Cards to the Big East?
It's still the offseason but there's lots of things going on around Cardinal athletics these days. It's almost time for the Run for the Rose's and we've already completed spring football practice, the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic and are now squarely in the middle of basketball's spring signing period and AAU season.
With that said, here are some interesting tidbits we've heard around town over the course of the past week.
Cards to the Big East? According to sources close to the program this deal has a solid possibility of getting done sooner rather than later. With UofL AD Tom Jurich recently in Phoenix, AZ to meet to discuss the future of the BCS, it now appears a conference change for the Cards is clearly in the works. However, there could be a catch to this deal. Recent events suggest the Big East is not the most stable conference in the nation and speculation abounds that top football programs Miami, Boston College, and Syracuse have received overtures from the ACC to dump the Big East and join a newly expanded Atlantic Coast Conference. Word is the uncertainty created by ACC expansion talk has folks in the Cardinal camp nervous about such a move at this time to the Big East.
The James Lang recruiting saga appears to be over. When Lang failed to show for recent scheduled visits to the Lousiville the signs were pointing to an NBA jump for the 6'10 McDonald's All American. When sources in Birmingham told us that Lang was likely headed to the league it further confirmed our suspicions. Recently, sources close to the program have informed ITV that Lang signed with an agent and this development has ended his collegiate eligibility and recruitment.
Mohamed Abukar showed local fans why he's likely the most coveted national
prospect this spring. His combination of size, skills and athleticism are
rare and would be welcome on any team in college basketball. Word around
the Derby Classic this weekend was that Kentucky leads for Abukar's services
over Louisville and would likely sign with the SEC program if the
league office granted a request to waive SEC bylaws regarding intra-conference transferring. If the rule is not waived, the Cards appear to be the choice of the 6'10 multi-skilled forward.
Word is Patrick Sparks wants to attend the University of Louisville and the Cardinals would be more than happy to accept his transfer. In fact, trusted sources tell ITV that UofL requested his release when Sparks announced his intentions to transfer. There's one problem though. The Western Kentucky administration stipulated in Spark's release that he couldn't transfer to any school on the Hilltoppers schedule during the 2003-04 or 2004-05 seasons. However, sources have told ITV that's not quite right. We're told the release only mentions one school in particular Sparks can't attend. That's right, Louisville. And word is certain folks at UofL aren't happy about it. In fact, don't be surprised if the Cards cancel next seasons scheduled game in Nashville with the Hilltoppers if Sparks' appeal is denied by the Western administration.
Apparently, Rajon Rondo is transferring from Eastern High School after Head Coach Doug Bibby was fired by the Eagles principal shortly after the season ended. So where will the talented Rondo finish his high school career? Well, we've heard Rondo has spoken with Oak Hill's Steve Smith, who was the coach of the Purple team this weekend at the Derby Classic, about joining the nationally ranked program's team next season. But the smart money might be on Ballard High. Remember, Rondo is one of two front runners next season for the coveted Mr. Basketball award and he certainly can't win it playing in Virginia. It also appears a solid possibility that Bibby could join Chris Renner's staff next season as an assistant. That move would all but guarantee Rondo plays for the Bruins next season.
Looks like grass, feels like grass but it's FieldTurf. That's
right. Sources tell ITV that FieldTurf will be installed at Papa John's
Cardinal Stadium in June. FieldTurf is the same surface the Seattle
Seahawks play on and several other NFL teams use in their practice facilities,
including the Browns, Packers, Steelers, Vikings and Chiefs. Several big
time college programs also use FieldTurf as their playing surface, including
Washington, Nebraska, Michigan and Miami. FieldTurf combines an artificial
blade of grass with an infill of sand and rubber. FieldTurf has drawn rave reviews from players because it provides good traction yet is forgiving. It also drains well and is said to be playable in up to 10 inches of rain per hour.