Al Pacino. Before finally seeing “The Godfather” trilogy at the ripe age of 25, I thought of Pacino as another leathery, old-school actor who was really good at “screaming scenes” and in my head, might play Rick Pitino in a biopic one day. ATG (“After The Godfather”), I realized I totally underestimated him, and that the only way he’d be associated with a Rick biopic would be to accidentally flip over to the Lifetime Channel. Sure, Pacino’s still one of the best screamers in the business, but his work in those three movies showed he can do just as much with a single stare, or, if you will, a fateful kiss on his treacherous brother’s cheek.
Pacino’s breakout role as Michael Corleone was merely the beginning of an illustrious career that includes an Academy Award (“Scent of a Woman”) and a mountain of nominations (piled atop a gilded desk, perhaps?). Pacino, who trained at the famous Actors Studio in NYC (of which he is currently co-president), practically dominated the awards scene in the 1970’s, and became an icon in the hip-hop community with his role as Tony Montana in “Scarface,” posters of which still sell out over twenty years later. I could really go on and on about Pacino, but everyone has their favorite scene and line, which I encourage you to say to yourself right now (with air-gun shooting, if needed).
Happy birthday, Al. You make 72 look like a walk on a Sicilian beach. #lafamilia
— Tuesday was random recruiting news day, as two new (and difficult to pronounce) names popped up on the radar: power forward Montrezl Harrell and Croation shooting guard Mislav Brzoja.
Montrezl Harrell committed to Virginia Tech back in March but after head coach Seth Greenberg was fired on Monday, he’s apparently rethinking things. Harrell has reportedly asked for a release, and if granted, will entertain offers from Kentucky, NC State, Pitt, Providence, Louisville, Xavier, Cincinnati and Alabama. He’s the 14th best power forward in the 2012 class according to Scout.com and played his senior season at Hargrave Military Academy, the alma mater of one Larry Brown, Cal’s mentor.
The odder bit of news was Scout’s report that Croatian point guard Mislav Brzoja will visit Kentucky on Wednesday. Cal watched him play with his CAPS All-Star travel team last weekend in Merrillville, Ind. and apparently liked what he saw. Brzoja (say that ten times fast) played at Traders Point Christian School in Indiana this past season and will also visit Marquette and Dayton. Information on Brzoja is still rolling in (Matt has some in a post below), but we do know he played for the Croatian Under 19 team that upset the US last July, so there’s that. The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein calls him a “shooting specialist” and quotes his coach, who says Brzoja is a “great player and a great friend.” With Lamb, Teague, and Miller gone to the big league, the Cats need another perimeter player, so if Brzoja’s Cal’s man, then we better learn how to say “three goggles” in Croatian (“tri naoÄale”).
— Additionally, it seems as though Kentucky will pursue former Xavier guard Mark Lyons, who is considering the Cats, along with Kansas and Arizona. Lyons’ recruitment is a hot topic amongst UK fans, who associate him with the bench clearing brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati last season. It appears Lyons has a similarly bad reputation among the media, with Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty calling him “selfish on occasion” and recalling affable Bill Raftery ripping the guard for a dumb foul late in a close game. Now, who’s to say what kind of player Lyons is these days, but with the taste of last year’s selfless team still on our lips, a potentially bad seed seems hard to swallow. Yet, don’t forget that Cal has taken players with bad reputations in the past, and few players in recent memory are as beloved as our Boogie. Lyons will visit all three schools before making his decision.
— All of this sudden and random movement with the 2012 class begs the question of where the Cats stand with Anthony Bennett. Bennett is still deciding between Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and UNLV, with most seeing the race down to the Cats and the Gators. Although the new crop of Cats is doing their best to woo him via social media, uncertainty still surrounds his situation, which may explain the influx of new names on the scene. The truth is, seven players are gone from last year’s team, and although we have an incredibly talented group coming in, depth is needed.
— Despite a few cranky Reds fans, Calipari and the National Championship trophy got a nice welcome at the Great American Ballpark on Tuesday night. A loyal KSR reader in attendance said there was a decent amount of blue in the stands, and although there were a few boos scattered in the stands when Cal was announced, the cheers drowned them out. Cal even threw out the first pitch, an “85 mph, rising fastball” according to him. Color me impressed.
Much has been made of some Reds fans’ criticism of the honor, to which I echo longtime Reds announcer Marty Brennaman’s sentiment: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.” It’s a Tuesday night game people, it’s not the World Series. So what if the Reds want to honor the National Champions, the fan base of which, like it or not, crosses the Ohio River? Kudos to the UK fans that came out and supported their squad. Also, by the way, the Reds beat the Giants 9-2, so you’re welcome Reds fans. #KentuckyEffect
— Unfortunately, it seems the Louisville baseball team has Kentucky’s number: the Cards swept the Cats with a 10-2 win on Tuesday night in Louisville. The Cards got off to a fast start, scoring two runs in the first inning and six in the third, and it proved to be more than the Bat Cats could overcome. Our boy David Mulloy has a good recap of the game over at KSR College, so go drown your sorrows.
— Nerlens Noel isn’t even on campus for good yet, but he’s already starting trends. On Tuesday, Nerlens tweeted out a pic of himself alongside a picture of Ryan Harrow and his new “gumby” hair do, which, for those of you not well-versed in hair vocabulary, is a “slanted hi-top that had a shape similar to the Gumby cartoon character.” So, there. High-top, flat top, low top, tall top, doo wop, whatever. This ridiculous hair movement is awesome, and I hope it spreads throughout the team. Yes, Kyle Wiltjer, you could totally pull off the Ivan Drago ‘do. Just no steroids, please.
— Don’t forget about the KSTV Casting Call this Saturday at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington. Even if the thought of being on a television show completely boggles your mind, you should show up and give it a shot anyway. Where else can you stand under the bright lights of a TV set, surrounded by cameras, and debate the same topics you’ve argued with friends your entire life? Think of the stories! Registration is from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m., and you’ll get to see Bradley McKee, which is reason enough for me.
That’s all she wrote. We’ll be back bright and early to take you through another wacky and wild day in Kentucky sports. See you soon.