Claiborne: Take that major, Vic, and use it!
Lesson can be learned from latest champs
Vic Adams is an unusual young man, a smart one at that. Combine his attributes with the character of Jerry Claiborne and we have an interesting story.
Adams is a defensive lineman from Middlesboro who
Cats' Pause Columnist
started for the University of Kentucky football team last fall. When it came time for spring practice to start recently, he went to see trainer Al Green.
"What does it mean." Adams asked Green, "when I turn my head like this my left arm goes dead, and when I turn my head like this my right arm goes dead?"
Green's worst fears proved ture. Adams had a serious neck injury and will never be able to play football again.
But. as Claiborne points out. the real tragedy would have been if the injury hadn't been diagnosed.
This is Adam's fourth year at UK. but he was a red-shirt freshman who had another year of football eligibility. But he hasn't been able to waste his time in the classroom. He and his wife have a child, and he has gone to class and applied himself so much that he will receive a degree at the end of this semester.
Claiborne's advice to Adams is to take his degree and get a job. The forestry major worked this past summer with the Tennessee Forestry Division and may be able to work there again.
"I told him he needs to think about his family," said Claiborne, "and that we would give him his senior ring and senior plaque."
But if Adams wants to coach, he'll be welcome, said Claiborne. Adams served as a student coach this spring.
?RECRUITER'S GAME. McDonald's Kentucky Derby Festival All-Star game, held earlier this month, had to be the strangest I've ever watched. It was dominated by a player, Travis Ford of Madisonville, who spent most of his time during the game as a recruiter! That's right, he recruited.
Each time down the floor, the talented little guard had eyes only for his buddy, Lawrence Funderburke. Ford, you see, has signed with Missouri and he dearly would like to see the troubled Funderburke do the same.
Funderburke is a marvelous athlete; hey, the 6-foot-9 forward might be worth a year of probation! (he's mentioned in the NCAA allegations against UK)
Ford took just eight shots; he usually has that many in the first eight minutes. Heck, he had as many assists as he had shots! Ford hit four of six three-pointers and finished with 18 points during his 19 minutes of play and was voted Most Valuable Player honors on the North, which beat the South 128-103.
Pat Graham, Indiana's Mr. Basketball, scored 21 points for the South and was MVP. He played well, but I thought that UCLA-bound Tracy Murray, who scored 27 and had a whopping 16 rebounds, should have been given the honor.
What about Kentucky's only signee? After a scoreless first half, Jeff Brassow got untracked and looked like a player. He finished with 16 points, hitting six of 10. The kid can leap, but he's no Rex Chapman in this department.
Kentucky's Mr. Basketball, Allan Houston of Ballard, never had his head in the game. Perhaps everyone should bacK off and let this young man decide for himself whether he wants to honor his signing with Louisville or accompany his father to Tennessee, where former U of L assistant Wade Houston, his father, is now the head man.
?PACKER BLASTS HERALD-LEADER. I'll give the Lexington Herald-Leader credit: CBS analyst Billy Packer blasted the Lexington paper recently and the paper didn't try to hide it. Quite the contrary. The six-column head on Jerry Tipton's column read, "Packer rips Herald-Leader for negative Cat coverage."
Said Packer: "I think the people of the state of Kentucky ought to boycott your newspaper. The newspaper's been a major part of the problem, if not THE problem. It serves no purpose to the university.
"If you guys printed as many things positive as you did about the negative allegations, the whole process would have been resolved sooner and it would have left the university in a healthier situation."
The Herald-Leader's reporting "was a major disservice to the university, to the kids who play there and to Eddie Sutton...The constant repetitive articles...It seems I've been reading that crap for a whole year."
?IN CLASSY COMPANY. Your reporter was in pretty classy company. I was doing my TV show at Bellarmine's Knights Hall, standing between the nation's two finest guards. Rumeal Robinson of Cambridge, Mass.. was on my left and Rex Chapman of Owensboro was on my right.
I asked Robinson if he was looking forward to playing with one of the nation's best big men. Terry Mills, the following season at the University of Michigan.
Robinson is soft-spoken and has a bit of what I would call a Caribbean accent. He answered my question so softly that I didn't understand what a word he said. Later, off camera, I asked Rex what his buddy had said.
Said Rex: "He said that it would be nice to play with Terry, but neither of them would be eligible next season."
That happened three years ago almost to the day when Chapman and Robinson were in Louisvile to play in the McDonald's Derby Festival Classic.
So, Robinson and Mills sat out a year, academic casualties. So did Sean Higgins last season. You know how important all three were to Michigan's drive to the national championship.
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If you have been a consistent reader, you know how I feel about David Roselle. He deserves the gratitude of every University of Kentucky alumnus and supporter for his quest for greatness both for the university and the Wildcat basketball team.
CM. Newton, who has returned home as UK's new director of athletics, has the assignment to make sure the university's entire athletic program is run properly both on the athletic and academic side.
It would be nice if UK could recruit the caliber of student-athletes that Roselle's alma mater, Duke, does and that Newton's last employer, Vanderbilt, does. But there aren't enough of that caliber players around.
Roselle instructed Eddie Sutton not to recruit additional players who were academically deficient. But Sutton, for the third straight year, did just that. And that is one of many reasons that Sutton is a former head coach at Kentucky.
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I agree with President Roselle's ideals. But all of us must face facts. Michigan, for instance, probably would be ranked among the world's top 10 institutions of higher learning. Yet Michigan accepted not one, not two, but three players who did not qualify academically. And who is counting now that they have helped Michigan capture the national championship?
?BEST OF THE NCAA. Unless you read the Lexington Hearld-Leader, you missed the best story that came out of the NCAA. The day of the Final Four semifinals, The Boston Globe informed its readers that Robinson's adopted mother had flown to Seattle for the NCAA, but that her husband, a Postal Service worker, did not have the funds.
Jerry Claiborne has advised Vic Adams, No. 92, to take his major in forestry and get a job. But if he wants to work as an assistant, Claiborne said that would be fine, too.
did not have the funds.
Globe readers started a quick campaign to get Mr. Robinson to Seattle. They convinced a Postal Service supervisor to find Rumeal's father, whisked him to Logan Airport, provided money and a limo to meet him at Seattle and get him to the Kingdome in time for the game. He had only his Postal Service uniform and no tickets, but Michigan people provided tickets and both parents got to see their son and his heroics.
?THOSE PEP BANDS. UK's band is great. UK's band is great. UK's band is great. Got that? I don't want anyone to think that I am bad-mouthing the UK band.
Did you get to see any of the pep bands at the NCAA? Great, weren't they? At the Southeast Regional at Lexington, all four were particularly outstanding. The kids from Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia and Oklahoma really put on a show and kept their pep sections alive. And Michigan's "Hail to the Victors" has to be the best college pep song of all.
I wish UK would go to an honest-to-goodness pep band and put the musicians on the floor as is done during the NCAA. Joe Hall got the UK kids out of the upper reaches of Rupp Arena. Now maybe the new coach and Newton can make room for a pep band on the floor.
?WILL UCLA BENEFIT? If Chris Mills and LeRon Ellis leave UK, don't be surprised if they land at UCLA. Just remember that you read it here first.
?NIT QUIZ. Two Kentuckians, both Louisvilllians, have won National Invitational Tournament Most Valuable Player awards. Can you name them? Nope, no UK players are involved.
The honored Kentuckians are Charlie Tyra of U of L in 1956 and Hank Stein of Xavier in 1958.