To me, there are two Tom Cruises: Tom Cruise B.C. (Before Couch) and Tom Cruise A.C. (After Couch). Why? Tom Cruise’s epic couch jumping party on “Oprah” in 2005 finally nailed the fact that the man is downright crazy into my head. For years, I loved Tom Cruise. His poster from Top Gun hung on my wall, right beside Tim Couch, Nazr Mohammed, and countless UK basketball schedules. It helped that Cruise lived in Kentucky for a while, and actually went to prom with one of my cousin’s friends, who still carries the picture from it in her wallet. Cruise was charming, handsome, and not afraid to get up in Iceman’s face. I was even willing to forget that he was short. “I’m short, too!” teenage Tyler cried, “We will have awesome, dark-haired short children and name them Maverick and Goose! They will run around in button-down shirts, socks, and sunglasses!” (Looking back, maybe I was a bit obsessed with Top Gun.)
And then he went batshit crazy.
Or, at least, we found out he was crazy. Nowadays, people associate Scientology, expensive children’s clothes, weird hand holding and general crazy eyes with Tom Cruise more than his acting. His brief, awesome cameo in Tropic Thunder wasn’t enough for us to forget his manic, creepy character from Knight and Day, half of which I had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting through. At times, that familiar toothy grin can be deceiving, but then our brains kick in and we step away slowly, as we would from a person wearing house slippers in Wal-Mart.
So, happy 51st birthday, Tom. With age, comes wisdom, I hope.
John Calipari’s guide to recruiting
Poor Ellen Calipari. A man like John Calipari can’t just go to the beach and relax–he has to put together a freaking manifesto. Cal saved us from a slow news day Tuesday afternoon by releasing his annual recruiting manifesto. Here are the top four quotes:
One of the things recruits always say they like best about Cal is that he keeps it real. As Cal said, some coaches will feed prospects “sunshine and rainbows” in order to woo them to their schools, but Cal is upfront and honest about their futures. He doesn’t promise anything–from playing time to starting spots. That challenge appeals to the type of player Cal wants: competitive, motivated gym rats.
Cal has gotten the number one recruiting class every single year he’s been at Kentucky. He is undeniably the best recruiter in college basketball. Understandably, coaches across the nation are watching Cal and trying to pattern their practices after him. Not possible, says Calipari. Every recruiting class is different, every player is different, and as we saw last season, every team is different. The difference is being able to prepare and adapt for those changes.
Cal is clearly not a fan of package deals. The trolls amongst you will bring up the Harrison Twins, but given that they are twins and have spent their entire lives playing with one another, I think they are an exception. Plus, the twins’ decision to come to Kentucky definitely benefits them both individually. Cal argues that sometimes–perhaps in the case of the Tyus Jones/Jahlil Okafor combo deal–that is not always the case. As he points on later on, what happens if one of the players you decide to package yourself with gets hurt or leaves school for the league before you do? When choosing a school, players should look to see what the best situation is for themselves first.
What’s up, Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Oriakhi, and CJ Leslie? Even if you’re a megawatt superstar…say, an Andrew Wiggins, it still matters what school you choose if you want the best opportunity to improve your draft stock. However, Cal uses this opportunity to point out that Kentucky isn’t for everyone (drink). And even if you do come to Kentucky, a high draft pick isn’t a given; players must push past their comfort zones and make sacrifices for their teams.
Cal puts up these posts every now and then as a way to remind recruits, media, and fans of his philosophy and put his name back in the news. While most of it is “Cal-speak,” his comments about package deals are particularly interesting and relevant. Even if we don’t get Jones and Okafor, our chances look good with…
Emmanuel Mudiay will attend Big Blue Madness
According to Mike Gandolfo of The Kentucky Derby Classic, top 2014 PG Emmanuel Mudiay will attend Big Blue Madness this October. Mudiay is one of the Cats’ top targets in the 2014 class, so his visit is huge. It will be interesting to see what impact Josh Perkins, also a point guard, has on his decision, as he announces in August. Perkins says he’s open to playing alongside Mudiay, but is Mudiay good with that too? Time will tell.
Eric Bledsoe joins Archie Goodwin in Phoenix
Late Tuesday afternoon, word broke that Eric Bledsoe had been traded to the Phoenix Suns. Bledsoe was part of a three team deal that sent him and fellow former Clipper Caron Butler to Phoneix, while Jared Dudley and JJ Redick were sent to the Clippers, and the Milwaukee Bucks got two second round draft picks. Both Phoenix and Bledsoe win in this one, as Bledsoe gets off the bench and into a potential starting role, while the Suns get the chance to build their team around a talented point guard and big man in Alex Len. Bledsoe will also join former Cat Archie Goodwin, who was selected by the Suns in last week’s draft.
A new UK billboard near the Big 4 bridge and I-64 in Louisville. Photo by @AdamHimmelsbach
— Congrats to Tony Neely, who was promoted to Assistant Athletics Director on Tuesday. For almost twenty years, Tony has been the primary media relations contact for the football team, and will now oversee the daily operations of the athletics media relations office. Further congrats to Evan Crane, who has been promoted to assistant media relations director. Looking forward to bugging you guys plenty over the next few years.
— In more proof that Kentucky is indeed Punter U, Landon Foster has been named to the 2013 CFPA Punter Trophy Watch List. Foster was one of the lone bright spots from last year’s squad, and well, he certainly had plenty of practice. I love you Landon, but here’s hoping you don’t get as much game practice from now on.
— Your random news headline of the day: “Ex-MTV VJ Kennedy: Michael Jordan tried to win my virginity in a game of dice”
— Below, Drew share Demarcus Cousins’ tweet about Julius Randle being a beast. Eric Bledsoe replied back to Boogie with praise for the Harrison Twins and James Young:
@EBled12: Cuz, you should have stuck around to see the twins and James Young. We gonna be straight this year. I was going hard against them too.
Does this mean Young is on campus? Regardless, more of this, please.
That’s all for now. At 11:05 Tuesday morning, MARK STOOPS will call in to radio show, which will be live from Mr. Gatti’s in Somerset for stop #8 of the KSR Tour of Affiliates. I think that’s must-listen radio, don’t you? See you then.