There are great characters in television, and then there’s Roger Sterling. Sterling, portrayed by John Slattery, is the quick-witted account exec on AMC’s “Mad Men,” and brings some crucial levity to an otherwise somber show. If you’ve seen “Mad Men,” you know how great Roger is–he’s a silver fox with a tongue to match, with a wit as fast and dry as his drinks. If I were a guy, Roger–and in turn, John Slattery–is who I would like to be like when I grew up, minus the alcoholism and terrible parenting, of course. He has an effortless charm about him that transcends acting, which makes it no surprise that Slattery is one cool dude himself. It’s both surprising and not that Slattery is turning 51 on Tuesday; he’s a child at heart, but seems to have had white hair his entire acting career, all the way back to his turn as the kinky politician on “Sex and the City” at age 38.
Although his on-screen persona may prefer the clear stuff to the brown stuff on “Mad Men,” Slattery is a big bourbon fan. In a recent profile in GQ, author Devin Friedman describes meeting Slattery at a Manhattan bar:
“I was going to get Old Rip Van Winkle,” [Slattery] tells the waitress. That’s a kind of bourbon. “But I’m told you’re out of it. Anything resemble that?” Something called Eagle Rare might be up his alley. It arrives, served with a beautiful hunk of ice that might be sold at an airport gift shop as a paperweight. He admires this ice cube. It’s a great ice cube. That’s also what he’s like. A guy who knows about bourbons and good ice cubes.
For your birthday, I hope you have lots and lots of Pappy, John. The 20 year. Cheers.
On Monday, we had something for fans of every sport, it seemed. Cue the old ABC Wide World of Sports music for me and let’s get down to the news and views.
— The biggest story of the day by far was word that both Nate Willis and Melvin Lewis will be able to play for Kentucky this season. Both JUCOs shared the good news via Twitter, and are expected at UK later this week. Lewis, a 6’4″ 320 lbs. defensive tackle, received his degree from Fullerton Community College this past weekend and is still in class until Wednesday night, but is “100% sure” he’ll pass. UK’s got decent depth on the defensive line, so many think he will redshirt this season.
Willis, however, can’t get here soon enough. The speedy cornerback got approval from his dean Monday morning, and said that he will be in Kentucky as soon as possible to start practice. As we all know, UK’s secondary is scary thin, and Willis will be expected to contribute right away, despite his late arrival. Ben Roberts spoke to Tom Minnick, Willis’ junior college coach, who said that while it may take Willis a bit to adjust to his new team, he “can pick stuff up pretty quick.” Minnick said that Willis has “great feet and football instincts,” but he needs to add some bulk. Something tells me Erik Korem’s already got a plan in mind.
You think you’re happy the Lewis and Willis are on their way? Lewis tweeted this Monday afternoon: “After everything me and @MoneyTeamSlick (Willis) went through to get here, we won’t take this opportunity for granted. We been to hell and back #BBN.” Lewis says he and Willis will room together at UK, along with fellow JUCO Javess Blue, and that they will work to keep each other motivated on the field and in the classroom.
— Two-a-days started on Monday, and Stoops says the team responded well, with a “good physical practice.” While he noted a few inconsistencies, he said he was pleased with the overall effort and execution. To make sure the Cats are keeping up with the Air Raid’s fast pace, the staff brought in uniformed officials to try to limit the number of pre-snap penalties. They also did a lot of this:
— Quarterback update: None, although both Stoops and Brown said that they are getting closer to naming a starter, but aren’t rushing the decision. Stoops: “Yeah, I think we’re getting some feel. We’re getting a feel for it, where we need to go, but we’ll let it play out a little bit longer and see where we’re at.”
— Freshman of the Day: Alexander Montgomery. The freshman wide receiver drew praise from both Stoops and Brown for his strength, consistency, and work ethic. Brown went as far to say that Montgomery has probably “made as many plays as anybody we’ve had in camp.”
— Boone’s Butcher Shop Injury Update: Za’Darius Smith is still in a walking boot and sat out with a minor ankle injury. Don’t panic, he’s expected to return to practice soon. Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph were both back at 100% after some knicks and bruises on Saturday. Transfer Braylon Heard (who will have to sit out this season) also has a cut near his eye.
— Three months from right now, you’ll be reading a recap of the Kentucky/Michigan State game. On Monday, we learned that the Cats and the Spartans will play the earlier game of the Champions Classic on November 12, tipping off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Jabari Parker vs. Andrew Wiggins Duke vs. Kansas will be the nightcap. According to the Champions Classic website, tickets go on sale in October.
— If that’s not enough to get you ready for basketball, then this will be. Chad Ford released his first Big Board for the 2014 Draft on Monday, and SEVEN Kentucky players made it into his Top 30, which is unprecedented:
2. Julius Randle
7. Andrew Harrison
14. Willie Cauley-Stein
20. James Young
21. Alex Poythress
25. Dakari Johnson
26. Aaron Harrison
Ford says that in any other year, Randle would be “the consensus number one pick,” and should provide a “serious challenge” to Andrew Wiggins for the first spot. Ford also expects Andrew Harrison to be Marcus Smart’s top competition for best point guard in the draft, and Willie Cauley-Stein’s stock to rise considerably if he has a breakout season. James Young? “On sheer talent, he’s as good as anyone on the list,” writes Ford, comparing his motor to MKG. Ford says that he was unsure where to put Alex Poythress on the list, but settled at #21, going as far to say that if things “start to click with him mentally,” he’ll be a lottery pick. The only reason Ford put Dakari Johnson “so low” was the fact that he might not start, something that we’re hearing may change if he challenge Willie Cauley-Stein in practice. Ford says that like his brother, Aaron Harrison is strong and athletic, and able to score from anywhere. What about Marcus Lee? Ford has him listed as the 72nd best prospect, which just goes to show you how stacked this draft is compared to years past.
— 2014 shooting guard Devin Booker cut his list to five on Monday: Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, and Missouri, in no particular order. Rivals’ 27th best player in the 2014 class has an offer from Kentucky and will visit for Big Blue Madness, along with Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay. Let’s show them a good time.
On this date nine hours ago, Jerry Tipton got a hole-in-one at the Cardinal Press Box Classic in Louisville. The Herald-Leader basketball beat writer reportedly did the Happy Gilmore bull dance in front of the UofL representatives in his group. KSR is looking into allegations that Tom Jurich paid for Tipton’s victory Chardonnays at the clubhouse afterwards.
Matt and Drew are in beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio this week to cover The Western and Southern Open for the Tennis Channel. Be a team player and go check out their work so far at TheOuterCourts.com. If you thought Drew’s photoshop of Jerry Tipton on Monday was good, wait until you see his series on Roger Federer.
Don’t worry, they’ll still be up bright and early to talk C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS from 10 a.m. to noon. Until then, let’s laugh at Tennessee fans: