▪ On his recent Lowe Post podcast with ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy, ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who does a terrific job, admitted that he was having difficulty deciding who would get his vote for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Lowe listed a couple of expected candidates, then said he favored a surprise pick.
“Patrick Patterson,” said Lowe, singling out the former Kentucky star who now plays for the Toronto Raptors. “Scores, I believe, about 10 points a game. Some of his stats are at their lowest as far as counting stats ever, but every good Toronto lineup has Patrick Patterson in it because of the way he stretches the floor, moves the ball on offense and can switch to a lot of positions on defense. I think he’s a really interesting candidate.”
Van Gundy, who said he does not vote on postseason awards, said he would lean toward another former UK player, though one who never actually played in a game for the Cats. That would be Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter. Lowe had mentioned Kanter as a candidate and praised Kanter’s improved defense, but said he might just stick to his original idea.
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“I may go completely off the reservation and vote for Patrick Patterson,” Lowe said.
He didn’t back that up, however. Lowe wrote Tuesday that he voted for Portland’s Ed Davis.
The NBA announces its postseason awards later this month.
▪ There were reports Wednesday that former UK coach Tubby Smith was close to leaving Texas Tech for Memphis. Maybe Smith wants to become the first coach to take six different schools to the NCAA Tournament. He’s already done it with Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Texas Tech, which made the Big Dance this year for the first time since 2007.
▪ Give it up for UK softball, which after being swept by No. 3 Auburn the week before, traveled to Baton Rouge and swept No. 8 LSU this past weekend. Rachel Lawson’s team is 11-4 in SEC play.
▪ Just a hunch, but I think Jordan Spieth will bounce back. He’s 22.
Every good Toronto lineup has Patrick Patterson in it
ESPN’s Zach Lowe
▪ Louisville Coach Rick Pitino told Bob Valvano this week the Stripper Scandal — my term, not his — was almost over and he thought the program was close to being past the whole affair. He wishes.
▪ Going into Wednesday night’s game in Chicago, the Reds were two pitches — J.J. Hoover allowing a grand slam to the Pirates; Jumbo Diaz allowing a three-run homer to the Cubs — from being 7-0.
▪ Best news all week (maybe month): The NCAA will not sanction any new bowl games for the next three years.
▪ It’s been a rough start for local hero Andy Green, the former LCA and UK star now in his first year of managing the San Diego Padres. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Padres are the first team since the 1963 Mets to be shut out in four of their first eight games.
▪ The Sacramento Kings are expected to fire Coach George Karl on Thursday. As the great Ray Ratto tweeted, judging by the Internet, this will be the 11th time Karl has been fired since taking over the Kings.
▪ After receiving the Philadelphia school’s Big Five Coach of the Year Award, St. Joseph’s Phil Martelli wrote “Jay Wright” on a post-it note and stuck it on the trophy.
▪ I know it’s only anecdotal, but I can partially corroborate the news that UK men’s basketball ranks in the top 10 percent in the recent Academic Progress Report scores. I saw Skal Labissiere, with a backpack, walking to class just this week. As you know, Labissiere has already declared for the NBA Draft.
▪ UK is holding a surplus athletic uniform and equipment sale this Saturday. Any chance it can get rid of that ugly new Wildcat logo at the same time? (Not crazy about the new interlocking UK, either.)