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Ron Mercer and my favorite VHS’ Saturday News and Views

Former Kentucky Wildcat Ron Mercer celebrates his 36th birthday today. Mercer was a key member of the 1996 national championship winning/denim jersey wearing Kentucky men’s basketball team. For most children growing up in the 1990s like myself, Mercer’s most important and prominent role was as a forward for the Blue and White. For me though, his most important role was in the VHS movie “Back on Tops Cats” that I watched every single day when I came home from school for at least 2-3 years of my childhood. Following the 1996 national championship run, the sequel to the “Top Cats” VHS was released. And just like my Mom always went and bought national championship t-shirts at the gas station promptly the day after each title Kentucky has won in my lifetime, she faithfully purchased the VHS for me.

“Back on Top Cats” chronicled the entire NCAA tournament run, which included a final 4 win over a then-John Calipari coached UMASS team. I don’t remember many specifics from that UMASS team other than Marcus Camby, but I do remember a few pesky guards: The Padilla brothers, and a guy by the name of “Travieso.”

Mercer not only celebrated a decorated career at Kentucky, including All-American honors and SEC Player of the Year honors, but he also had a career in the NBA which lasted until 2005. Mercer was originally drafted by Rick Pitino in 1997 with the 6th overall pick. Happy birthday, Ron Mercer. Thank you for helping me avoid watching Sally Jesse Raphael with my sister after school.


And now on to the news and views from a slow day in the Kentucky sporting world…

—- If you came here tonight hoping to find breaking news or big news from the day… quite simply, you might find yourself disappointed. Following the Andrew Wiggins announcement and John Calipari’s press conference and KSR radio appearance, “school” has essentially been let out for the summer. The time between now and the NBA Draft will likely be rather slow… but we will do our best to help you through the emptiness.

—- We learned today that Archie Goodwin and Nerlens Noel might not be the only two Wildcats from this year’s team to play in the NBA. Julius Mays, who admitted at the end of the season that he would like to continue pursuing the option to play basketball, has been working out with NBA teams. The Milwaukee Bucks, LA Lakers and the Toronto Raptors are all giving Uncle Julius a look before the draft. Mays doesn’t necessarily expect to hear his name called on draft night, but he feels confident that he can find a spot for himself as a shooter and role player off the bench as a free agent. Best of luck to Julius Mays.

—- Meanwhile, Archie Goodwin is currently participating in the NBA Draft combine in Chicago. In news that likely hasn’t surprised many Kentucky fans, Goodwin has struggled a bit in his workouts. Goodwin is primarily considered to be a shooting guard, yet he does not have the outside shooting stroke that the NBA often croons over from that position. Goodwin played some at the point for Kentucky, but that doesn’t appear to be his natural position (or at least not yet). If Goodwin sparks a team’s interest in the first round, it will likely be based on raw potential, not his current skill set.

—- John Calipari has made the rounds in the past few days to talk mainly about next year’s team, his Vespa and his two-man book club with Willie Cauley-Stein. One point Cal brought up was that Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein were both realistic about their status and readiness for the NBA, prompting them to both come back for another season. Only time will tell on whether or not Goodwin would have been better off making the same decision. His lack of a clear cut shooting guard or point guard skill-set certainly begs the question.

—- In a small football nugget, Athlon Magazine’s pre-season college football rankings were just released. Kentucky checks in at #65 with the daunting task of facing perhaps the toughest schedule in the country. Western Kentucky, a team Mark Stoops believes would beat the Cats if they played today, checked in at #91. Kentucky will have the chance to score a huge upset early in the season when they play 10th ranked Louisville.

—- More help looks to be on the way though in the next few years for the Kentucky football team. On the heels of Drew Barker’s commitment last week, Kentucky looks to be in great shape with at least 3 players who plan to announce their college decisions soon. Darius West, Braxton “Honey Nut” Berrios and Derek Kief all have Kentucky squarely in the picture for their recruitment. West and Berrios both intend to likely announce by the end of the month, and Kentucky is in a strong position with both players. #StoopsAndBarkerEffect

A quick glance at the 3 players to keep an eye on:

1) Derek Chief

6’5, 200 lbs.

4-star WR

Cincinnati, Ohio

Choosing between: Kentucky, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Northwestern

2) Braxton Berrios

5’9, 180 lbs.

4-star WR

Raleigh, North Carolina

Offers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, etc.

3) Darius West

5’11, 196 lbs.

