- As he told you last night, Eric Lindsey will be on a well-deserved vacation this week (believe it or not). I will be posting content, but it will still be a bit of a slower week than usual. There will be another notes post or two like this one along the way, as well as coverage of anything else that happens to pop up. Also, we will be beginning a series of stories later this week that I think you will really enjoy, so keep an eye out for that.
- With the NBA Finals getting underway this evening in Miami, there are a few UK ties worth mentioning:
- Jamaal Magloire: As you know, the Heat big man was member of Kentucky's last national championship team in 1998. He hasn't played a great deal in the postseason but did get on the floor in a pair of games in the Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls.
- Pat Riley: Riley may not be taking the floor in this series, but Riley deserves a lot of credit for getting the Heat to where they are now. As team president, Riley helped to orchestrate the signing of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, as well as the re-signing of Dwyane Wade. Riley will forever live in UK lore as member of the famed Rupp's Runts, who advanced to the 1966 national title game, and he now has a chance to add to his professional legacy as a player, coach and executive.
- Dirk Nowitzki: The German star's connection to UK is not quite as strong as Magloire's or Riley's, but it's still pretty interesting. Before heading to the NBA, Nowitzki considered Kentucky and actually visited, a fact that John Calipari reported on Twitter last week: "How bout (Dirk Nowitzki) last night? I hear Dirk is a UK fan (and Wayne Turner) hosted him on his UK official visit. We need (to) get him (to Rupp Arena)." Who knows, maybe Nowitzki will make a return trip to Rupp next year as a newly crowned NBA champion?
- LeBron James: James is a friend of Calipari's and has made a pair of memorable visits to Lexington since Calipari became UK's head coach two years ago, including serving as the "Y" for a game during the 2009-2010 season.
- It's been a couple days, but I'd like to take another opportunity to congratulate coach Rachel Lawson and the UK softball team on their great run in the NCAA Tournament. It didn't end the way they wanted it to, but it was a special season and the future is bright. Eric had a great article below on the team that you should check out if you haven't already. Also, Lawson is on Twitter (@UKCoachLawson) so you can offer support and congratulations to the team there.
- With the spring semester wrapped up, a lot of attention will now shift to the NBA Draft, which takes place June 23. UK won't match the unbelievable five first-round picks it had last year, but with Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter, DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrellson all looking to get their careers started, it should still be a good night.
If you pay attention to mock drafts, it's looking more and more like Knight will be headed west. Both ESPN and Draft Express have projected that the Utah Jazz will select him third overall since the lottery a couple weeks ago. Of course, there are plenty of things that can change that quickly (trades and otherwise), but that would be a good spot for him.
On the other hand, there seems to be little consensus about Kanter, Liggins and Harrellson. Kanter, after a very strong showing at the NBA Combine, looks to be a near-lock to go in the top ten. I've even seen him mentioned as an outside contender to be picked first, but it seems more likely he'll end up somewhere between four and eight. Liggins and Harrellson are both traveling to multiple workouts in the coming weeks looking to impress.
- As if you needed another reason to be excited about UK's incoming men's basketball class, Jason King of Yahoo! Sports gave a list of 16 SEC newcomers to watch next season. Yep, you guessed it: Anthony Gilchrist, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer were all mentioned. You're not going to learn anything you didn't already know about the four UK signees, but I'm sure you'll want to take a look anyway.
-Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com wrote a story this weekend about the charitable side of John Calipari. The piece focuses on Calipari's relationship with his late mother and his involvement with the V Foundation for Cancer research, among other charities. It's a very worthwhile read and has a lot of good stuff, but probably the most telling quote for me was from Coach Cal's peer, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins:
"To me what it's about is when your players come back, when they respect what you try to do for them," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "And John's guys always come back. John's a very, very loyal guy. I don't think that comes out enough. John is involved in a lot of [charities] that mean a lot to a lot of people."
- Finally, I would like to encourage everyone to keep former Kentucky tight end T.C. Drake in your thoughts. Drake has been hospitalized since a car struck his motorcycle on Sunday evening. Please join the UK family in praying for a full and speedy recovery.