John Clay: Calipari to coach against ex-Cats Cousins, Rondo, Prince, Wall

Game vs. Dominicans set for next month

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 28, 2011 

Random notes:

■ An exhibition basketball game between former University of Kentucky basketball players and the Dominican Republic National Team, coached by UK Coach John Calipari, has been scheduled for Aug. 15 in Rupp Arena.

Carl Hall, Rupp Arena's director of events, confirmed Wednesday that a contract for the game has been finalized. Hall said details will be released Thursday.

Calipari tweeted Wednesday night that the UK roster will include Eric Bledsoe, Keith Bogans, DeMarcus Cousins, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo and John Wall.

Rupp has implemented a new "First in Line" Club, whose members will receive notification concerning events and who apparently will be eligible for a 10 a.m. Friday presale of tickets for the game, which are being listed on Ticketmaster.com. Tickets will be available to the general public on the Web site at 10 a.m. Monday.

■ The (friendly) trash talking starts Thursday with the Governor's Cup Luncheon at the University Club, which will preview the Kentucky-Louisville football game on Sept. 17.

■ The trade publication PollStar reports that Louisville's new Yum Center ranked 10th in the world — yes, the world — in entertainment ticket sales for Jan. 1 through June 30. Chalk that up not just to Louisville basketball but Lady Gaga, George Strait, the Zac Brown Band, Kid Rock, etc.

■ At their annual media day this week in Nashville, OVC football coaches took issue with SEC commissioner Mike Slive (and others) who have proposed a full cost-of-attendance scholarship to give players more money.

"You've got to be a little careful when you do it for everybody when there's the money guys, and there's the non-money guys, and the money guys are a lot smaller in number than the non-money guys," Tennessee Tech Coach Watson Brown told Joe Medley of the Anniston Star. "If you're not in those BCS conferences, then you're a non-money guy, I don't care what you say. When you get into, say, paying players, we could never do that on this level."

■ And, as Medley points out, that might make a FBS player think twice about transferring to a FCS school where he would not get a full cost-of-attendance scholarship.

■ Seems a Tuscaloosa clothing store has been selling items signed by Alabama football players. So how different is this exactly from the Ohio State case?

■ Speaking of NCAA investigations, the accounts of Tennessee basketball's interview with investigators is good comic reading. Bruce Pearl and his staff lied, conspired and even tried to say they thought the pictures of recruits being in Pearl's home, against NCAA rules, were Photoshopped.

■ What actually started the Tennessee mess was not the photo, but impermissible phone calls the staff made to Elliott Williams, now of Memphis.

■ Like the Reds opening a roster spot for Yonder Alonso via the trade of Jonny Gomes. Now Walt Jocketty needs to tell Dusty Baker to put Alonso in left, Todd Frazier at third and try Aroldis Chapman in some save opportunities. In other words, start playing for the future.

■ At the Cincinnati Bengals media luncheon on Tuesday, owner Mike Brown was asked about the Wall Street Journal story claiming that the NFL team got the best sweetheart deal in all of sports when it built Paul Brown Stadium. Brown said the story isn't true.

"My heart was a little broken," Brown said. "I read the Wall Street Journal every day. I thought they were on my side."

■ As part of the same news conference, Brown started telling stories about past work stoppages, including one in which Boomer Esiason lay down in front of a bus of replacement players and Dave Rimington keyed the cars of the replacements. Not sure why Brown would want to tell those stories, but they were entertaining.

■ If Texas' new Longhorn Network can show high school games that include prospects that the Longhorns are recruiting, then UK should start doing the same on the Big Blue Network.

■ How ironic that the quarterback coach, G.A. Mangus, who is supposed to be mentoring troubled South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, would himself get arrested for "nuisance conduct."

■ Loved UK linebacker Danny Trevathan saying that trying to tackle his old Florida friend, Jeff Demps, a running back and track star for the Gators, was difficult because "it's hard to chase a rat."

■ Sad but true: According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, former Browns great Leroy Kelley receives an NFL pension of $176 per month.

Reach John Clay at 859-231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com.

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