Every now and then throughout the course of the day, someone will tweet out a picture that leaves you in a bit of shock. Today, that picture was courtesy of DeadSpin.com. DeadSpin linked a picture of Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife, Siovaughn Funches, who is apparently having a bit of a meltdown in downtown Chicago. The dramatic gesture comes on the heels of a law suit Funches filed against Wade earlier this month over proceeds from the athlete’s endorsement deals. You might recall that Wade just recently wrapped up a nearly 4-year custody battle with his wife in 2011, which finally left him with sole custody of their two young sons. Wade and Funches, once high school sweethearts, married in 2002.
In the most recent suit, Funches claims that she cannot pay her mortgage, home or auto insurance because of funds withheld from Wade’s endorsement deals with companies such as T-Mobile and Gatorade. Ahhh, lifestyles of the famous… I’ll pass.
And now on to the news and views from the day…
The media world took a collective sigh of relief following a whirlwind of quotes and press events during the SEC’s Media Day. The zoo of a 3-day scene finally came to a close with only a few Johnny Football leftovers still on the table today for the sports world to pick through. The news was relatively slow today until…
…We learned that we have to say goodbye to Kyle Wiltjer one more time, and this time officially.
—- Earlier this summer, Kyle Wiltjer left the door wide open for the possibility of a transfer. Wiltjer let it be known publicly that a transfer was going to be his likely course of action. John Calipari and Wiltjer both made statements that left a tiny glimmer of hope for a return though. That glimmer seemed to grow with each passing day, especially following his visit to Gonzaga. Between a few statements by Wiltjer’s father about his love for UK and the fact that he might prefer his son to stay and redshirt in Lexington, and the amount of time that passed after the visit to Gonzaga… the likelihood of Wiltjer returning to Kentucky seemed to greatly increase. —- With an August 1st deadline to enroll at Gonzaga, the final decision was made today. Kyle Wiltjer will in fact be transferring to Spokane to play for Gonzaga. In case you missed it, here was the message from Kyle Wiltjer to the BBN, a fan base he clearly feels a strong connection with despite the transfer:
Dear BBN, this past month has been very emotional and challenging for me. Whether to transfer or not has been one of the toughest decisions of my life, so I would like to thank everyone for being so supportive through this process. I feel like in my basketball career I’m facing a make it or break it moment and the primary factor in this decision is transforming my body. I’m choosing to transfer to Gonzaga because i feel they have a proven plan in place to help develop players similar to me, which has seen great results. I believe with hard work I can maximize my development at Gonzaga. The last two years at UK have been a valuable experience and I’m very grateful for them. Even though I’m leaving the program, Coach Cal and I will continue our relationship and I will look to him for advice. He is more than just a coach to me. I have made many friends here and I plan to come back. My heart will always be in Lex.
Thank you BBN,
—- Wiltjer added a few telling quotes to Jim Meehan of Spokane:
“When I found out what they have to offer, I was really comfortable. Gonzaga’s style of play fits me well. They’ve done a great job with guys like Kelly Olynyk and others who have had a year off to work on their bodies.”
—- John Calipari took to Twitter in response to Wiltjer’s transfer as well, showing clear disappointment, but also support for Wiltjer in his decision:
I’m saddened that (Kyle Wiltjer) is leaving the program, but if he thinks it’s in his best interest to go somewhere else, I support his decision. Here is what I sent Kyle after he told me of his final decision: “All’s good. Mrs. Cal & I are sad and disappointed but accept your decision. Thank you for helping us win a national title and working so hard for me the last two years. Go prove me right! You can play!! I will be here for you if you need me. Love you, kid.” (Kyle Wiltjer) will always be a part of the #BBN.
3 thoughts based on the quotes and messages from Wiltjer/Calipari:
1) You don’t have to read too far between the lines to tell that Coach Cal probably thinks it would have been in Wiltjer’s best interest to stay at Kentucky. If working on his body is really what Wiltjer plans to do in his year off, Kentucky still seems like the place with the best tools and resources available for him to do so. It’s also evident that Wiltjer’s presence could certainly be helpful in the 2014-2015 season, not necessarily this upcoming season.
