More expected of Little this year

Ex-UK running back is back from injury

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJune 18, 2009 

Random notes:

Tennessean columnist David Climer this week sang the praises of ex-UK running back Rafael Little, who spent the 2008 season rehabbing his knee for the Tennessee Titans.

Wrote Climer, "... based on the way he performed in non-contact workouts last month, he's making a case for a roster spot. And it doesn't hurt that he doubled as a return man in college at Kentucky."

■ When one door closes, another opens. With Jodie Meeks headed to the pros, looks like that's more opportunity for Darius Miller, Eric Bledsoe and Jon Hood on the UK basketball roster.

■ The guess here is that John Calipari will not use the open 13th scholarship, unless there's something too good to pass up.

■ Received an e-mail message from someone who was upset that Calipari appears in the commercial for EA Sports' Ali vs. Tyson video game. Guess what, the commercial isn't targeted at us. It's targeted at kids who play those games.

■ With Tyler Smith returning to Tennessee, Jarvis Varnado returning and Mississippi State, Tasmin Mitchell returning to Louisiana State and Devan Downey returning to South Carolina, the Southeastern Conference will be stronger. But even with Jodie Meeks staying in the draft, Kentucky should still be the favorite.

■ Before you're too hard on Meeks for staying in the draft, consider that Rashard Lewis (32nd pick in 1998), Rafer Alston (39th pick in 1998) and Trevor Ariza (43rd pick in 2004) were all second-round selections. And all three were starters in the NBA Finals.

■ Did you see where on the morning of Game 5, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson canceled his team's shootaround? Said he wanted his team to be relaxed and rested for that night's game, which Los Angeles won to sew up the title. Jackson's 10th title.

■ In the argument over the NBA's all-time best coach between Jackson and Red Auerbach, I'll take the Zenmaster.

■ But sorry, Kobe, you're still not Michael.

■ Wow, the NCAA really threw the book at Alabama for that textbook scandal in Tuscaloosa. No scholarship reductions. No bowl bans. But the Tide has to vacate many of its victories achieved under now-fired coach Mike Shula. Ouch.

■ Did you see where Chad Ochocinco is going to live with Carson Palmer? Sounds like a reality show. Carson plus Shaelyn plus 8 plus 5.

■ Poor Austin Kearns was hitting .201 heading into Washington's Wednesday night game against the Yankees. The former Lafayette star is 2-for-24 at the plate this month. He hit .222 in May.

■ Good news for ex-UK star Brandon Webb, however. His shoulder is progressing, though it still might be a while before the former Cy Young winner makes his second start of the year. His first start: Opening day.

■ Do you think ex-Southern California signee MoMo Jones, a 5-foot-9 point guard, can help Florida get its mojo back?

■ ESPN is reporting that USC wants a basketball coach with pro experience. Someone who already has experience paying players.

■ Speaking of Florida, the Gainesville Sun studied the Gators' spate of criminal incidents by their football players, compered to rivals. Florida has had 24 incidents the past four years. Georgia has had 30. Tennessee has had 21. And you ask how those three are always so good in football?

■ The Sun reported that Miami has had two arrested since 2005. No wonder the Canes have fallen on tough times.

■ So Sammy Sosa tested positive for steroids? Does that mean his corked bat wasn't just used for batting practice?

■ Saw where Troy Aikman finished his degree in sociology 21 years after leaving UCLA. How is he going to get a job with a degree like that?

■ Best wishes to former UK associate AD Greg Byrne, now the athletics director at Mississippi State, who is being treated for a melanoma. Byrne is just 37. Happily, his prognosis is good.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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