go unnoticed. He is a 6-8 slasher who can score with the best in the class of '07. He needs to get a little stronger so he can bang a little more. AJ is quick with a decent shooting touch. He has improved his shot from the 3 point range greatly in the past year. I believe he will be one of the great 4 year players in UK history. I think he will leave a legacy something as Chuch Hayes did. AJ and Chuck are very similar in make up, personialty, and both are extremely wonderful young men. They both love UK and know what it means to wear the blue and white. Thier games are different but, I believe their hearts are very much the same.

My Outlook on AJ is this: AJ loves to score and play defense. If he improves his body and banging ability(which I believe he will) he has a chance to be a ALL-American(I think he is ALL- SEC for sure) while at UK. I believe he will be at UK for 3 season and become a 1000 point scorer at UK. I will say this,his future is bright for sure.

UK has 2 commitments, while they may not be top 20 recruits I believe they are a good recruit in Williams and a great recruit in AJ. More likely AJ will be a top 50 recruit in the final rankings and Williams has the ability to be top 100 recruit, but I believe he ends up in the top 150 recruits. I expect UK to get 2 maybe 3 more commits before signing day and sign 4 or 5 recruits this November.

The 2 commits may not be top 20 recruits as of yet, but they sure make for a nice start to the '07 recruiting class for UK.