UK Men's Basketball

John Clay's notes: U.S. experiencing international sports invasion

Random notes:

■ For the first time in 10 years, no American of either gender is in the top 10 of tennis. This is no fluke, either.

It comes after South African Charl Schwartzel won the Masters. German Dirk Nowitzki just led Dallas to a sweep of the Lakers. Jose Bautista of the Dominican Republic leads the American League in batting average, while countryman Alfonso Soriano leads the National League in home runs.

No wonder John Calipari decided to coach the Dominican Republic national team.

■ Almost forgot, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Leroidesanimaux is from Brazil, and the dam, Dalicia, is from Germany. And Animal Kingdom is owned by Team Valor International.

■ Barry Irwin, head of Team Valor International, is not the most popular man in horse racing.

Reason: He says what he thinks.

Example: After winning the race, right there on national TV, he told Bob Neumeier that the reason he switched to one trainer, Graham Motion, was because, "I got tired of trainers lying to me."

Then no sooner had Irwin arrived at the post-race news conference than he remarked that he hoped that now the racetracks would treat the syndicates better.

■ Motion on his relationship with Irwin: "I think we're still in the honeymoon phase."

■ TV ratings for the Kentucky Derby were down 6 percent. To me, that's not bad considering that without Uncle Mo there was no budding superstar or prominent theme in this year's race.

■ It was very classy of both Uncle Mo's trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole to go out of their way to congratulate winning jockey John Velazquez, who thought he was without a Derby mount when Uncle Mo was scratched.

The TV cameras caught Pletcher congratulating Velazquez on the track. But away from the cameras, Repole waited at the post-race news conference for Velazquez to arrive so he too could offer his congratulations in person.

■ You know your basketball program is in pretty good shape when someone who was MVP of last season's Southeastern Conference Tournament (Darius Miller) will be fighting to hold on to his starting spot next year.

■ If Terrence Jones was going to leave his name in the NBA Draft, he should have sold ad space on his Twitter page before Saturday's announcement.

■ Tweet from Arizona AD Greg Byrne: "What the heck does the University of Maryland have against the Byrne family? ;-)"

Maryland first went after Byrne's coach, Sean Miller, for its basketball opening. Then it hired Mark Turgeon away from Texas A&M, where Greg's father, Bill, is the athletic director.

■ If Billy Gillispie had just waited a little longer, maybe he could have gotten his old job back at Texas A&M.

■ I am resigning myself to the very real possibility that the NBA title trophy is going to be taken to South Beach.

■ Mega-marathoner Dean Karnazes just completed a cross-the-country run of 74 days. And to think we in the media get pretty upset when our shuttle bus is not on time.

■ A friend relays the story of a relative who was buried wearing the same house shoes she wore while watching her beloved Kentucky basketball team play. She was afraid if she didn't keep the house shoes on, the Cats might not win another game.

■ The Reds scored all of nine runs in Chicago last weekend and won two of three games. Had they not blown a lead in the bottom of the ninth Saturday, they would have swept the Cubbies.

■ Did you see where the NCAA is holding a mock enforcement exercise? Out of habit, Tennessee showed up. (Just kidding.)

■ The Lakers did go out fighting — among themselves.

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