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Cornel West’s Monday News and Views

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Today is June 2, the birthday of one of the more interesting characters in the otherwise mundane world of Ivy League intellectuals, Cornel West of Princeton University. In a world in which we like to pigeonhole every person into a small category that makes them easy for us to process and compartmentalize, West has had a career that has been all over the map. He began his academic work as an African-American studies professor at Harvard, beginning the institute that claims to be the best in the nation. But while there, he continued his theological work and feuded with the Harvard President, largely because of his extracurricular activities, such as producing a hip-hop album and playing a character in both Matrix movies. He then left Harvard to teach at Princeton, where he is currently based. West is a man whose intellect and belief system is varied in a way that is rare for the highest parts of academia. His leftist political beliefs conform with most of academia, but his strong religious beliefs do not, and in recent years it is that part of his personality that has become more developed. He works with Pastor TD Jakes and others in the religious community to fight against the corrosive imagery of modern rap videos and music. He spawns large amounts of hatred from most serious academics, largely because of his cross-over appeal to mainstream society and many in the intellectual community view him with such contempt, largely because he has a trait nearly all of them lack….relevancy. West today turns 54, the same day as Jerry Mathers (as the Beaver) turns 65….process that however you choose.

To the news….

(1): Tonight ended with somewhat dreary news as the Kentucky baseball team was eliminated from the Regional this evening by Arizona, 5-3. The Cats won the two previous games to get to the Regional final, but fell on their second game on Sunday. It was a strong season for the Cats, giving them one of their best finishes in school history, but it was also a “what might have been season” as well. They started out as strong as any team in the nation, only to fade as the year went on. They did however make a run late and put up strong performances in both the SEC and NCAA tournaments. One of these days, the Cats will hopefully progress past the regional round and get their just reward for the amazing turnaround Coach Cohen has made for this once dormant program.

(2): In the basketball world, this weekend gave the official word that Derrick Jasper would be leaving Kentucky. Jasper received his release on Friday, after agreeing to wait a few weeks in order to consider remaining in Lexington. In the end, he decided to stay closer to home for a variety of reasons, the vast majority of which had little to do with his time at UK. For UK now, figuring out what the next step will be at point guard becomes quite difficult. As of this moment, only two potential point guards exist on the roster….Kevin Galloway and Michael Porter. There is always the possibility of DeAndre Liggins qualifying, but that is looking more unlikely by the day. Thus UK has the option of sticking with these two guys at the slot or signing another 2008 guard such as Hunter McClintock. As of now, lots of pressure will rest on the Galloway shoulders, as he will be asked to come in and lead a team from Day One. His ability to come to UK and step right in without missing a beat, could end up being the key to success next season.

(3): On the issue of Hunter McClintock, one point should be made. I read occasionally on message boards various posts from detractors of the young man that state something along the lines of “he doesnt have an offer from any school.” That is simply incorrect and I am not sure where people are getting that information. McClintock has been offered by a host of smaller and mid-major schools, but has just chosen to accept none of those offers. He wants to play for a big-time school and has decided that if a major school does not offer, he will go to prep school and wait for a major offer next year. That is Hunter’s decision, but should not be read to suggest he hasnt had smaller school offers.

(4): We often give our man Jared Carter a hard time….well today we will give him some props. Carter is averaging 14 points a game for his current Africa trip and is leading his Athletes in Action team in scoring. Thanks to the building of a new O Charleys in Mali, Jared got the energy he needed and used his Artichoke Dip high to lead his team to a couple of victories. Lots of us have been waiting for Jared to turn the corner for the Cats…..maybe this will be the impetus for that happening….but either way, it is good to see Jared having some success.

More tomorrow as we begin the month of June….and get ready for more Lakers vs Celtics hype than I can physically tolerate….

Article written by Matt Jones