Anthony Conner- A Story of Recovery

October 21, 2011. The first quarter has left the University of Louisville in the lead 7-0 against Rutgers University. The second quarter begins with the familiar sounds of the roaring crowd and jingling cow bells. The referee blows his whistle and the clock begins to tick down as UofL punts the ball toward the Rutgers University receiving team.

The first two plays of the second quarter happen without flaw. Rutgers only gained two yards on their first play. Now it is second and eight and the cardinals are determined to keep the offense at bay. The quarterback yells the play, “set, set, hike!” He drops back and passes down the field to number 6, Mohamed Sanu. Sanu catches the ball and is flipped over by UofL’s number 35, Anthony Conner.

The lights in the stadium were bright but when Conner hit Sanu, everything went black. Immediately the bellows of the fans and the clamoring of the bells fell to a deafening silence. Conner was not moving. Coaches and trainers rushed to his side as both teams took to their knees.

“You better be hurt, Conner!” one coach jokes with Anthony. Everyone is trying to stay calm as they try to figure out how hurt their player is. Conner moves his fingers and toes- a miracle sign that he is not paralyzed. He is taken off the field in a stretcher to a round of applause from both UofL and Rutgers fans.

Conner did not believe his injury was as serious as it was when he woke up on the field. The first thought that went through his head was, “Whoa, this play is taking forever!” Because Conner could move his hands and feet, he came to the conclusion that he just had a cramp in his neck. UofL Athletics took the proper precautions, however, and took him to the hospital anyway. This proved to be a good move, because it turned out that Conner had broken his neck.

Five months and one broken neck later, Anthony Conner realizes that he is truly blessed to be alive and walking around. Coach Strong had always preached to his team that they must live for “today not tomorrow” and Conner understands the full meaning behind that now.

“Of course I was thinking ‘why me?‘“ Conner remembers. It did not take him long, however, to realize that he had to leave his situation in God’s hands and realize that he is luckier than most.

A year earlier than his own injury, Rutgers player Eric LeGrand suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. When Conner got a phone call from him, he knew he couldn’t feel sorry for himself anymore.

“He was so positive and I could just hear the joy he still had, and this is a man who is paralyzed,” Conner said shaking his head. Conner decided then to look at his situation in a positive light and share his story with others.

Conner was planning on going to the next level after his experience at UofL, but he always kept it in the back of his mind that he needed an education in case something like this ever happened. With coaching offers from former UofL coach Steve Kragthorpe and Butte Community College and experience with motivational speaking, Conner’s “plan B” is turning out to be a good one.

“I’m a soft-spoken guy. [I]ts not how I am to speak loud but I want to tell my story and to help other people out,” Conner says about talking to high school football players around the country about his injury. He now preaches the importance of an education because he knows first hand what it is like to have everything ripped away from you in a single play. “I’m open to any opportunity that I can use my talents.”

It hasn’t been easy for Conner to watch his former teammates play in games and practice and know that he will never be able to get out there again, but he is proud of how far they came this past season. “It was bitter-sweet because I didn’t get to play in the Beef-O-Brady Bowl or the Belk Bowl, but I was happy to see my guys fighting and coming together like that,” Conner says with a smile.

This fall, the Cardinals will play seven games in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and five games away. Conner believes this team will be able to go all the way and be single Big East Champions (last season they were co-champs) and even have a chance to win the Orange Bowl. “We aren’t regressing. . . We have a lot of talent that has grown up,” Conner says.

October 11, 2011. A day that will be both devastating and motivating for Anthony Conner and the UofL cardinals. Although he won’t be on the field with the Cardinals physically, Conner will always be a motivating factor that will be with the UofL football team forever.

Per Sources…

Per Chad Ford’s latest blog entry, Anthony Davis, Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones will all declare for the NBA draft “soon“. Link (insider account required).

