Good morning, my sweet KSR family, and welcome to Wednesday’s News and Views. On this fine hump day, we salute the latest in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, which has brought us a mix of great films (Len Bias and Ricky Williams) and disappointing efforts (Allen Iverson). On Tuesday, though, Ice Cube brought the world Straight Outta L.A., a film taking a look at how the Raiders became the most hard-core team in the league in the late ’80s and early ’90s and how rap music, specifically N.W.A., used their logo to perpetuate the image of toughness. This might surprise some of you, but I fancy myself as a bit of an amateur hip-hop historian, with the college courses and 25-page paper on the similarities in white southern culture and southern rap culture to prove it. I’m sure that impresses you. Overall, the film was decent, I suppose, and I won’t bore you with too much of my scholarly opinion on it since this isn’t RapAndRaidersSportsRadio.com. However, I couldn’t help but notice something as Ice Cube cycled through pictures and interviews of some of the baddest dudes in late ’80s and early ’90s rap. Did they collectively decide to get soft just as quickly as they decided to tote guns and their Raiders caps? There was, of course, Ice Cube, who is now filling up the bottom right of your TBS screen, trying to sell you on his new show, the family sitcom “Are We There Yet?” and Dr. Dre who can most recently be found slowing it down at my parents’ cocktail party in a Dr. Pepper commercial. Then, we saw reality show star and family man Snoop Dogg, Blank Check and Surf Ninjas star Tone Loc, Hammer (no explanation needed) and Ice T, who has gone from a “Cop Killer” to a detective on Law and Order. The film ended without any definitive answer as to why the Raiders aren’t the feared franchise they once were, but I think I might see a trend. And, in case you’re wondering, “Are We There Yet?” premieres June 2 with back-to-back episodes on TBS! Very Funny.
Now, onto some UK news…
– As Kentucky fans (and likely the coaching staff) continues to yearn for another big body to throw around next year was the news that former Florida center Eloy Vargas will visit Kentucky. Vargas entered Florida as the nation’s #26 overall player in 2008 and, like Drew Franklin, saw far less action than he expected. He played in only nine games, averaging less than a point per game, and eventually transferred to Miami-Dade Junior College, a program that sent about 32 guys to Division 1 last year, including Darnell Dodson. At Miami-Dade, Vargas got back on track, putting up 25 and 15 a game, and is also now considering Arizona and Seattle. Should he end up as a Cat, he immediately becomes the second-best post option (sorry, Jorts) and would provide a little relief on a search for a big that has nearly reached desperation at this point. At the very least, Vargas fits a major need at UK because he is big and has a pulse. It also means he meets two of Matt Jones’ dating requirements.
– The night did not slip away quietly into Wednesday, though, as ESPN’s most immovable hair, Ric Bucher, tweeted out that two NBA teams are currently fighting over Calipari. The Buchster added the witty commentary that this news belongs in Sports Illustrated’s “Sign of the Apocalypse” and asked when Coach Cal became anything but a recruiter. What Bucher didn’t note is that if there was ever a year where an NBA coach might actually need to be a recruiter, it’s this off-season where pretty much every major star – including Cal’s buddy LeBron James – will be looking for a possible change of destination. Does this make Cal any more likely to leave UK after one season? Doubtful. That hair is just deserving of a rebuttal.
– Apparently either not caring about the NBA rumors or not looking to squash them, Calipari watched the Cavs-Celtics crapfest from behind the Cavs bench, likely making Cleveland coach Mike Brown very relaxed. The best part of the night, however, was this picture emailed by a KSR reader of Cal sitting in front of the only guy more Cutler than Alan Cutler and Chuck from all of the Ernest movies.
– On that same note, is there any coaching job that is more worthless than an NBA coach? Mike Brown hasn’t coached the Cavs a single game in his career (Tuesday night is the most obvious example) and still has a Coach of the Year award. Plus, can you think of any other sport where a guy can be overwhelmingly named as the worst coach in the game in a poll of GMs, executives and players and then win a title a couple of years later? That’s Doc Rivers. And he looked like a genius again against the LeBron-coached Cavs Tuesday night.
– I’m not sure if this is actually a new story, but it’s listed as being posted on May 11, 2010 on the MyFoxMemphis site, so we’ll roll with it. According to the site, the Calipari Family Foundation made a five-year, $1 million donation to Streets Ministries in Memphis. If this is, in fact, a new story, good for Cal to continue to contribute to a city that did so much for his family, much like Tubby Smith did with Lexington after heading to Minnesota. If it’s not a recent story, then kudos for him for doing this whenever he did.
– A story that flew under the radar a bit on Tuesday was the report that Tony Delk interviewed at Western Kentucky for an assistant coaching job. This time last year, Delk was just joining Cal’s staff as a “special assistant” with Scott Padgett and was heralded as one of Coach Cal’s first attempts at reaching out to UK’s past. If Delk were to get the job at WKU, it would be another great step for him as he looks to form a coaching career.
– In the “didn’t I already read this?” department, former IU commitment and Scott County star Bud Mackey was arrested again on Tuesday and charged with first-degree robbery and fouth-degree assault. The most interesting part of the story, however, is what happened when young Jonathon was arrested. According to the reports, he tried to make a break for it and ran out the front door of the police station before being tracked down a block over. For his troubles, the police added charges of escape, criminal mischief and third-degree assault of a police officer. It’s another sad story for a fallen high school star, but a real gimme for Justified creator Graham Yost, who also wrote for Hey Dude! on Nickoledeon.
– And, speaking of Justified, Tuesday’s episode was monumental for two reasons. First, it was the first solid episode since the series premiere, which is promising since they just re-signed for more. Second, it was the first time I felt like I knew what the series name meant because I can think of nothing more justified than the ass-kicking Raylan Givens got for wearing that Gators t-shirt into a bar in Harlan. Also, bonus points were earned for the T-Bone Griffin character, a hulk of a man sporting a Super Bowl ring and the title of UK’s all-time leading tackler. It was a shame to see him get beaten down with a tea kettle.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we talk all things UK and we get to know Eloy Vargas a little better. It’s going to be quite possibly the greatest day in the history of the internet. Make sure you stick around. See you in a few…