John Clay's notes: Lacey fading into oblivion at Alabama? No so fast, UK fans

Grant's recruiting class top-notch

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistMay 19, 2011 

Random notes:

■ Disappointed Kentucky fans were dissing Alabama on Wednesday, saying that Trevor Lacey would fade into oblivion by choosing a football school like Alabama. Might want to hold off on that.

Even before Lacey picked the Tide, Alabama's recruiting class for 2011 was rated No. 12 by Rivals. It may crack the top 10 now.

Plus, Anthony Grant guided Bama to a West Division title last season, and he was the coach who built the VCU team that Shaka Smart took to the Final Four this April.

■ By the way, Kentucky is just fine without Lacey. It has shooting guard Doron Lamb back. It has Marquis Teague at point guard.

■ There was nothing not to like about 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, ambassador for the National Children Tumor Foundation, and son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and his representation of the Cavs in Tuesday night's NBA Draft lottery.

Gilbert was so endearing — his "What's not to like?" reply to ESPN's Heather Cox is now an instant classic — and the fact that Cleveland won the No. 1 pick, surely drew more attention to his ailment, Neurofibromatosis.

And what's not to like about that?

■ As for the draft itself, the lottery puts Brandon Knight in an interesting spot. With two of the first four picks, most think Cleveland will take Kyrie Irving No. 1. But Utah moved all the way to No. 3 and the Jazz need a point guard after trading Deron Williams. The Jazz could easily go for Knight.

■ Have you seen where Marty Brennaman and Tony La Russa are going back-and-forth after the Reds swept the Cardinals last weekend?

Marty joined the chorus of those who are calling the Cardinals whiners. La Russa fired back at Marty, and the St. Louis skipper wasn't even at Great American Ball Park last weekend.

This Cards-Reds rivalry is getting better and better.

■ Since Cincinnati has started its surge, there's a bit of a debate over whether Brandon Phillips is really the team's MVP over reigning National League MVP Joey Votto. I'm still sticking with Votto.

■ You have to wonder how much of John Calipari's interest in Tony Woods is getting a potentially good post player, or sticking it again to Rick Pitino, considering it was believed Woods was headed to Louisville. Or maybe it's two birds with one stone.

■ Have to admit I'm rooting for Animal Kingdom at the Preakness on Saturday. The Belmont isn't much fun without a potential Triple Crown.

■ Speaking of Belmont — the university, that is — one piece of generally overlooked great news recently was the Bruins' decision to join the OVC. Given its past NCAA showings, the Nashville school is a big boost to a league that already made headway this past tournament when Morehead knocked off Louisville.

■ Hopefully the tell-all book about ESPN will explain a great television mystery — the appeal of Chris Berman.

■ Great tweet from Jay Bilas: "CA minister predicts the world to end on Saturday. So, I spent my last days in Secaucus, NJ for the Lottery? Not good."

■ Back to Preakness. Hope that, unlike its telecast of the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs, NBC can hit the mute button on the Pimlico announcer's call of race while the TV audience is trying to hear Larry Collmus.

■ Shout-outs to Calipari and Roy Williams, who will be honored by Dick Vitale at his annual Gala on Saturday, which helps fund children's cancer research.

And a shout-out to K.J. Choi, the golfer who won The Players Championship last weekend and announced he will be donating $200,000 to the tornado relief fund.

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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