By - Ira D. Combs
Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.
Once ESPN fought their way thru another time warp in programming causing all of us another absence and delay of live TV coverage with Kentucky basketball we were finally entertained saturday night down on the plains of Auburn , Alabama by the Commonwealth's beloved Wildcats and additionally by one of my favorite basketball personalities , former Auburn and NBA all star Charles Barkley .
If you’re a sports fan you gotta love Sir Charles Barkley , sometimes controversial and many times very blunt but always colorful and painfully honest in his opinions , especially concerning various sports topics . Saturday night he was at it again when he set in with the ESPN announcers at courtside during the 2nd half of the Auburn - UK game and right at the exact time UK was playing arguably their best half of basketball to date for the 2012 - 13 season .
Please come back Charles and often especially if the Cats are on the road .
Barkley touched base in his remarks on this years freshman class of supposed one and done player candidates at UK that Coach Cal has built a quick modern day dynasty in college hoops in recent years with , but Barkley had serious doubts about this years trio of ( Noel - Poythress - Goodwin ) when he pointedly stated , " look I consider Coach Cal a close personal friend but none of his (3) freshman or anyone else on this team needs to go into the draft this year , they aren't ready for that level of play " .
I staunchly agree Sir Charles but others who will be much more involved in the decision making process don't .
While the kiddie corps trio of Nerlens Noel , Alex Poythress , and Anthony Goodwin try to lead the struggling Kentucky Wildcats from a mediocre season into a mighty charge down the stretch into hopefully another deep run in March Madness the questions keep popping up each game from Big Blue Nation and it's chosen leader John Calipari concerning their talents and status as to whether they will be the next possible crop of one and done players to exit the Joe Craft Center doors this coming June .
However , there is no question as stated above in the "Round Mound of Rebounds" eyes and he followed that up with another suggestion , " they not only need to stay in school , Mom and Dad need to step up to the plate and take charge of the decision making process " , stated Barkley . When questioned by the college basketball analyst working the game on how this one and done delimma got started and has now raped the college game of a lot of talent and exciting basketball for several years Barkley once again spoke the plain honest truth . While many believe the NBA players association are at the brunt of the problem Barkley brought another side to the story stating , " It's the pro agent , they're just leaches sucking these kids and their parents for every dollar they can get , they have no concern or interest in the players individual development or the college game either " .
The problem for Barkley , Coach Cal and BBN is the NBA scouts have no questions or concerns about any of the three (5) star college recruits turned freshman at UK . The NBA GM's and front office personnel all across professional basketball have already firmly stamped all three for solid 1st round picks with Noel being heavily pushed for the # 1 pick overall .
What concerns me is Barkley's remarks on the character and morals of these professional basketball agents and he's dead on correct in his opinions I'm sure .
Personally , I'm hoping those same leaches don't get their fingers hooked into Willie Cauley - Stein after this season is over and he can be salvaged for one more year at least because I think he and Kyle Wiltger can be to the 2013 - 14 team what Darius Miller and Terrence Jones was to last years NCAA champions .
UK is on the road again at Alabama tuesday at 9:00 EST this time on ESPN and this coming saturday at home at 4:00 EST with LSU on the SEC tv network .
UK Spring Sports Just Around Corner
It may be bone chilling cold outside but we are only just weeks away from spring football and another UK baseball season .
Mark your calendar on the date of (Sat.) April 13th for a spring sports DH with the Wildcats when the baseball team will entertain the UT Vols at Cliff Hagan Stadium at 2:00 p.m. then walk across Cooper Drive to Commonwealth Stadium for Mark Stoops first spring Blue - White football game at 7:00 that evening . This is a little early of a date compared to previous years when this particular event was normally played the 3rd or 4th saturday in April so I'm not sure as to why it's been moved up but I'm sure there is a valid reason .
I'm assuming all those injuries to key players last fall have mended properly or are expected to be mended or the 15 practices and spring game wouldn't be moved up this early and it's possible Coach Stoops is handling this scenario like a few other college football programs do and that is the spring game is not the final practice of the 15 practices allotted by the NCAA some are saved for post spring games .
Regardless of the reason for an earlier than usual spring football game many are excited to get a look at Coach Mark Stoops first team and especially new OC Neal Brown's air raid offense . While there are reports that Stoops and Brown are in several recruiting battles with some better than average wide receivers that obviously won't be on campus this spring even if they opt for the Cats you will be able to gauge the process of the quarterbacks from last November to this spring and who is in the lead to be the starting QB come this fall for the 2013 season opener with Bobby Petrino and his WKU Hilltoppers in Nashville , Tenn .
The big prize in state still on the recruiting board is 6' 1" 175 ib. WR/Athlete Ryan Timmons of Franklin Co. , last week he canceled a previously scheduled trip to Ohio State to stay home and visit UK with some other recruits which was encouraging but now Joker Phillips has entered the picture I'm told offering immediate playing time in The Swamp and a realistic chance at winning an SEC and NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP .
Rarely does losing one recruit make or break a college football program but when you are as thin as UK is in the play making positions it makes Timmons a high priority to get Stoops & Brown's air raid offense off the ground in year # 1 and give them a punchers chance at fighting thru what already is going to be a brutal schedule with the roster UK has at the present time . Timmons is one of those rare football players that can have an impact on a football game from several different positions .
More football coverage especially on recruiting next week when we will just be 1 1/2 weeks away from national signing day .