Without beginning story time with Uncle Paul, let's just say by dumb luck I narrowly avoided driving directly into last Friday night's storm while vacationing in the DC-Baltimore area. The next day 1.3 million homes were without power. Hope everyone is back in Thomas Edison's good graces and not dealing with too much damage.
Enough rambling, let's eat...
--- Hope everyone took the time to read the Nate Kramer story I posted last Thursday. I don't normally push stories on people, but his is so inspirational and moved me so profoundly that I can't say enough about the former UC swimmer. I hope he knows now that all of Bearcat Nation is behind him.
And if you can at all, please, please donate to the Nate Kramer Medical Fund at any US Bank. And if you want to keep updated on Nate's situation or leave kind words, be sure to visit his carepage here.
--- One development I wanted to touch on was Yancy Gates going undrafted last week. Gates apparently showed up at the Portsmouth pre-draft camp weighing 287 pounds. That number alone likely pushed him out of the two-round event.
Here is a story from Bill Koch on Gates disappointment not being selected.
He doesn't fall off the radar of the NBA, though. Remember, one of the top stories of last season was undrafted Harvard grad Jeremy Lin.
There are a number of players who went undrafted and moved on to productive NBA careers. Most experienced some significant development in the years after the draft. Yancy finding his fitness and drive could be his key.
Take RealClearSports list of the top undrafted players in recent NBA history for example:
Udonis Haslem -- After four years at Florida, his potential in the eyes of NBA scouts lifted and he eventually weighed over 300 pounds. He popped around overseas before dropping 70 pounds and being picked up by the Heat. Now he owns a ring and played a major role in acquiring it.
Brad Miller -- Went undrafted out of Purdue, but eventually grinded his way Europe and found his way onto the Hornets roster. Became an All-Star.
Ben Wallace -- Was overlooked because he was only 6-9 and played on the D-II level. He is a four-time NBA defensive player of the year. Defense and rebounding can go a long way.
Bruce Bowen -- GMs don't draft defense. Bowen lives as the poster child of how playing defense can make you a ton of money in the league.
These four all connect the closest relation to a possible Gates ascension, in my eyes. Not more than Udonis Haslem. After four years at Florida he was overweight and undersized, once he trimmed to his proper playing weight, he became the warrior on the Heat. Yancy could easily follow this blueprint.
The common theme of these four is defensive development and realizing physical abilities. All four of these guys were undrafted, particularly because defense is undervalued. Rebounding and defense have to be Yancy's calling card if he wants to latch on. Like almost everyone on the RealClear list, he'll probably bounce around between Europe, the D-League and other spots, but making it to the NBA doesn't come without precedence. Many have done it. Many have thrived.
--- Life can change in two tenths of a second, as Josh Schneider found out on Sunday. He came that close to earning a berth in the London Olympics. A great run for Schneider, who finished .18 behind the needed second-place position in the 50-meter freestyle in fourth place on Sunday.
There is no shame in drawing that close to the Olympics and Schneider continues to be one of the great representatives of UC athletics anywhere.
--- Bearcats Nation continued its countdown of the top moments from the Football/Basketball seasons with RDAIV taking a kickoff to the house against Vandy. Indeed, a special moment and one that placed an exclamation point on a great bowl trip for players, coaches and fans to Memphis.
--- Two news nuggets from Mick Cronin. The first, he is designated $5,000 to American Cancer Society through the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge.
"I chose the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer as my charity because I strongly believe in doing everything possible to fight back against this terrible disease. Cancer touches everyone, including my family and friends," Cronin said. "The Coaches vs. Cancer program gives me the opportunity to help fulfill the American Cancer Society's mission of creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays. I am happy that I am able to designate this gift of $5,000 to the Society through the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge."
Two, Cronin tweeted out that he drained a hole-in-one at a Louisville Country Club. I will be requesting a witness signature.
Remember, his Bearcats Classic Golf Tournament will be held July 9 at Traditions in NKY. You can join in and make him prove the validity of said hole-in-one in person.
--- I'm a bit late relaying this, but Cronin also added to pieces to his staff with assistant coach Antwon Jackson, most recently at UMass and strength/conditioning coach Mike Rehfeldt, who was recommended by Marvin Lewis as an assistant with the Bengals.
Here was what Mick has to say about the two additions:
"Antwon is exactly what I look for in an assistant coach. He works extremely hard," Cronin said. "I've seen what he has been a part of at UMass and also William and Mary, rebuilding programs with a hard-working mentality, and I know he understands what it takes to be successful in college basketball. That shares our belief that having the right attitude is imperative to success. He will help us on the floor, in the locker room and also in the key area of recruiting. Antwon has built great relationships and I am confident he will be able to help us as a recruiter.
"Mike is also a great addition to our staff. He comes highly recommended from Marvin Lewis who I admire as a leader and a coach. Mike has worked in the professional ranks and knows the commitment it takes to perform at that level. He will be able to relay that to our players. