Sports

Ex-Cat Porter writing book on UK years

This Sunday, we're talking books and streets:

Former Kentucky point guard Michael Porter — who bypassed his senior year this season to take a job to support his wife and young daughter — is writing a book.

"It will mainly focus on my years at Kentucky," Porter said Friday. "Some of the things I went through, the trials and how my (Christian) Faith helped me get through it."

Porter says he has a publisher for his yet-to-be-finished work. "But I can't say who yet," he said.

The book does not yet have a title, Porter said.

After playing his freshman year for Tubby Smith, the coach who recruited him to Kentucky, Porter spent his sophomore and junior years under the coaching of Billy Gillispie.

Given the rumors regarding the treatment of players during Gillispie's two years at UK, an insider's look from a player's perspective could be rather illuminating.

Is that what Porter has in mind?

"It will be a positive book, not negative," Porter said. "It will be positive and people will want to read it."

Old-school book

Ken Mink — the 70-something Perry County native who became something of a national media darling when he played basketball for a Tennessee junior college last season — is writing a book.

Mink, now 74, says he has a literary agent shopping Hoops Dreamer: The Ken Mink Story among publishers.

After graduating from the old Dilce Combs Memorial High School in Perry County, Mink played his freshman year of college hoops at Lees Junior College in Jackson in 1955-56.

Before his sophomore season, however, Mink was kicked off the team after someone soaped the head coach's office and put shaving cream in the coach's shoes.

Mink says he didn't do it; school officials thought he did and expelled him from school.

The failure to play that second year of college hoops left "a hole in my heart," Mink said.

Last year, at the age of 73, Mink decided to try to get that season of college hoops back. Eventually, Randy Nesbit, head coach at Roane Community College in Harriman, Tenn., decided to give him that chance.

Video of a 73-year-old college hoopster on YouTube and other media coverage propelled Mink into the spotlight. In a whirlwind trip to New York City in December 2008, Mink appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Live with Regis and Kelly and Fox & Friends.

For Roane, Mink said he scored seven points and even blocked a shot.

In a bit of an irony, Mink's long-awaited second year of college basketball also ended prematurely.

A dispute over eligibility with the National Junior College Athletic Association after Mink flunked a Spanish course knocked him off the Roane team late in the season.

"Mostly, it did," Mink said, asked if his return to college hoops had filled the void in the way he hoped. "But the way it ended sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. Again."

Since his second college career ended, Mink has had a major basketball injury. He tore an Achilles' tendon last summer in a scramble for a rebound while playing in the National Senior Olympics in California.

The good news, Mink says, is that after a long period in a cast, he is playing hoops again.

Joker and Tee 'street cred'

On Feb. 5, new Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips got a surprise. A street in his hometown of Franklin was renamed Joe "Joker" Phillips Lane in his honor.

"But I got humbled on Saturday morning," Phillips said last week. "I took my nephew to his basketball game and he says, 'Uncy Joe, tell me where your street begins and ends.' I showed him where it begins and where it ends. He said, 'You don't have any houses on your street.' He wasn't impressed at all."

On Tuesday, Phillips introduced a new wide receivers coach — former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin — who also has a street named for him.

After Martin quarterbacked the Rocky Toppers to an undefeated national championship in 1998, UT renamed South Stadium Drive on its campus Tee Martin Drive.

The UK football program may now lead the nation in the always important "streets named for coaches" category.

"The thing we've got to do is get (Tennessee) to take Tee's (sign) down," Phillips said. "And you know how we do that?"

Ummmm, something crazy like, oh, actually beating Tennessee at football?

"Exactly," Phillips said.

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