Anthony Davis, to me and the rest of civilization, is an absolute lock for the overall #1 pick. Regardless of who is the actual winner of the lottery. Coming back to school for AD, while we’d all love it, would be nothing more than a risk of an injury. His one year of college basketball is something you or I will never forget. Retire his jersey now!

MKG — What can I say? It makes perfect sense for him to leave also. The kid has an unbelievable motor and projected as a top 5 pick (most places have him suited as #2). He too, would be “rolling the dice” with a return to College basketball. Go pursue your dream MKG and trust me, all of BBN will be follow you like a stalker for the rest of your career. I do believe, however, he’d have a 70% chance for a return if #8 never happened.

Terrence Jones, like Mark stated earlier, has played himself into the end of the Lottery selection (13-16). I can’t see him improving his draft stock much more by sticking around for another year at Kentucky. If he continues to play with that fire he developed towards the end of the year, the sky is the limit for Mr. Jones. I’m not 100% sure what position he’ll play at the next level though. I would assume PF, but he has the ability to knock down the three, albeit, an extremely slow release. He still showed he can consistently knock it down. I wish him nothing but the best and I believe I speak for the rest of BBN, he’s making the correct decision also.

Good luck gentlemen and thank you for everything you’ve done for the University of Kentucky.

Now we wait to hear from Teague and Lamb……

My gut says, Teague stays and Lamb leaves (widely reported of his desire to play in the NBA). I’m not sold on Lamb at the next level though (yet), mainly because a shooter is a dime a dozen, he’s slightly undersized for a 2 guard and needs to work on being a floor general (best chance to succeed). Personally, I think both kids should stay because another year would do wonders for their maturity and draft status (weak PG/SG class). The moment we hear something, we’ll report it though. The Teague family, is expected to meet next week and decide together. Remember Jeff (Marquis’ older brother), stayed two years at Wake Forest before declaring. So a return is highly likely.

Basketball is Over. What Now?

In the Bluegrass State, sports season is seven months long. Spanning from the beginning of September to the end of March (the early part of April if you’re lucky), college sports fans in the Commonwealth enjoy non-stop action. When basketball season ends however, there is the great five month lull until football season. Spring football can only tickle our soft spot for a day, followed by a very minor ripple effect of news tidbits coming out the few days following the Spring Game.  Sure, the NBA is just heating up, but that only lasts until June. The Derby is right around the corner, baseball fans have their thing, golf is nice to watch when you’re taking your Sunday afternoon nap, and I guess NASCAR is fun for Cats fans.

But let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s U of L. It’s UK. And we organize our lives around the Cards or the Cats. During this five month sports drought, we have to cherish the little things as they come around. For now we are wanderers looking for the oasis on our long journey back to the land of milk and honey. These oases come in the form of new recruit signings, speeches from coaches, and highlight compilations from the previous year. It’s all we have at this point, and we gobble them up like savages when they release.

Cards fans, start your Friday right with a pair of oases. Here’s an AWESOME highlight video from last year’s football Cards. If this doesn’t get you pumped, you hate Charlie Strong. Follow this up with a T-Will highlight reel. TTTT Willy is looking to revitalize his career with the Kings, and the man is ballin. He’s been averaging 10 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists in his last five games with the Kings. He had 11 pts, 3 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 24 minutes last night.

Amobi Okoye’s Kickoff 4 Kids Gala- April 13th

I’ve known Amobi Okoye since before anyone realized he had NFL potential.  I met him through a friend of mine  (who also played at UofL) shortly after Amobi had made his collegiate debut as a 16-year old.  As you might imagine a 16-year old playing major college football is a rare thing.  But Amobi Okoye is truly a rare individual.  It’s why in the middle of March Madness I’m writing to you about him and his charitable foundation.

Generally speaking, we don’t ask much of you at all.  We talk sports.  We write, give our thoughts, and since just beginning in August 2011 almost 50,000 of you find us each and every month.  Some leave comments, some share our links and embed our videos.  We are very grateful for that and we’ve never asked anyone for anything.  But Amobi Okoye needs your help.















