Good morning, sweet KSR readers, and welcome to the end of what turned out to be quite a wild week – especially for May. If El Capitan Jones was kicking things off this morning, we’d no doubt be paying tribute to one of his three heroes that celebrate a birthday on May 21. But, since he’s out trying to coerce drunk girls into posing for Fan of the Day photos, we won’t pay tribute to Bobby Cox, Al Franken or the great Jamaal Magloire. Instead, we’ll take this time to recognize the fine work of Laurence Turead and his 58 years on this planet, spent kicking ass, taking names and giving hope. The man known to us simply as “Mr. T” found a way to transition a career of being so ruthless he could bodyguard for boxing legends like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, to winning the hearts of America with rap songs written by Ice T like “Treat your Mother Right”. He also was a tag team partner with Hulk Hogan at the first Wrestlemania and, most importantly, portrayed one of the greatest characters in American television (and the person my intoxicated grandmother claimed I was named after), B.A. Baracus, in “The A Team”. These days, Mr. T has cemeted his status as, arguably, the greatest cult hero in the history of this fine land by overcoming lymphoma, promoting Snickers by yelling “Get some nuts!” and by becoming a character on something called “World of Warcraft”. Despite all of these successes, Mr. T will most likely be remembered by UK fans for a simple phrase on his business card that inspired the way a certain other UK internet personality chooses to share his information: “Next to God, there is no greater protector than I”. And, for that, we salute you and your 58 years, Mr. Tureaud.
Now, onto some UK news on what was a very busy day….
– Thursday turned out to be a day of fallout around both Lexington, Seattle and all of Terrence Jones’ social media pages as fans in Kentucky rejoiced and fans in Washington vented, some in unhealthy ways. But, as the dust settles, what Kentucky fans can really be excited about is that Terrence Jones not only adds talent, but also gives Kentucky a complete team. I count myself among those that believe the 2009-10 version of the Kentucky Wildcats is the most talented version we might ever see and I don’t think that Calipari’s second edition will be s individually overwhelming. However, I strongly believe that by tournament time next spring, this might be a team that Coach Cal is more comfortable coaching and is going to give much more flexibility to not only run the dribble drive, but possibly even present more unique matchup problems. A lot of Kentucky’s freshman last year, despite being supremely talented, possessed a similar skill set. This year’s team has more flexibility from an individual standpoint. I think it’s going to be very fun to watch.
– For his part Lorenzo Romar didn’t really have much to say on Terrence Jones leaving outside of stating that he was “disappointed”. Romar said it was the most unique situation he’d come across as a coach, but expressed no ill will toward Jones for giving him the old Enes Kanter rope-a-dope. When asked about Romar’s comments, Coach Cal said that the Washington coach has now passed all of his UK track suits as the favorite thing he’s ever owned. And, considering how much he loves those track suits, I’d say that’s high praise.
– Following the commitment of Jones, it’s being widely assumed that Oregon assistant Kenny Payne is the next to make his way to Lexington. As of now, those are nothing more than rumors, but they’re starting to leave the message boards and find their way to the mainstream media and, with the state ordered seven day waiting period set to expire on the job posting, it seems that the likelihood is increasing. New Oregon coach Dana Altman, never one to make a decision easily, still has not publicly stated if Payne, who is still under contract for over $300k this year, will be retained on his staff. Should he be let go, he will still be due his Oregon salary. However, if he takes another job, I’m not sure if the Ducks have to pay that money. I’d assume not, but I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know any good ones to ask.
– The other speculation following the Jones commitment is the word that Coach Cal still wants to add another player to this already stellar class. The two targets are believed to be Kadeem Jack and UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie, who would have to sit out a year. Moultrie is the more skilled and more experienced player, but Jack would offer more possiblilities for jokes on a certain UK blog. Most people seem to believe that Moultrie would ultimately be the guy and it’s believed that his stay in Lexington would also be just one year before taking off for a professional contract.