4-star Safety

Lima, Ohio

Will choose between Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State and Wisconsin on May 30th


—- A huge congratulations to the Kentucky women’s softball team for their opening round win in the NCAA Regionals tonight. The Cats faced off against Marshall in a game that took extra innings to decide. Kentucky finally pulled out the victory in the bottom of the 8th with a walk-off single by Nikki Sagermann to close the deal. The Cats won 2-1 and will now face Virginia Tech in the winners bracket at 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. Kentucky is hosting the event, so make an afternoon of it at the brand new facility if the weather holds up. Go Cats.

—- If you are still following Grant Traylor (the media member from the Wiggins announcement), tonight was probably a fairly productive evening for him on your Twitter Timeline. Traylor is the beat writer for the Marshall women’s softball team. I unfollowed him at 8 p.m., a few hours before the game was over. It must have been love, but it’s over now. 

—- On the other side of the scoreboard, the Kentucky men’s baseball team dropped a crucial game to Missouri 4-3 tonight. The Cats were in desperate need of a sweep over a beatable Missouri team in order to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. Kentucky’s lone chance to keep the dream alive now appears to be an SEC tournament championship. Anything less and the Cats will likely be on the outside looking in.

UK player Jake Taylor probably put it best when he said, “Well I guess there’s only one thing left to do. Win the whole ******* thing.”

—- This season has been rather disappointing for the baseball team. On April 2nd, the Cats’ record stood at 22-6. In just over a month’s time, Kentucky has gone 7-18 (s/o to David Mulloy for the stat and for his superb UK windbreaker).


And last but not least… stay tuned for stories from Matt, Drew, Ryan and some of the other KSR crew members as they travel to Waddy tomorrow night to camp with the werewolf. Good luck and fill up on gas while you’re there. Best deal in town.

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

39 Comments for Ron Mercer and my favorite VHS’ Saturday News and Views

  1. yesterday's wine
    11:00 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks for sharing the memories Ally. I smiled when I read the part about the t-shirts. So typically BBN, what a great tradition.

  2. Dave
    11:11 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    We should have brought back the denim uniforms for at least one game for Josh Harrellson!!

  3. berk
    11:13 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone love MAJOR LEAGUE. What a great Quote. Only wish the coach gets the full size cut out!!!!!!!!

  4. Small Child
    11:23 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Gosh my ears rang whence I read that quote with the expletives!

    11:24 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    It’s Derek Kief not Chief.

  6. can we come
    11:24 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Where is the camp-out? Is it a secret or can we hang out too?

  7. mashburnfan1
    11:29 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Two comments.
    1. Hate to say it but the baseball team does sadly not deserve a bid to NCAA.
    2. Almost all players drafted in NBA are based on potential. Skill has given way to athletic ability long ago and people that love basketball continue to suffer.

  8. mashburnfan1
    11:31 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Dang should have said 3 comments.
    3. Huge props to softball team. Now beat Vir Tech and should be in good shape to make Super Regional with a real shot at the World Series. AWESOME.

  9. hold up
    11:35 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    If mays can make an nba roster that should be a great indicator of how watered down the nba really is. How on gods green earth does he have a shot and somebody like my boy Ramel”smooth” Bradley can’t even get a taste of the league. He was twice the player mays was. More athletic, better defender, better handle and a WAY better shooter….amiright?

  10. tdogg40330
    11:38 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    #9 I believe it’s wishful thinkin that Julius will make the league, I hope
    I’m wrong though. I wish him the best, but I don’t see it ….

  11. busterqbundy
    11:39 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    Why a picture of Walter McCarty when you are talkin’ ’bout Ron Mercer?

  12. hold up
    11:50 pm May 17, 2013 Permalink

    10) Don’t get me wrong, I will be thrilled for him also. I’m like you though I just don’t see it.Another player I never understood why they never got a shot was marquis estill. I loved that guy. He was really good with his back to the basket, and he had great hands. Something tells me if cal was his coach things would of been different.

  13. Chitown_manny
    12:01 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    “Choosing between Kentucky, Alabama, Norte Dame, Ohio State”. Did I just read that? Plus he is a UK lean. WOW!

  14. ghost of bill hicks
    12:18 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    You should also remember that along with Miss.
    State…Umass was one of 2 teams that kept the
    best UK team ever from a perfect season. They were a lot like last
    years team!

  15. Spell check
    12:45 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    If we are going to talk about crucial football recruits, lets get their last names right. Derek Kief not Chief….

  16. SeaCat
    1:23 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry Ally, you tried…

  17. Jpo
    2:14 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Chief is his nickname.

  18. Jpo
    2:15 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    That’s for you 15. And 5.

    6:02 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    My Mom also ran out and bought t-shirts – I treasure that memory. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  20. neighbor
    8:10 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve got a great picture of Ron coming out of Rick Avare’s old business in Versailles. Heck I got pictures of several players on the 96 team there. If I could get Pitino in trouble without taking UK down the NCAA would have them.

