On Monday, we had to say goodbye to one of the most beloved entertainers of our time. Robin Williams was found dead in his Californian home of an apparent suicide after a long battle with depression and substance abuse. He was 63 years old.
There are no words to describe this loss. Williams was a comedic genius, and so many of my favorite movies from when I was little until now include him. When I was a kid, he charmed me with “Hook,” “Aladdin,” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” the latter of which is so classic it’s hilarious at any age. I was too young for them when they came out, but in my adolescence, “Dead Poet’s Society” was particularly poignant, and “Good Morning, Vietnam!” gave me the first glimpse into adult humor. To this day, whenever “The Birdcage” is on TV, I stop and watch, and who can forget that scene in “Good Will Hunting”? Williams’ performance was so powerful it earned him an Oscar.
Williams brought joy and laughter to so many people, which makes his fatal struggle with depression doubly cruel. As I get older, his stand-ups get funnier, including this favorite about golf (language not safe for work or kiddos):
Can’t ever top that. Can’t ever find a good segue for these things, so let’s just move on to the news.
Cats rally from slow start to rout Champagne Chalons-Reims 81-58
Most of us thought Champagne Chalons-Reims would be UK’s toughest competition in the Bahamas, considering they’re a French pro team with a roster of “grown men,” as Kenny Payne would say. And for the first ten minutes of the game, they looked like the better squad, racing out to a 20-12 lead. However, the Cats woke up and smacked back, going on a 10-0 run featuring a beautiful Dominique Hawkins to Marcus Lee alley-oop and back-to-back three pointers from Hawkins and Derek Willis. Once the Cats had the lead, they didn’t look back, cruising to a 81-58 victory.
The star of the game was Karl Towns, who had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists. Towns is UK’s leading scorer and rebounder in the Bahamas so far, and looked absolutely unstoppable against the French professional squad. His performance was so impressive that ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford said should be considered for the number one pick in next year’s draft. Yeah.
It’s hard not to get sucked into hyperbole with this group. They not only tower over most of their opponents, they’ve developed some really impressive passing skills as well. On Monday, the Cats dished out 17 assists, making it a total of 37 assists for the trip so far. Even more encouraging is the stat that seven different UK players had at least one assist in today’s game. As Willie Cauley-Stein told Jay Bilas, they’ve clearly been focusing on sharing the ball this summer. We knew the size was there–nine of UK’s 29 field goals were dunks–but the vast improvement in passing is my biggest takeaway of the trip so far. That and how much fun the team seems to be having. All that bad body language from last November and December? Ancient history. Remember the dogpiles, hugs, and smiles from last March and April? The team’s doing them again, and it’s only August, only exhibition games. Chills.
Karl Towns says his missed free throws were “unacceptable”
After the game, Karl and Andrew met with the media, and when asked how he felt he played, Karl said that he struggled with his jump shot in the beginning, but did better once he switched things up and went inside. He also chastised himself for missing those two free throws: “That’s, in my book, unacceptable, so we gotta go back in the gym and figure out a way to fix that.”
That comment drew a laugh from Andrew Harrison, who chalked it up as “just stuff Karl says.” It says a lot about Towns that even though he had a huge game, he was still upset with himself for missing a few free throws. In a blowout. I think we have a perfectionist here, folks.
Karl’s missed free throws meant 20 pushups for me, so I’m not very happy about it either, but I’ll live.
Calipari took a break to film the game for ESPNU
How relaxed was John Calipari today? After sitting in the stands with Tony Barbee and the sons of Patrick Wren, the lucky fan who won the chance to be an assistant coach today, Cal strolled over to the ESPNU cameras to film some of the action. His camera work was pretty shoddy, so hopefully he sticks to his day job.
Where are Brian Long and Sam Malone?
Two big names have been missing from the court this week. No, not Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles. Sam Malone and Brian Long. KSR has learned that the walk-ons didn’t come on the trip because they have internships to complete before school starts. An internship vs. ten days in the Bahamas…clearly, you see where their priorities lie.
Meanwhile, Tod Lanter’s already gone through one bottle of Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil.
Here is Nerlens Noel with Shaquille O’Neal and Killa
Nerlens ran into Shaq and the rapper at the Entertainers Basketball Classic on Monday. Two thoughts: 1) Whoa, those pants; and 2) Whoa, those legs. Nerlens may have a healthy knee now, but man, those legs are still skinny.
Defense wins the day at football practice
On the football side of things, the defense was the story of the day at UK’s second open practice. JD Harmon was particularly impressive, picking off Drew Barker twice and tipping another pass. Still no update at quarterback other than there is no update at quarterback. The defense may have gotten the best of the quarterbacks today, but there’s another open practice on Tuesday afternoon (3:30 – 5 p.m.), a great opportunity for Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips, and Drew Barker to settle the score. Read Nick Roush’s full practice report here.
Let’s do this all over again tomorrow, okay? Meet you here at 10 a.m.