Mark Story: When it comes to plans for Rupp Arena, show me the money

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 11, 2013 

Fast-break points from the Royal baby watch:

21. Rupp Arena "re-invention." I do not believe the governor of Kentucky would appear in public to promote a public-works project — as Steve Beshear did Wednesday with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray — if he wasn't pretty darned sure that project will ultimately be done.

20. Show me the money. The proposals for a "new and improved Rupp" are exciting — but there is no way to evaluate the plans until a viable financing mechanism is revealed. That may or may not come by August.

19. (Fill in the corporate name) Rupp Arena. If naming rights to the venerable old arena end up being sold, I'm pulling for Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey to emerge the victor.

18. A potential drawback. If it comes to selling the name of the arena, I'll surmise that any corporation with the financial wherewithal to buy the rights will also be smart enough to know that everyone is still going to call it plain old "Rupp Arena" regardless of what company's name goes in front of it.

17. Darius Miller. On the website of the New Orleans Pelicans is a story with this headline: Pelicans hope to see more aggressive Miller

16. Heard that before. Somewhere, don't you think both Billy Gillispie and John Calipari are smiling in recognition?

15. Nerlens Noel. Post-NBA draft scuttlebutt of why the former Kentucky center, who is rehabbing a torn ACL, dropped to No. 6 overall after many expected him to go higher is best summed up in two words: Greg Oden.

14. Gun-shy GMs. In 2007, Portland Trailblazers executive Kevin Pritchard chose Oden No. 1 over Kevin Durant. After leg injuries sabotaged Oden's career, Pritchard ultimately wound up out of a job. The theory goes current NBA front offices were terrified to run the same risk with Noel, another big man with knee problems.

13. College conference realignment. The most recent round, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the ACC and the old Big East splitting into two different leagues, became official July 1.

12. Winners at musical chairs. There are five schools that already have moved or will soon switch leagues that will benefit most from their conference shifts.

11. Texas A&M. Becoming the only SEC school in Texas has given A&M a revitalized brand and made the Aggies football program, arguably, the nation's up-and-coming star.

10. Louisville. The Cardinals do not officially join the ACC until 2014, but U of L appears to have gotten the last lifeline into a major conference in this round of realignment.

9. Butler, Creighton and Xavier. Joining the new Big East with the "Catholic Seven" (Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's etc.) should provide a big-league platform for what had been three of the best "mid-major" programs in men's college hoops.

8. Losers at musical chairs. The shifting conference alliances have been most unkind to four schools.

7. Connecticut and Cincinnati. In the disintegration of the old Big East, UConn and UC are the two most high-profile programs "left behind" in The American Athletic Conference.

6. Memphis. Angled for years to land an invitation into to a major conference, then were asked into the old Big East just as that league morphed into Conference-USA.

5. West Virginia. The Mountaineers' first year in the Big 12 was a train wreck and the geographic mismatch that is WVU playing in a Midwest/Texas-centric conference is not going to ease.

4. Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame. The second induction ceremony is July 20 at the State Theater in Elizabethtown. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the ceremony at 8.

3. Players going into the Hall. Joe Fulks (Kuttawa); Howie Crittenden (Cuba); Linville Puckett (Clark Co.); Johnny Cox (Hazard); Billy Ray Lickert (Lafayette); Larry Conley (Ashland); Butch Beard (Breckinridge Co.); Mike Casey (Shelby Co.); Donna Murphy (Newport); Sharon Garland (Laurel Co.); Allan Houston (Ballard); Jamie Walz (Highlands); and J.R. VanHoose (Paintsville).

2. Coaches going into the Hall: William Kean (Central); Letcher Norton (Clark Co.); Bobby Watson (Owensboro); Howard Beth (Marshall Co.).

1. If you want to go: Tickets are $35 for lower-level seating and $30 for balcony. They can be purchased by calling (270) 234-8354. Last year's inaugural KHSBHF enshrinement was one of the best such ceremonies I've ever attended.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com

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