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Cartoonist Joel Pett responds to outraged Kentucky fans

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Joel Pett of the Lexington Herald-Leader didn’t make many friends amongst Kentucky fans with his May 8 cartoon in response to the cancellation of the Indiana/Kentucky series.

The cartoon depicts head coach John Calipari’s trophy shelf, noting two vacated Final Four appearances and a “take my ball and go home” trophy alongside Kentucky’s 2012 national title.

To say the least much of Big Blue Nation wasn’t pleased with this artwork, firing off threats to cancel their subscriptions to the paper (a few followed through) and sending Pett emails and letters voicing their displeasure.

Pett provided a response of sorts in Sunday’s Herald-Leader, beginning with a description of his trip to Washington, D.C. to take part in a board meeting of the Cartoonist Rights Network.

Part of our agenda was to select the winner of the annual Courage in Cartooning Award, given to a cartoonist who showed particular bravery standing up to threats.

Sadly, there were many qualified candidates last year, perhaps the most notable being Ali Ferzat of Syria, who was beaten and had his fingers broken by thugs from the Assad regime.

The French satirical newspaper Hebdo was bombed over cartoons. Slovakian cartoonist Martin Sutovek was sued by Prime Minister Robert Fico for cartoons suggesting he lacked backbone. These are all-too-common stories, with variations repeated in India, Bahrain, Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

As with the infamous fatwah declared against the Danish cartoonists a couple of years back for drawing Mohammed, there are often undercurrents of tribalism or religious fanatacism in play, which brings us to University of Kentucky basketball.

Apparently fans have taken the liberty to call Pett at his home, with one even stating that they were outside at the time of the call.

As angry as some may be over the cartoon, that’s taking things entirely too far.

But looking at some of the above examples of cartoons, is one focused on a coach’s hypothetical trophy shelf all that malicious in comparison?

As much as we all love the games and the bragging rights that come with them, at the end of the day they’re just that: games.

Photo credit: Lexington Herald-Leader

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.