The new scoreboard/video board hanging over Rupp Arena center court could have been named After Bertha. Too graphic? Well, how about Re-Bertha?
Those were two of the more than 3,800 names suggested for the scoreboard/video boards which were put in place earlier this year. Of course, the boards filled the space that had been occupied since Rupp Arena opened in 1976 by a sound system affectionately known as Big Bertha.
Lexington Center Corp. held a contest to name the scoreboard/video boards. Kentucky basketball figures and other famous Kentuckians inspired many entries:
Joe B. Hall (Joe B. Tron, Joe B TV), John Calipari (The Cal, Big Bad John, The Calzone), Bill Keightley (Keightley’s eye), Cawood Ledford (Cawood), Tubby Smith (Tele Tubby), actor Jim Varney (Varney), broadcaster Tom Hammond (Tom Hammond), actress Ashley Judd (AJ), Man o’ War (Man-O-War), country singer Loretta Lynn (Loretta) and, of course, Adolph Rupp (Ample Adolph).
How about Jesus over center court? “We could say Jesus is watching over our beloved Cats,” the entrant wrote in support of the idea. “It would also likely result in more wins for our boys.”
Other entrants were inspired by movies: PLAYITAGAIN SAM from “Casablanca,” HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and The Death Star from “Star Wars.”
George Orwell might have been flattered by the proposed “Big Brother.” The entrant said the name would signify that the boards see “everything you do.”
The Lexington Center staff chose two finalists and asked the public to vote beginning Nov. 23 and ending Friday.
And the winner is . . . Dan Parker, a UK graduate in 1972 and a sprinter on the school’s track team. His winning name was “Lexi.” It received 2,501 votes. “Seymore,” which was submitted by Debbie Parrish of Nicholasville, received 1,411 votes.
Parker, 66, works in marketing, so he’s familiar with catchy labels. “I’m a word guy,” he said, “a concept guy. And it was right up my alley.”
His prize is two lower-level tickets to every UK home game the rest of the season, two tickets to every ticketed event in Rupp Arena in 2017 (except UK home games next season) and a 40th anniversary Rupp Arena jacket.
Lexington Center Corp. announced Parker as the winner during halftime of the Kentucky-UCLA game Saturday.
“The recognition is nice,” Parker said, “but really what’s so great about it is to be involved. To use a little bit of that creative skill to win the contest. . . But really, seeing UCLA play this Kentucky team this year in this building, there’s no price tag for that.”
Parker lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., which is largely due to the influence of former Beach Boy Mike Love. While a UK student, Parker interviewed Love for the student newspaper, The Kernel. His story promoted a Beach Boys concert. A friendship was born. Something of a rock-and-roll lifestyle ensued with Parker going on tour with such acts as the Beach Boys and Rick Springfield.
Parker grew up in suburban Cleveland. His work as a caddy led him to UK. He was caddying for former UK football coach Blanton Collier, who had become coach of the Cleveland Browns. A playing partner told Collier that Parker was a talented high school sprinter.
“Long story short,” as Parker put it, Collier called Rupp and asked him to put in a word with UK track coach Press Whelan.
When Parker committed to UK, Collier asked Rupp to watch over the kid from Cleveland.
Rupp became “like my Uncle Adolph,” Parker said.
Parker’s family has long-since grown accustomed to marketing ability. But winning the contest to name the new scoreboard/video boards was something special.
“My dad would be really happy,” Parker said. “He was a creative guy, too. My dad was a wordsmith. He did the New York Times Sunday (crossword puzzle) with a pen.”
Leftovers from the De’Aaron Fox triple-double that was, then possibly wasn’t, then was again:
Of course, Fox scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and was credited with 10 assists against Arizona State last Monday..
An ESPN staffer reviewed the game and questioned one of the assists. Fox did not make a direct pass that resulted in Malik Monk’s three-pointer with 15:15 left. And Monk used a shot fake, two dribbles and several stutter-steps to free himself for a shot.
To borrow from football’s interminable replay system, the awarding of an assist on the play was confirmed although there was plenty of evidence to overturn the call.