2) Wiltjer feels a strong connection with Big Blue Nation, his teammates and his coach
Wiltjer has always seemed really close to his teammates from the moment he arrived on campus. Whether it was WBA videos, his bromance with Jarrod Polson, etc… Wiltjer had a bond with several of his Kentucky teammates. Wiltjer’s comments about Coach Cal, and Cal’s comments about Wiltjer show that the two have a definite bond. Regardless of whether or not Cal agrees with a decision his players make, he usually backs them even to a fault. Cal will clearly always, always have Wiltjer’s back. Wiltjer has made it a point to be open and honest with the fan base throughout this decision, in large part due to his respect and love of everything about being part of Kentucky basketball. I truly believe Kyle when he says that this was one of the most difficult decisions of his life.
3) Basketball-wise, Kentucky and Kyle Wiltjer were just never quite a match. I remember Wiltjer’s commitment to Kentucky coming as a bit of a surprise in the first place, seeing as he had not yet made a visit. Wiltjer was intrigued by the thought of playing with the best of the best and competing for a national championship. Calipari was intrigued by the idea of trying to fit a different type of mold of a player into his system. The two came together with the best of intentions, but it just never panned out for either side in a way that was entirely beneficial to either.
… A sincere best of luck to Kyle Wiltjer in his future endeavors. I think I have the backing of most of the Big Blue Nation too when I say in Wiltjer’s case, “Once a Cat, always a Cat.”
–- Moving along from the Wiltjer news… The summer basketball recruitment news and tidbits continued to trickle in today with a few interesting points of interest. Kentucky’s lone 2014 commitment, Karl Towns, squared off against 2014 5-star big man Cliff Alexander last night. Alexander bested Towns on the court, but Towns was very impressed with his counter-part. In fact, Towns told Rivals’ Alex Kline that he would like to team up with Alexander at Kentucky.
“I think Cliff is a really good player and that if he were to come to Kentucky, me and him could do really great things together.”
Towns added in a different quote later that he wants the right kind of guys to join him at Kentucky. “I want people who want to win a national title at Kentucky, not go there for one-and-done.”
Hey Karl, who says you can’t do both?
–- John Calipari and his staff continue to shift their focus for the 2014 class in a number of different directions. Yet another rather unfamiliar name as of a few weeks ago was added to the list of 2014 offers. Kentucky has extended an offer to 6-6 wingman Justise Winslow. Winslow is a 5-star forward out of Houston, Texas. Winslow recently trimmed his list to 10 schools, but his coach says that things might change now that Kentucky has offered. According to his coach, Winslow is still “wide open.”
–- Ben Roberts of the Herald Leader caught up with another potential 2014 Kentucky target in point guard Josh Perkins. Perkins still awaits an offer from Kentucky, which he has said before would be a desirable place for him to play. Perkins is still not Kentucky’s prime point guard target though, as Emmanuel Mudiay is still very much in play for the Cats. Perkins’ father told Roberts that Kentucky is still in contact, but the offer still hasn’t been made.
–- The recruiting news isn’t strictly limited to basketball this weekend in Lexington though. The Kentucky football program is hosting a major recruiting event this weekend at Commonwealth Stadium called Friday Night Lights. A number of the biggest targets on Kentucky’s 2014 recruiting board will be in town, including 5-star Matt Elam and 4-star offensive tackle Nick Richardson. Keep an eye on Richardson, who is considered to be the most likely to commit to the Wildcats this weekend of the bunch.
…In case you missed it the first time around, KSR’s Nick Roush had a nice breakdown of the visitors and the weekend for Kentucky football.
—- Former Cat Darius Miller had a nice showing in his final summer league game for the New Orleans Pelicans. Miller finished with 15 points (7-12 from the field), 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
And last but not least… for your annoying “Louisville Trash Talk” of the Day, Montrezl Harrell sounded off about next year’s Kentucky team. Whatever you do, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle read this before the game this winter.
“I’ve been asked that question a few times how we’re going to match up against UK. They are another game to us,” Harrell said. “Everybody is hyping them up but people have to realize all those guys coming in are freshmen. They haven’t even played a college game yet. So all these guys they’re hyping up, yeah they’re pretty good guys and they did pretty good in high school but that doesn’t mean anything when you get on the court.”
We shall see…We shall see…