  21. Rixter
    8:23 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve watched UK basketball for about 45 years, and Ron Mercer is the best pure shooter I’ve seen come thru here. He just seldom missed a jump shot……

  22. Humberto
    8:32 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Ron was great and so was Chuck Aleksinas

  23. classof68
    8:59 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    I know no one will probably see this, but the end of this post was weird for me. I ran out of gas at the exact spot in the picture with bigfoot in it. I was driving home from the Miss. St. football game in 1977. It was on my first date with my ex in my new Burt Reynolds Trans Am. Also strange that Ally said “fill up with gas while you’re there”. Maybe Waddy-Peytona is the Sedona of the east.

  24. WhiteTrashCatsFan
    9:07 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Happy Birthday Ron I remember skipping my own sons birth to watch you and the C-A-T-S! cut down the nets and become the kings of college basketball in 96!

  25. Reality
    9:08 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Mercer is a pitino guy and has been spotted wearing tard gear. Rondo also wears uofl gear around town. Yet, people on here don’t have a clue.

  26. Cal'sBeerGut
    9:11 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Since Cal likes to go to the draft and pretend he helped get kids drafted in the first round, (who would have been lotto picks if they went to Robert Morris), will he be sitting there with Goodwin when he is taken 56th in the draft?

  27. The Real "Reality"
    9:28 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    #25…TROLL alert!!!! Get real!!! In Louisville, Rondo doesn’t AND would never sport Tard gear, period! Mercer has visited Pitino but doesn’t sport their crap either. Nice try and go back to Card Chronicle!

  28. Sad truth
    9:30 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    26) Good point. Since your mother likes to pretend that she raised an intelligent child (instead of a line beard wearing obnoxious dipshit troll that would’ve gotten a job out of high school and moved out of her basement had she not raised him to be a Louisville fan) did she still sit at the same dinner table as you on mother’s day?

  29. theSkinny81
    9:38 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Archie won’t even be there. Nice try, dick.

  30. Do Something Positive
    9:41 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    #26-Why don’t you spend the rest of your day trying to do something positive? You got off to a bad start.

  31. H.A. Milton
    10:11 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Someone needs to start doing all of the UK throwback jerseys… what I would give for a denim 00 jersey!

  32. Sharon
    10:31 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Isn’t that Walter mc carty?

  33. kadizkat
    11:03 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Please direct all the tard fans on here to a directory of all the wonderful things going on in their fair city, maybe they can spend their time doing something fun instead of getting on here and showing their a$$

  34. kadizkat
    11:06 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Better yet, maybe one of these trolls could give us a valid reason why they would come here and spend time making asinine comments.

  35. bosshog
    11:26 am May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Back on top Cats is a great video. I have it and watch it every now and then when the tournament rolls around. The scene on the Avenue of Champions was truly great on that weekend back in 1996. The best part was after we beat UMASS and we were all piling in and out of pickups as they passed through the mob at Woodland and Euclid. I remember that with one of the trucks that I was in the guy had to stop every 15 minutes to pump up one of the tires-great times, great memories! Who gives a sh$* what Mercer and Rondo wear around town. The Kentucky tradition and the Kentucky people are what make us the greatest, not the players or the coaches. We’ve had 5 different coaches win titles here and we will have more. No other program has even come close to that and never will.

  36. bottom line
    1:12 pm May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Uofl is your national champs and uk sucks. Also, cal is obese.

  37. Mike
    1:31 pm May 18, 2013 Permalink

    From the beginning, I thought the team was a bat short, but thought they could develop someone along the way. Meanwhile, every player on the team has regressed offensively except for Reed and Kuhn, and the latter didn’t play much as a freshman last season. Riddle and Reida played well in a wood bat league on the Cape last summer against elite talent. Cousino starred for Team USA, and now look at them. Barrett is a frosh, so no one messed with his swing from last year to this season.

    When Green was at UCLA, the team had good players, but the team’s offense underperformed. I draw the parallels and blame Green, especially when the team looks clueless at the plate. That’s not a slump or players pressing, that’s an approach and strategy. Hence, Green should be sent packing. Lastly, this team has the second most drafted players in ALL of college, behind top 3 team Vanderbilt. So, all the scouts must’ve been wrong too? Kill Green!!!!!

  38. Louisville1Cal4
    2:17 pm May 18, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky 8 > Louisville 3
    Just a daily reminder 🙂

  39. Derek Kief
    12:42 pm May 19, 2013 Permalink

    It’s Derek Kief, not CHief, you cow