Upon reflection, here are triple points:
1. Review of game tape and revising the official statistics happens regularly. In Kentucky’s opener against Stephen F. Austin, an assist was originally awarded to Isaiah Briscoe, then later changed to Derek Willis. In football, solo and assisted tackles are especially volatile stats.
2. The Southeastern Conference asks its schools to not dawdle in making changes to the official stats. “We encourage our schools to send corrected stat files to us in a timely manner,” SEC spokesman Craig Pinkerton wrote in an email, “but we do not have a specific time limit stated.”
3. Basketball coaches seem to like the idea of a so-called “hockey assist.” The player who makes the pass that sets up the pass that results in a basket would also be awarded an assist. So there could be two assists on a score. J.D. Hamilton, who heads the NCAA’s statistics department, said that there can be hockey assists in soccer. But, so far, there’s no movement toward basketball adding hockey assists.
Reflections on UK’s trip to the Bahamas:
1. A reggae version of The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” played on the sound system as the teams warmed up before the game. It immediately sounded familiar, but it took a few moments to recognize the song.
2. After Sunday’s practice in the Imperial Ballroom, the Arizona State players were walking through a corridor. They were presumably headed back to their rooms when they came upon a group of Kentucky fans waiting to enter Kentucky’s practice. One of the Arizona State players tried to razz the UK fans by simply saying his coach’s name: “Bobby Hurley.” The reference to the Duke point guard, circa 1992 and Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beater, caused good-natured chuckles from fans and ASU players.
3. One walk through a corridor in the well-polished Atlantis Resort brought the word “incongruous” to mind.
On its website, Atlantis boasts that the complex of hotels and attractions includes the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, a water park, 11 pools, beaches, an 18-hole golf course, the Caribbean’s largest casino, more than 21 restaurants, 19 bars and a nightclub.
Amid all this, a man stood against a wall. He wore a black T-shirt no doubt inspired by the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton presidential election. One word was on the front of the shirt: “Deplorable.”
SEC throws change-up
A weekly coaches’ teleconference has been a fixture of SEC basketball for decades. At one time, there were two coaches’ teleconferences per week during conference play.
Presumably, the thinking was the teleconferences were a promotional tool. The resulting stories in the media would increase fan interest.
This season, the SEC is reducing the number of coaches’ teleconferences. There will be six: Jan. 2, 16 and 26, Feb. 6 and 20 and March 6.
The SEC still values the teleconferences, spokesman Craig Pinkerton said.
“We thought we would try something a little different this season to mix some things up,” he wrote in an email. “This year it will be every other Monday except for the week of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, when we put it on Thursday to help promote the event.”
Arizona State scored almost half as many points against Kentucky as it did in a game five days earlier. That’s because ASU played The Citadel in the previous game.
The Citadel plays a let-’er-rip style reminiscent of the Loyola Marymount teams of two decades ago. Except, as one wag put it, without Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers.
Going into this weekend, opponents were averaging 101 points against The Citadel this season. That ranked 346th in points allowed by a Division I team. Opponents had made 57.3 percent of their shots (345th).
Last season The Citadel ranked last in points allowed (92.6 per game, on average).
So Arizona State, which lost 115-69 to Kentucky, almost had to score as much as UK in a 127-110 victory over The Citadel. A few days before losing to Arizona State, The Citadel lost 130-63 at Iowa State.
Victories over No. 25 Michigan and at No. 18 Syracuse on Nov. 23 and 26 marked the first time South Carolina had beaten two ranked opponents in the same week since . . . ?
The answer may be Jan. 17 and 21, 2009. Sort of.
South Carolina beat No. 24 Tennessee on Jan. 17, which was a Saturday. Then on the following Wednesday, South Carolina beat Florida, which had supplanted Tennessee at No. 24 in the rankings.
That’s two victories over ranked opponents in a week’s time, although not in the same calendar week.
To Brandon Knight. He turned 25 on Friday. . . . To Randy Noll. He turns 67 on Monday. . . . To former Auburn coach Cliff Ellis. He turns 71 on Monday. . . . To Sam Malone. He turns 25 on Tuesday.