– Maybe the most talked about story of the day came from the Chicago pre-draft combine after Jonathon Givony of Draft Express tweeted out that Daniel Orton called DeMarcus Cousins a “big child” and said that he had to pull him out of a fight. It turns out that Orton’s comment about being a child was a friendly one and the whole fight situation was just a passing reference about Boogie’s on-court confrontations throughout the season. Clearly not a big deal and certainly nothing deserving of a vague tweet from a guy who has appeared to have an ax to grind with Cousins all year long. It was particularly even more unfair to Orton, who apparently scored some high praise from those in attendance for being so well-spoken and for speaking so candidly about his decision to leave Kentucky to pursue the NBA. It was a positive day for both Cousins and Orton and Givony taking something so completely out of context like that left both guys looking poorly when they clearly didn’t deserve it.
– Speaking of Cousins, he spent his first day in the NBA Draft public eye doing what we all expected him to do – debunk the myths that he is a malcontent or a trouble maker. The general consensus was that the Boogie’s personality won over the media and that the executives in attendance that spoke with him (Sacramento, Minnesota and Toronto) were said to have come away feeling very good about the big man. Here are my favorite Boogie lines from Thurday’s proceedings:
1. When asked about what he’d be doing if he wasn’t playing basketball, Cousins said he’d be a journalist. So would I, Boogie, so would I.
2. When questioned about the Evan Turner/John Wall debate for the top pick and who he would draft, Cousins replied “If I was a GM? Me.”
3. Cousins was asked about the best big man he played against this year and someone mentioned Vanderbilt’s AJ Ogilvy, to which Cousins laughed and said “Please”.
4. He also said that the first person he saw when he arrived was Da’Sean Butler and it “made him sick to his stomach”.
– On Friday, the players will have their vertical jumps taken, but their measurements were registered on Friday. DeMarcus Cousins checked in a little more slim than usual (290 pounds) thanks to some boxing (who in their right mind would be that sparring partner?). The most surprising measurements belonged to Patrick Patterson, (6’8″ with a 7’3″ wingspan) and Daniel Orton, who measured in at only 6’8″ and a half. Derrick Caracter was measured at a 34C.
– Though he did particpate in the on-court action, Eric Bledsoe did not participate in media portion of Thursday’s festivities. Public speaking has never been Bledsoe’s strong point and, though a promise to “get s–t right” might have been enough to sell a team on the first round, you can’t blame him for sitting this portion out. However, he did perform very well during the basketball drills according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, who is my favorite ESPN guy not only for his insight, but also because his twitter account (@chadfordinsider) can double as the title of his unauthorized sex tape.
– Andy Katz reported during Thursday’s camp that John Wall and his “camp” were very happy about Washington getting the top pick. According to Katz, they were concerned that New Jersey might get the top pick, which they were not too excited about, and the opportunity to go to the Wizards allows him to be fairly close to Raleigh and have the opportunity to be a part of a new post-Gilbert Arenas start for the franchise. John Wall will now be the Washington Wizards and the Washington Wizards will now be John Wall.
– However, Ohio State’s Evan Turner must not have gotten the memo as he continuted to push himself to be the top pick in the draft. Turner told the media that he didn’t want to sound “cocky”, but he was the one who won all the player of the year awards, not John Wall. He went on to push his experience and the toughness he showed coming back from a broken back, forgetting to note the most important thing. He’s not John Wall. And no one is doing the Evan Turner dance.
– After leaving Chicago, John Wall will move to Tampa to prepare for the draft. John, I’ll be at the Red Lobster if you want to meet me.
– On a personal note, big ups to our very own Drew Franklin for making Randall Cobb’s Thursday a little better. Cobb tweeted out that “Literally just LOL at KSR abt Washington U bein UK’s wingman! “u can flirt all ya want…“. Good work, Drew. Bet you haven’t heard that sentence in awhile.
That’s it for now. It’s going to be another busy day as the draft combine continues and the University of Washington starts sending textbooks, salmon and whatever the hell else we want to Lexington. Make sure you stick around. See you in a few…