There is a long list of great names born on May 18th – Saint Pope John Paul II, George Strait, Jack Johnson – but tonight’s post goes to wishing Ron Mercer a Happy 38th Birthday! Mercer was a a two-time Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee before heading to Kentucky to win a National Championship for Rick Pitino in 1996. The following year Mercer couldn’t get the Cats back-to-back titles despite a having a first-team All-American year where he averaged 18 ppg and shot 49% from 3-point range. Mercer was drafted 6th overall by Pitino to the Boston Celtics, along with Antoine Walker. The Celtics had the potential to become NBAUK, but we all know things didn’t work out in Boston for Mercer or Pitino.
Mercer’s best year in the league was in 2000 for the Bulls, where he averaged 19.7 ppg, but as you’ll see below, not everything went swimmingly that year.
The BBN still loves ya Ron, Happy Birthday. Now, on to the news.
California Chrome Wins the Preakness; Owner Celebrates by calling out Churchill Downs
California Chrome is one step closer to becoming a Triple Crown Winner. There have only been eleven, and I’m sure the majority of the people reading this right now have never seen a Triple Crown Winner, with Affirmed last taking home the honor in 1978. California Chrome looked casual in today’s win and appears to be in perfect form to finish the job. As great as Chrome looked, I’m still unsure about the Belmont; I had my heartbroken with Smarty Jones’ loss and I’ll Have Another’s Belmont Eve scratch, and I’m still not ready to get my hopes up for another pony.
One of Chrome’s owners, Steve Coburn, stole the spotlight following the win. After he was presented with the Woodlawn Vase, Coburn had something to get off his chest:
“I just want to thank the people of Maryland for all the hospitality they’ve shown us,” Coburn said. “And Churchill, you need to take a lesson on this — you really, really do, because these people have been absolutely fabulous.”
Churchill Downs’ John Asher kissed Coburns’ ass in an official response, but damage has already been done.
Malik Newman and Diamond Stone could be a package deal
High school kids are beginning to team up like NBA Free Agents. Today Diamond Stone told Evan Daniels that he and the #1 player in 2015, Malik Newman, are “definitely” a package deal. Stone is a Top 10 player in 2015 and arguably the best big man in the class. I am 100% in support of this package deal, so long as both continue to lean Big Blue.
Drew Barker Gives Back
Drew Barker went home to Northern Kentucky this weekend to participate in a 5K for Cystic Fibrosis. Just showing up wasn’t enough for Barker: Drew helped his team raise over $15,000 for the cause. A tip of the hat to you sir, and all of those that participated.
Avery Williamson is enjoying his first weekend as a pro
Avery has been a Titans fan since the team came to Nashville from Houston. This weekend he’s wearing a Titans uniform and sitting in the same locker room as some of his childhood heroes. It goes without saying that he’s enjoying the experience.
“It’s cool to know that they were in the same locker room as I am in right now,” Williamson said of the former Titans greats. “I finally got a (pro) jersey. Nothing’s promised, but I am enjoying the process right now. It’s cool to see that name on the back of my jersey.”
Bat Cats are a 9-seed in the SEC Tournament
The Cats took an 11-10 loss today at Georgia, falling short of a weekend sweep, but it wasn’t all bad news today. The Cats will be a 9-seed in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Al. and will face 8-seeded Alabama Tuesday at 5:30. You can check out the entire SEC Tourney bracket here.
Softball Cats are a game away from advancing in the NCAA Tournament
The Wildcats scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 6th to cap off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over #25 James Madison. The win puts Kentucky in the Regional Final against DePaul, with the winner advancing to the Super Regional. Head to John Cropp Stadium tomorrow at 1:00 to help your softball cats get one step closer to the Women’s College World Series.