John Clay's notes: Wrapping up 'basketball season' and looking ahead to football

Let's see Heels, Hoosiers do that

jclay@herald-leader.com,JohnClayAugust 18, 2011 

Brandon Knight scored over Luis Flores, 7, finishing with 5 pts, as John Calipari's Dominican Republic National Team defeated a team of former UK players who are now professionals 91-86 on Tuesday August 16, 2011 in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

Random notes:

■ North Carolina, forget it.

Indiana, yeah right.

You pretenders hold back-to-back exhibition games on successive nights in the middle of August featuring a national basketball team from an obscure country with very little hoops tradition and draw a combined 40,000, then we'll talk to you about being a basketball state.

■ That said, the atmosphere at a sold-out Rupp Arena on Monday night was much better than the atmosphere at the KFC Yum Center on Tuesday. Not that the atmosphere at Yum was bad, it was just that the air Monday, especially in the early going, was much more electric.

■ Then again, the lights actually worked in Rupp.

■ I said it on the live blog Tuesday night, and I'll say it again: Anyone who thought the Kentucky Pros, out of shape and with no practice time, would dominate a Dominican Republic National Team with good talent and two weeks of practice doesn't know much about basketball.

■ I know Al Horford got booed Monday night. But his Gator Chomp was hilarious. And Horford is a class act.

■ There's a reason Joker Phillips keeps talking about the little things this football training camp.

Kentucky lost to Ole Miss because of turnovers and stupid penalties. It lost at Tennessee in part because of Derrick Locke's fumble on the Tennessee 1-yard line when the Cats had a chance at an early 14-0 lead.

Phillips wins those two games and he ends up 8-5 as head coach in his first year, not 6-7.

■ Now that Louisville football recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt has been mentioned in that devastating Yahoo Sports exposé on University of Miami football, a cloud hovers over the Cardinals football program.

No doubt Charlie Strong hopes it will drift away, but that seems doubtful at this point.

■ Five words no college coach wants to hear: Charles Robinson is on campus. (He penned the Miami story.)

■ We can talk about blogs and aggregation — I do my fair share — but the Yahoo report on Miami proves there is nothing that beats original content based on the best journalistic principles.

■ I agree with writer Clay Travis: After taking Texas A&M, the SEC should swing for the fences and try to poach North Carolina and Duke from the ACC. Put A&M and Missouri in the West. Put Carolina and Duke in the East.

Now there's a super conference.

■ Each weekday on my blog, I'm spotlighting a UK fan on Twitter. Go to johnclay.bloginky.com. If you have a suggestion, find me on Twitter at @johnclayiv.

■ Did you see where new Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who likes to get under center and throw some passes during drills, ran down and tackled a defender who had intercepted one of his throws. If only the Commodores could do that in a real game.

■ Good news for UK baseball coach Gary Henderson. Seven of his signees turned down the MLB Draft to play for the Cats next spring.

■ I heard Mr. 600 Jim Thome say on ESPN Radio that the home run hitter of his era who most impressed him was Ken Griffey Jr. Unfortunately, that was the Junior of the Seattle Mariners, not the Junior of the Cincinnati Reds.

■ Call me crazy, but I didn't think new Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looked all that bad last Friday at Detroit. He engineered a couple of decent drives that stalled late. It's pre-season.

■ For a mere $2.69 million, you can buy Bruce Pearl's house in Knoxville. Yes, it's the same house that Pearl did not recognize himself being in when he was shown a photo by NCAA investigators.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226, or 1-800-950-6379, Ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com. Check out his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/johnclayhl. Follow him on Twitter at @johnclayiv.

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