Good morning, beautiful KSR readers, and welcome to your Wednesday News and Views for June 23, 2010. As Matt alluded to in yesterday’s post, it’s not just another Wednesday around the Beisner household as the man formerly known as your favorite blogger (still holding a grudge, Drew) celebrates his 27th birthday. But, since so many of you offered your kind words yesterday (thank you for that) and because I’m not one to repeat other people’s posts, we won’t just talk all about me. Let’s instead focus on a small town in western Ohio thats history is rooted deep in the 23rd of June. For 364 days out of the year, Greenville is a small town with a heavy Amish population known for Annie Oakley, Maid Rite burgers and, apparently, giant rats. On June 23rd, though, Greenville residents stand proud in celebration of the birth of their two finest residents, both born in Anthony Wayne Hospital five years apart. On this day in 1978, Pro Bowl tackle Matt Light entered the world, probably as an enormous baby, and started to establish himself as Greenville’s favorite son by earning All-State honors as a Green Wave linebacker and then protecting Drew Brees en route to Purdue’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 34 years. Light would be picked by the Patriots in the second round later that year, where he would win three Super Bowls protecting Tom Brady’s tight behind. Of course, though Light’s lifetime of achievements and generous donations to the tiny high school that gave him a start would make him a hero in Greenville, it would eventually prove meaningless as a 9 pound 8 ounce baby would be born in that same hospital on the same day five years later and rise to become the second-favorite blogger on the best damn UK site in the land. Through boyish charm, movie star good looks and a penchant for nerd-fighting, that baby would achieve unmatched power and reverence in the small town he moved away from when he was still a toddler. Or, at the very least, he would write a meaningless night post that will probably be one of Google’s top results for “Greenville, Ohio”. Suck on that, Matt Light.
Now onto some UK notes…
– As we all continue to focus on the summer’s most exciting sporting event, the NBA Draft (apologies to the commenter known as “buk”), the most interesting note yet came from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski who shed light on the chaos that is becoming Daniel Orton’s draft status. Wojnarowski reported that due to “internal family struggles”, Orton still does not have an agent, something so insanely idiotic, it could only be outdone by a BTI bid for a Congressional seat. Naturally, it has caused Orton’s stock to plummet, according to the story, and, sadly, it becomes the latest instance of instability surrounding Orton’s UK tenure. The strangest thing part of the entire summer-long story, to me at least, was the transformation of of Orton as the “character guy” in UK’s star-studded recruiting class into a player that is flat-out hated by many UK fans. From dropping classes and lying about it publicly to his father’s declarations that he was better than DeMarcus Cousins to still not having any sort of formal representation, Daniel Orton has seemingly pulled the anti-Boogie and hurt his own stock. Every team in the league saw him as a project, but those that spoke highly of him noted how they were impressed with how he handled himself in interviews and were optimistic that he had the maturity to handle the pro game and develop. By still not having an agent, blowing off his remaining workouts and, in perhaps the most incredible part of the story, showing up out of shape to his workouts, Orton might have just ruined the only thing he had going for him.
– On a more positive note, Patrick Patterson has been invited to attend the draft by the league, assumingly adding credence to the online reports that have his stock rising. Coach Cal believes Mr. Patterson will fall in the 8-10 range, which would be a drastic improvement over where he was projected at any point during or after the season. And, since no one answered this when I asked it last week, I’ll ask it again. Is it possible that Patterson did what we all thought was unlikely and improved his stock by returning to a lesser role on a better team or is he just the type of player who can make the most of an individual workout and interview to win over a team? Either way, he’s appears to be heading for a handshake with David Stern earlier in the night than anyone expected either this year or last and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving player.
– It’s another summer day, which means it’s another 24 hours of DeMarcus Cousins debates. Tuesday brought us Jeff Goodman and The Man, The Myth, The Maggard getting after it on Twitter after Goodman said he had heard the exact opposite of the widespread reports that Boogie had again gotten the best of Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors. There were some expectations early in the week that Cousins had worked himself into the third spot as a New Jersey Net, but reports on Tuesday afternoon indicated that Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson would be the guy picked after John Wall and Evan Turner, meaning that Favors and Cousins will square off for the next two spots. At this point, it appears that both will still go in the top-5 and then forever linked in draft reviews over the next decade. I still think Cousins is the only player in the draft who could turn into a better pro than Wall (no homer) and, if I had my job on the line, I wouldn’t feel comfortable passing on him – especially for a player whose game has the LSU stink of all-athleticism and no polish game of Favors. I see him as too much of a Tyrus Thomas or Stromile Swift (hopefully much better) player.
– Meanwhile, the Kentucky player who has managed to remain the most under the radar over the pre-Draft period, Eric Bledsoe, appears headed for Toronto at #18. Nearly every NBA expert agrees that the Raptors will look for a point guard with their pick and the decision will come down to Bledsoe and Texas’ Avery Bradley. At this point, everyone seems to agree that Bledsoe will get the nod for their selection, meaning Daniel Orton is the only wildcard in UK’s hopes for a record five first-round selections.
– It’s the summer, so that means it’s time for the real journalists to start looking for stories to report. That also means that it’s again time for America’s favorite game, “Who is Worldwide Wes?”. ESPN looked into it a bit on Tuesday, with Rick Pitino issuing the humorus “I’m losing a lot of players to Kentucky” line, but no real answers were dished out in the segment. On their site, though, Henry Abbott, who is highly underrated, chronicles his years of investigating and getting close to William Wesley. It’s definitely worth reading and, likely, the closest thing to a legitimate answer anyone in the media is able to produce.
– The UK players will enjoy their final nights as non-NBA players by partying with Drake in New York City. It’s another one of those things that people can point to as a cool thing for recruits, but, for some reason, I can’t help but remember that, at one time, everyone thought it was cool for Deion Sanders to make the “2 Legit 2 Quit” hand motion on the sidelines and roll around with MC Hammer. In related news, Samardo Samuels will watch the draft in a one-bedroom apartment with the smooth Jamaican rapping of Shaggy cd blasting in his Walkman. “They drafted another power forward/It wasn’t me/Heading for life as another poor bird/It wasn’t me”.
– As an admitted draft junkie, I’ve DVRed several NBA Draft replays on NBATV this week and spent my last night as a 26 year-old watching the 1996 NBA Draft, which had a heavy UK presence. Three Cats went in the first round (their biggest night prior to tomorrow) and Rick Pitino was an on-set analyst. The funniest part, though, was the appearance by new New Jersey Nets coach John Calipari who forced some friendliness with Pitino and then defended drafting Kerry Kittles instead of Kobe Bryant. If that’s not a bounce back moment, I don’t know what is. Just think about how that one decision might have changed where we are today.
– ESPN’s 30 for 30 series might be the best thing going on television right now (only because Justified is over, of course) and tonight’s “The Two Escobars” was awesome. If you didn’t see it, check it out. Even if it’s only to remember how much better the World Cup was in 1994 when you could see Carlos Valderrama’s poof hair and the rest of Colombia’s mullets take on the all-star hair team of Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones and Tony Meola.
– Don’t forget to join us tomorrow night for our NBA Draft Live Blog, which will bring out just about everyone on the site, including “rising media star” Bomani Jones, who will hopefully improve on last year’s performance that saw him participate for only a few minutes until Turkey Hunter offended him. It will be the live blog event of the year!
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughot the day as we get you all geared up for the NBA Draft and all the excitement that comes with it. In the meantime, make sure you book your travel to Greenville, Ohio in time for this year’s Annie Oakley Days. You don’t want to miss out on those antiques booths! See you in a few…