John Clay

John Clay's notes: Rupp Arena, UK recruiting creating a buzz

Florida's Chandler Parsons
Florida's Chandler Parsons AP

Random notes:

■ Mayor Jim Gray is right to want to redo Rupp Arena instead of building something new. In this economic climate, a new Lexington arena would be a difficult sell. Make what you have better.

■ The impression of Joker Phillips' Kentucky football recruiting class will depend on two signing-day announcements. Will Louisville tight end Jon Davis reconfirm his Kentucky commitment? And will Boyle County linebacker Lamar Dawson turn down the big boys to stay close to home?

Joker gets both, the party is on at Alumni Drive. A split would be OK. But losing both might be tough to overcome in the court of public opinion.

■ With its double-overtime win at Georgia on Tuesday, Florida has clearly taken the wheel in the SEC East. The Gators own road wins at Tennessee and Georgia. Kentucky lost at Georgia, and has yet to play Tennessee. Of course, the Cats have yet to play the Gators, either.

■ The reason behind Florida's close wins? Could it be because the Gators returned all five starters from last year?

■ Speaking of Georgia-Florida, did you see Chandler Parsons get snapped by a towel after hitting a key three-pointer out of the corner on Tuesday night. Trouble was, the towel-snapper was teammate Vernon Macklin, who was a little too exuberant with his celebration, and towel, after Parsons' three and accidentally snapped the Gator where it hurts.

■ Jay Cutler could have saved himself from a lot of criticism for leaving the NFC title game with a knee injury if the Bears' quarterback had used crutches on the sideline. Remember, it's all in the presentation. Instead, Cutler presented himself as sulking and disinterested.

■ Whether he be Chad Ochocinco or Chad Johnson, the Bengals need to part ways with their wide mouth, er, out. No wonder Chad has trouble running the right routes.

■ Can understand Carson Palmer's frustration, but the Bengals would be crazy to trade their quarterback.

■ Super Bowl pick: Steelers over Packers.

■ Jay Bruce, Walt Jocketty and Joe Morgan will be among those at the Reds Caravan stop in the Lexington Center shops on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The public is welcome.

■ UK basketball note: Josh Harrellson has made three of 14 shots over his last three games.

■ About that John Calipari-Terrence Jones linguistic controversy last week, Ron Higgins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote, "While some of the Big Blue Nation was horrified, somewhere before an NBA game, former University of Memphis stars Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans probably heard about the incident and wanted to text Jones, 'Welcome to Cal's Cuss Club.'"

■ You know Kentucky women's basketball is improving when its transfers are coming from UConn.

■ North Carolina Coach Roy Williams apologized for telling critical callers to his coach's show to "keep your damn phone calls to yourself." Meanwhile, at UK, Calipari sure seems to be on the road a lot during his weekly call-in shows.

■ Did you hear where ex-Indiana coach Bob Knight said the UConn donor who was upset he wasn't consulted when the school hired a new football coach had a big ego? Guess it takes a big ego to know a big ego.

■ Figures that the very day I write there's not a clear-cut favorite in college basketball, Ohio State plays like a clear-cut favorite in pounding Purdue.

■ Whenever Tom Izzo finds himself depressed over Michigan State's disappointing season, one thought should cheer him up: He could have taken that Cleveland Cavaliers' job.

■ Speaking of State's troubles, nearly all of last year's Final Four participants are in a state of chaos. West Virginia had a player (Danny Jennings) quit the team in the middle of a game, then Bob Huggins suspended his leading scorer, Casey Mitchell. Butler has already lost three Horizon League games. Duke is still Duke, but had the bad luck of losing Kyrie Irving to injury. If the ball bounces your way one year, chances are it will bounce a different way the next.