Currently a free agent Okoye played last season for the Chicago Bears after 4 seasons with the Houston Texans.  While the 24 year old with 5-years of NFL experience should be weighing different options on which team he will play for next season, he is currently in Africa mentoring children on the benefits of education, teaching them football, delivering school & medical supplies.  Amobi travels with a huge group and ships enormous container ships of supplies each year to his native country of Nigeria.  As a multi-millionaire, Amobi sinks a lot of his own fortune in to his causes but he isn’t just focused on Nigeria or even Africa.  Kids in Huntsville, Louisville, Houston, and Chicago have been positively influenced by Amobi Okoye through his football camps, his “Movies and Motivation” sessions, his scholarship foundation, Tackle Hunger.  I could go on.















I’ve never met anyone who is so generous with their time, energy, and personal fortune.  If this was some average person taking on this endeavor, I would advise him to scale back his focus, to think “local not global”.  But there is really no stopping Okoye, so we might as well help him and get behind him.  Amobi wants to positively affect more children more often and on a grander scale.  He does this by partnering with other NFL players and Corporate Sponsors who can align their similar missions with the Amobi Okoye Foundation and its various causes. (You can learn about all of the programs at

How can you help?

-Attend the Kickoff 4 Kids Gala at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium the night before UofL’s Spring Game on the Terrace & PNC Club.  Tickets are $50 per person.  Amobi Okoye along with several notable individuals from both the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky will be in attendance.  There are also Tables and Sponsorship Packages Available:  Click on this link to Learn More About Kickoff For Kids and to buy tickets or call Charla Young 502-296-8998.

There will be Cocktails, Dinner, Dancing, and a Silent Auction.  Entertainment provided by “The Image” and “DJ Kaos”.  The Gala Benefits the Kickoff 4 Kids Foundation & Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana.

-The Foundation is in need of Corporate Sponsors for its various events.  So if you can’t attend the Kickoff for Kids Gala on April 13th, but think you might be able to connect some dots in a networking capacity for the foundation with different Corporations that may wish to get involved or already share similar ideals as Amobi and the work he is doing please contact me ( or Chad Rimpsey (256-225-9353).

Cards & Cats Monday Morning Notes


The University of Kentucky spent Sunday afternoon putting a bow on their regular season. The Cats finished 30-1 overall, and 16-0 in the SEC.  By beating Florida the Cats became just the 3rd team since 1956 to finish perfect in league play.  The 30-1 regular season record gives UK their first 30 win regular season in their history.  To say that this is a special team is an understatement.  Now the post-season begins and it all starts over.  The Cats are the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament in New Orleans and surprisingly the 18-13 Tennessee Volunteers secured the #2 seed in the SEC due to tie-breakers.

Kentucky will win the SEC Tournament (if they don’t I’m SHOCKED) and will move on to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  The only mystery remaining is who gets the #1 OVERALL seed in the NCAA.  Syracuse and UK both finished the regular season 30-1, both lost on the road.  Syracuse’s loss came without the services of their center Fab Melo in South Bend against league foe Notre Dame.  Kentucky of course lost a buzz-beater in Bloomington against a good Indiana team.  Syracuse is #1 in the NCAA’s RPI, Kentucky is #2.

Regardless of whether or not UK gets the #1 overall seed over Syracuse is splitting hairs.  Head to head I like the Cats’ due to their ability to beat zones.  But committees, stats, the RPI, SOS and all the other measurement tools don’t think that way.  In the end the Cats are a LOCK to play their 2nd & 3rd round matchups at the KFC Yum! Center to start the NCAA Tournament on Thursday/Saturday.  May god be with the #16 seed that draws them.

The last questions to be answered are which Region is best for the Cats and who do they match up with?  St. Louis or Atlanta?  St. Louis is closer, but Atlanta is widely known as Cat Friendly territory and is a fit in the league that they currently play in.  I’m betting the committee puts them in Atlanta.


