By LARRY VAUGHT
Linebackers Courntey Love and De’Niro Laster will play their first game for Kentucky tonight. Quarterback Drew Barker will make his first season-opening game start. Defensive lineman Jacob Hyde hopes to play a bigger role this year.
Forward Derek Willis is already busy getting ready for his senior season under coach John Calipari.
So how does that tie together? Simple. All five UK athletes took time earlier this week to visit 9-year-old Brendan Murphy of Corbin at the UK Children’s Hospital. He has been there almost two weeks now due to a complex case of MRSA (a contagious and antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria that leads to potentially dangerous infection) in his bloodstream.
A family friend reached out to the players on Twitter and they responded by visiting Brendan.
The visit came at a terrific time for the Murphy family.
“It was real touch and go Sunday. We were not sure he would even be here Monday,” Jennifer Murphy, Brendan’s mother, said. “He had a big operation and has got lots of care and attention here. I don’t know when we will go home, but I am confident we will.”
Brendan got out of bed for the first time Wednesday after Willis’ visit.
“He was star struck when Derek came in. He said, ‘Wow. You are so tall. Your head touches the ceiling.’ My son has watched him play and he loves anything that deals with basketball,” Jennifer said. “To have one of the Kentucky guys he sees on TV in his hospital room, he was speechless. He just sat and stared.”
To read the rest of my story go to http://www.lex18.com/story/32961901/willis-barker-other-uk-athletes-bring-sunshine-hope-to-9-year-old-fan-in-uk-hospital.
You can also hear Brendan’s parents talk about what the visit from the UK athletes meant to the family on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports (630 AM) Sunday at 10 a.m.