Today’s birthday honoree is a man that is best known for being the name of an airport, rather than one of the more fascinating public figures of the 20th Century. Fiorello LaGuardia (when your name is Matt Jones, you appreciate a person whose name has some flash) was mayor of New York from 1934-1945 and was a key figure in the initial transformation of the city into the figurative “Capital of the World.” LaGuardia was a Republican, but also a New Dealer, a close ally to FDR and a firm believer in the principle of a “melting pot” in America. He expressed his goal while in office to transform the city and take down the barriers that Italians, Jews and other European minorities faced. He famously went after the mafia, instituting the prosecution of Lucky Luciano, and taking out a number of mob bosses. He was best known for his large weight and gregarious personality and was often called “The Little Flower” (his name in Italian) as a good-natured jab at his persona. LaGuardia ushered in the era of the populist mayor and his policies opened up New York to success stories beyond the powerful families. LaGuardia was fat, funny and a hero to the common man, all qualities we lack in our current politicians…..if Ric Flair can still wrestle, maybe LaGuardia can still run for office.
To the news…..
(1) BILLY CLYDE Tonight was another addition of the Coach’s call-in show and a number of issues were addressed. First, Gillispie let it be known that while he could get frustrated with this bunch, it is still his team, making clear that he does not agree with talk that “things will be better when different players are here.” He took up for his players, calling them “my guys”, a statement that was great to see. He said that practice went well today and that it was one of the most intense they have had in recent weeks. He believes that the players are coming along but that he cant use the bench as a motivator as he has in past years, largely because there isnt the depth necessary to make that happen. All in all, Billy Clyde seemed in good spirits and you can hear the entire show at this link.
(2) JASPER: The best news of the night was the information that Derrick Jasper is near a comeback with the Cats. He is currently practicing with the team and is showing tremendous strides, likely making himself available on the court over the next couple of weeks. Anyone who has seen the team struggle this year knows what huge news this is and recognizes what a huge difference he can make to the season. This is great news for Derrick as well as many had wondered if he would be back until near the end of the season, but his quick recovery is a testament to the young man’s tremendous work ethic.
(3) WESLEY WITHERSPOON: You want a name to try and follow….well stay tuned to the rise of Wesley Witherspoon. After hearing his name from some folks close to the team in the past week, I spoke with him tonight about his recruitment. He said that he is very interested in the Cats and that they are recruiting him hard. He had actually just spoken to Coach Webster (who is handling his recruitment) and said he was “amazed” at Rupp Arena when he was in town a week ago. He will be on the show on Thursday and will talk about the Cats. The 6’7″ small forward has an offer from Kentucky and is also being recruited by Texas, Tennessee, Kansas and Virginia…..watch him in the next few weeks.
Short news tonight because of the 15th Anniversary of WWF Monday Night Raw. What a spectacle….you knew when Bastion Booger made an early appearance, it would be a night to remember. More as the day goes on tomorrow…..and if you havent yet checked out Bomani Jones’ “introductory” post, please do…..he raises the talent around here exponentially.