For the Cards, they limped home to finish the regular season dropping 4 of their last 6.  Two of those four losses were to the #2 Syracuse Orange both home and away, but the cause for many fans’ concern is the disappearing act of the Louisville offense.  For that reason the Big East Tournament is going to be HUGE for the Louisville team in terms of seeding for the NCAAs and overall momentum.

The Big East Tournament could be for Louisville is the revenge train.  The Cards play the winner of the Providence/Seton Hall game on Wednesday evening.  And if they advance they will face the #2 seed Marquette Golden Eagles.  If the Cards can continue to win games they would then have an opportunity to play the #3 seed Notre Dame (assuming they advance), before potentially playing Syracuse in the Final.  Obviously winning 3 games and those being those opponents is unlikely, but it would work out that way if things worked out according to seed and the Cards were able to win their matchups.

At this point the Cards are limping along.  Before this week most regarded UofL as a #4 seed overall. With losses to South Florida and Syracuse both lackluster offensively I would think the Cards have slipped to a #6 or possibly even a #7.  Lose and the Cards might find themselves as a 8/9.  If the Cards win their first game in the Big East Tournament and then get bounced by Marquette I could see Louisville be a 6/7.  Beat Marquette and the Cards could move back into a 5 seed.  Each win in the Big East likely moves up Louisville an entire seed in the NCAAs.  Get past Marquette and Notre Dame and the Cards could sit at a 4.  Win the whole thing I think they may get a #3.  Who knows…….with the way Louisville has been playing lately we may not see them past Thursday anyway.

Lady Cards & Cats

The Lady Cats advanced to the Semi-Finals of the SEC Tournament before falling to the LSU Tigers in Nashville, TN.  The UK women fell to the Tigers 72-61 and will await their NCAA Tournament seed which will be released Monday March 12, 2012.  The Lady Cats have had an incredible season and finished 24-5 and are currently ranked 9/10th in the respective polls.  At this point their loss to LSU shouldn’t hurt too badly, but it likely puts UK as a #3 seed during March Madness.

The Lady Cardinals took on St. John’s Sunday Night and fell in overtime to #21 St. John’s 68-62 in OT in Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament held in Hartford, CT. The ladies are currently ranked 17/20th respectively and are likely looking at a 4 or 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  The Cards head into the NCAA Tournament 22-9 but eight of their nine losses came to teams currently ranked in the Top 25.  The Cards only have quality losses and they also have a few nice wins to their resume` as well.

UK and UofL should both have exciting NCAA Tournaments, I look forward to seeing their draw on March 12th.


UK has started out a smoking hot 11-0 and Sunday their bats EXPLODED for a 20-0 win over Illinois-Chicago.  The way this Cats baseball team is currently playing they are proving that they deserve to be in the Top 25 and should start getting votes in next week’s poll.  Their next home game is slated for Tuesday against Tennessee Tech at 4:00 in Cliff Hagan Stadium.

UofL dropped their season opener two weeks ago in Clearwater to Minnesota.  So with getting any chance of undefeated (that isn’t going to happen in College Baseball anyway) the Cards went ahead and have played some really solid baseball.  The Cards are currently 8-3 on the season and fresh off winning a 3-game series against Pepperdine at Jim Patterson Stadium (2-1).  The Cards take the field again on Tuesday at home against the Indiana Hoosiers at 3:00.

Johnny Patrick Interview

Former Cardinal and current New Orleans Saint Johnny Patrick had a nice interview with Patrick was injured late in the pre-season and Head Coach Sean Payton said a few times during the season that Patrick could help them.  The Saints had a bad week when it was revealed that Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams offered “bounties” for on the field “knockouts” among other unsavory incentives.

Passtime Gathering

On Saturday Afternoon I was invited by several great Cards fans to the Syracuse game watch at Passtime Fish House in J-Town.  The Cards lost, but the fish was so good it distracted me from the game (that’s a good thing).  Lots of great people and discussions of Cardinal Athletics.  I really hope to do it again soon!!!