Mark Story: Wishing 1st-round best for Bledsoe

Is Orton's stock really falling?

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJune 23, 2010 

Eric Bledsoe averaged 11.3 points a game and made 38.3 percent of his three-point attempts in his one season at UK.

Fast-break points from the NBA Draft green room:

21. Eric Bledsoe. Of the five ex-University of Kentucky players who could hear their names called in the first round of Thursday's NBA draft, Bledsoe is the one I'll be most pulling for.

20. The New York Times. Whatever happened (or didn't) with Bledsoe's grades during his senior year of high school, the recent Times investigative story revealed just how difficult a path — little money; an itinerant home life — Bledsoe has traveled.

19. Guaranteed cash. A first-round contract brings two years of guaranteed money. For Bledsoe, think what that could mean.

18. Daniel Orton. Scuttlebutt Tuesday had the draft stock falling for the former UK big man.

17. Grain of salt. Keep in mind that NBA teams are notorious for running disinformation campaigns in the days leading up to the draft to mask their true intentions. Whether Orton's standing has truly plummeted or someone is throwing up a deceptive smoke screen won't be apparent until draft night.

16. Know your ex-Wildcats' agents. A quick review of who will be representing the drafted Cats at the bargaining table.

15. John Wall. Dan Fegan is the rep for the expected No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Fegan works out of Los Angeles but his firm is owned by Louisville-based Blue Entertainment Sports Television. Other clients include Shawn Marion, Yi Jianlian and Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio.

14. DeMarcus Cousins. Big Cuz is represented by John Greig, who owns the SportsTalent agency in Seattle. Greig's other clients are mostly playing overseas, including former George Washington University star Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

13. Patrick Patterson. Agent is newcomer Odell McCants. Patterson is McCants' first client.

12. Eric Bledsoe. Is represented by LeBron James' agent, Leon Rose of Creative Artists Agency. Rose also has Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, among others.

11. Daniel Orton. Raymond Brothers was thought to be Orton's agent. Brothers also represents Ben Gordon, Caron Butler and Zach Randolph. However, Yahoo Sports reported this week that an "intra-family dispute" had created confusion over the status of Orton's representation.

10. SEC 'dream expansion.' During conference realignment mania, Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman quoted a "well-placed SEC figure" as saying that Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has a fantasy scenario that would include adding Texas, Texas A&M, North Carolina and Duke to the SEC.

9. If the dream lived: The SEC would gain the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio television markets as well as Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte. It would also easily be both the nation's best football and men's basketball conferences.

8. Only a dream. For myriad reasons, such an SEC expansion seems just short of impossible.

7. No 16-team super-conferences: The failure (for now) of 16-team mega-leagues to emerge is a positive in every way but one. If you'd wound up with four super-conferences for major college football, an easy path to a playoff would have been simply to take the four league champions.

6. Kentucky Speedway attendance. New track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. does not announce crowd sizes at its events. But it was clear that this year's attendance for the Nationwide race in Sparta was the smallest for that series in the history of the track.

5. Still a big crowd. For NASCAR's Class AAA series the crowd at Kentucky was still a very large crowd (I'd guess high 50,000s).

4. Cup race at Kentucky Speedway? Having listened to Bruton Smith at the Nationwide Series race, the impression I got is that a Sprint Cup event in Sparta in 2011 is not likely.

3. No. 56. Counting this one, I have now written 56 articles in which Kentucky Speedway's bid for a Cup race has been mentioned.

2. Vuvuzelas. Would really liven up Commonwealth Stadium during UK games. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

1. Off with the coach's head? After North Korea's 7-0 humiliation at the feet of Portugal in the World Cup, a writer on a Time magazine blog speculated whether North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il would have Coach Kim Jong Hun (gulp) executed.

If Kim Jong Il were the UK athletics director, one shudders to think what would have happened to Billy Gillispie after that 93-52 loss at Vanderbilt.

Reach Mark Story at (859) 231-3230 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3230, or mstory@herald-leader.com. Your e-mail could appear on the blog Read Mark Story's E-mail at Kentucky.com.

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