Today I learned of the death of another wrestling hero of mine from the 1980s, Dr. Death Steve Williams. Williams was a former Oklahoma football star who entered professional wrestling after his playing days were over (a path later taken by Florida State’s Ron Simmons and Miami’s “The Rock”). He immediately found a home and was one of the more successful wrestlers in the UWF and NWA, specializing in tag teams. However Williams’ major fame came when he went to Japan in the 1990s and became arguably the most popular American wrestler to ever perform in the country obsessed with wrestling. His death is yet another example of an individual involved in professional wrestling who has died young. In Williams’s case it was due to throat cancer, but regardless of the cause, the number of deaths for professional wrestlers is staggering. The Turkey Hunter and I watched the 1992 Royal Rumble recently and of the 36 wrestlers and managers in the match, 9 had passed away in the last 15 years. Williams is yet another star of the squared circle to follow in their path and joins the evergrowing list of the stars from my youth who died to soon. He was 49 years old.
Lots to get to, so lets have at it:
— Two different sets of national college basketball analysts, those from Yahoo and CBS Sports, both picked John Wall as a First Team All American and PAtrick Patterson as a Second Team choice for their Mid-season All-American awards. Both players now look to be all but foregone conclusions to have similar awards sent their way at the end of the year and John Wall is set to be the first consensus First Team All American to play at Kentucky since Ron Mercer in 1997.
— Mitch Barnhart gave a couple of interviews today in which he said that he really hopes Rich Brooks stays on for another year. I was told by someone close to the situation at the Bowl game that Rich wanted to make his decision by December 31. That was when the assumption was that he would not return. While I still think that is likely, if we dont hear anything by tomorrow, then it could be a sign of Rich having second thoughts.
— If you havent seen it yet, here is a picture of the concrete at the new UL arena in which someone put the UK letters into it as a practical joke. Very nice:
— I love the guy and he is a GREAT reporter, but if you only read Larry Vaught’s columns and blogs, you would think that Eddie Montgomery was Bruce Springsteen.
— With the single-game assist record broken by John Wall, I thought it would be interesting to see the top of the list in UK history (courtesy of Jon Scott’s site):
John Wall 16 vs Hartford in 2009
Travis Ford 15 vs Eastern Kentucky in 1993
Dirk Minniefield 14 vs Villanova in 1982
Dicky Beal 14 vs BYU in 1983
John Wall 14 vs UNC Asheville 2009
— Couple of other statistical notes…John Wall and Patrick Patterson are both averaging 17 points a game and have played the exact same number of minutes (433). Patterson is shooting an astounding 62.5%, which is particularly amazing as he has shot more from the outside this year. Demarcus Cousins is averaging 15 points and 9 boards a game while averaging 19 minutes a game. That too is amazing.
— I saw Avatar tonight. Impressive visually, but as far as an overall movie, rather dull. I can admire the technical mastery to make such a movie, but it is WAY too long and has nothing in the story that goes in the ballpark of the best movies of the year.
— Just know that me being in Coach Calipari’s shower was not my idea…but I did enjoy making it.
— Watch this situation with Maryland decommit Terrence Ross. A lot of recruiting folks see UK as at the top of his list of new suitors and a potential quick mover in the coming weeks.
— I got to shoot for about 20 minutes prior to the teams warming up in Rupp Arena last night. There are times I am totally still a kid, and that was one of them. Extremely cool and even though I lost my game of HORSE to two UK trainers, it was a moment that I will remember.
— I hope you got to see the video of Cousins messing with John Wall during his postgame interview. If you cant tell yet, this team is having more fun than any group in the four years I have been doing this. They like each other and they like playing together…you cant ask for much more as a fan.
— I spoke with a scalper who has been doing it for 30 years and he tells me that the UK-UL game may be the hardest ticket in Lexington since the first game in the 80s. The cheapest ticket I have found is over 300 dollars and that is for the top row of the endzone. IF you have tickets, consider yourself lucky. They are as scarce as I have ever seen.
— Finally, the Outside the Lines story on ESPN is really a non-story to me. When Calipari came, the only condition was that the four year Seniors have an opportunity to stay, and they did. With Kevin Galloway and Matt Pilgrim, the reasons for their departure were not just on the court and we have been over that enough on here that it isnt worth going into again. As for the other guys, Donald Williams would have never played a minute here, I love AJ Stewart but he was always in trouble about something, Jared Carter isnt even close to a fit for a Cal system and Michael Porter was likely quitting no matter who was the coach. I will be interested to see how the ESPN show is handled…the only players that were quoted publically about the Calipari situation have other issues that played a role in the decision…my guess is ESPN either doesnt know or didnt care to know about those non-agenda fitting facts.
We will have a full day here on New Years Eve. The Dirty Cards are coming and bringing with them all the forwarded emails with Karen Sypher jokes, you can imagine. It is going to be epic on Saturday.