Joker Phillips isn’t running from Kentucky’s basketball success; he’s embracing it. (AP)
HOOVER, Ala. — In the thankless slot before lunchtime on the longest of SEC Media Days, they scheduled the guy with the up-hilliest job in the SEC. Highlights from Joker Phillips’ time at the mic:
• Phillips talked up the Wildcats’ streak of postseason appearances. In football! Kentucky once put together a five-bowl streak in the twenty-first century. FIVE. This might astonish you, but it is an actual fact. Three Music Cities, a Liberty and a BBVA Compass. The ‘Cats are 3-2 in those games.
• A really interesting question: Did Kentucky winning the national title in basketball this year reinforce the second-class status of the football team at UK? As a native Kentuckian and alum, Phillips said he has no reason to separate himself from basketball. ”I’m selling our basketball program. I’d be crazy to try to fight that.” He described the schools’ hoops prowess as a boon overall for the athletic department. ”We want to hitch our wagon to our basketball program. Who doesn’t want to see those guys play?”
• The inevitable hot seat question popped up, but Phillips had a response at the ready: “I’m not sitting down right now. There’s nothing hot.”