Let’s start with my appreciation for and thanks to Kenny Klein, U of L’s retiring SID.
He is, as has been universally reported, a professional of the highest order. And a mensch.
My personal favorite Kenny Klein moment came near the end of the ‘98-’99 hoops season, when U of L was slated to return to the NCAA after a 12-19 clunker the year before.
I had convinced John Yarmuth, my LEO editor, and Blanche Kitchen, my publisher, to actually send me on their dime to the Cards’ opening round games in Orlando. They weren’t sure whether there would be a spot on the U of L flight down.
I was still also prosecuting at the time in Juvenile Court. The County Attorney had an office behind the court room, with a phone, the number of which I didn’t even know. We essentially used it to call out and track down cops and prosecuting witnesses we needed for court.
Still unsure of whether I would make the journey or not that week before the Cards were to meet Creighton in Orlando, I’m advised I have a call.
“c d, this is Kenny Klein. We’ve got a spot for you on the team plane and a hotel room.”
“Kenny, how the hell did you track me down, get this number? Nobody knows this number. I don’t know this number.”
He is a pro’s pro.
I’m forever grateful for the accommodations he’s made that have allowed me to cover Cardinal sports up close, one of the great joys and blessings of my life.
* * * * *
One question about former future beloved Cardinal superstar hoopster, E**** B****.
Will they still introduce EB on Senior Night? I mean, he’s as much a part of Cardinal lore as Gabe Wiznitzer.
Actually, the best bit o’ snark about this whole very strange situation came from a member of the commentariat. Who advised being grateful they didn’t have to check into the Bates Motel.
Wish I’d have thought of that.
I’m glad Bates is not going to be a Cardinal. But, I do wish him well.
I actually have sympathy for the kid, who has been chewed up and spit out by the starmaker machinery and been given truly heinous direction by an overbearing father, who makes LeVar Ball seem like an elder statesman.
* * * * *
Cardinal fans who are pissed that Bam Adebayo was at a Card practice, and actually played pick up in the U of L facility while wearing — oh my, say it ain’t so, a UK jersey — need to get a clue.
Having ballers like that scrum with the current squad is one of the things that’s been missing for years. It’s a good thing. Whether they were Cards, like Donovan Mitchell and David Johnson. Or were tutored by KP down the road.
I’ll own this. When I first heard the news from my guy in the gym, I wondered aloud, “Why is this any different that when we didn’t like that Pitino had so many UK players hanging around?”
I was immediately set straight. For one, RP did it to the exclusion of former Cardinals. And those guys weren’t let in the gym to play pick up with current squad members.
My hope is that KP can lure back more of his former stars to play with current Cards. You think these youngsters can learn a few things playing against KAT, AD, Devin Booker?
I do. And if those guys want to wear Cats gear while in the gym, good on them.
And if Nolan Smith can lure a Dookie or two to join the fray, all the better.
— c d kaplan