I want to continue to say thanks to those people that have passed along words of encouragement, their questions about UC athletics or started following me on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) the last couple days. It's good to know people are excited about the coverage on the site. I even appreciate the individual who stepped into the role of Grammar Hammer to point out an inconsistency. We all have our own special way of showing we care, I guess.
Anyway, for those of you who spent the morning wondering why LeBron James gets a one-hour show on ESPN for his announcement (he's had 1,000 straight hours of coverage anyway, what's another hour?) let's get you caught up on what's going on with the Bearcats.
--- Brian Bennett does a great job of stealing an idea I had and wrote a little about last December for CNati and takes a look at the last 10 Big East schools to undergo coaching changes so as to gain some perspective on what to expect out of Cincinnati, South Florida and Louisville this year.
Here's the post. As always, it's very well done.
From a UC perspective, it shows obviously that the last two changes have both gone well -- or at least seen improvement from the previous year. That's pretty much an impossible standard for Butch Jones considering the only improvement would be an undefeated season that includes a BCS Bowl victory.
As Bennett points out, making any type of major leap is tough under a new regime. The only comparable situation to the one Jones enters is that of Steve Kragthorpe at Louisville. #epicfail
Certainly nobody expects that to happen here. Nor should they. These coaching transitions have been tough, but half of the time the coaches are able to stay on the same level as the predecessor. If Jones can accomplish that, nobody will be complaining.
--- The Bleacher Report runs through five seniors ready to be unsung heroes for the Bearcats this season. Sure, the play of these five will be important to this team's success, but what they do in the locker room and sidelines will probably count more. Talent isn't the issue, assuring it meshes will be.
When I covered Georgia, Mark Richt had a great analysis, he said that every great, overachieving team he has ever been around the leadership was player-driven. The coaches can act as a catalyst in that process, but if you don't have great leadership and accountability coming from the players, the whole system fails.
That's where these seniors will need to step in.
--- I know nobody cares about Brian Kelly anymore, and I won't do this often, but while we are talking about coaches and transitions and leadership, here is a Q and A he had with Rivals where he does talk a bit about UC and the shape he left the program in.
--- The time is running out to Vote Red for the All-Star Game. UC alum Kevin Youkilis is in the final vote campaign along with Reds supersnub Joey Votto. It's working as Youkilis pulled ahead of Nick Swisher yesterday and Votto still leads.
Go here to vote for both. Do it often or suffer the consequences. (Not sure what those are yet, I will hold an hour-special on ESPN to unveil them at 8 p.m. Thursday).
Youkilis is loving the support of his hometown and university, as he talked about with the Boston Herald yesterday. Still don't understand why the Reds never took a late-rounder run at Youk, but if he can bury the hatchet, so can I.
--- There's a story in the Denver Post on former Bearcats star Kenyon Martin. Perhaps expectations were higher for his career after he left Clifton, but when you take a look at his stats, he has been as solid of a basketball player as ever turned out by the University not named Oscar or Jack.
In fact, Kenyon has played the fourth most minutes of any UC product in the league with 19,792 behind Oscar (43,886), Nick Van Exel (28,969) and Jack Twyman (26,147).
Here are his career stats. He averaged at least 11.5 points during every full season, with a high of 16.7 his final year with the Nets. Hard to believe he is 32 years old already.
His career is not over, of course, which he proved last year with his career high in rebounding average at 9.5 a game. Health has been the biggest concern for him of late as he has missed at least 10 games in each of the last as he missed 40 games in the last two seasons combined.
During the interview he stresses his offseason priority is to get his knee healthy. If he can work his knee back to 100 percent health, it would be fun to watch Kenyon put an exclamation point on the final few years of his career.
--- That's all folks. I'll be here all week. Try the veal. Tip your waitresses.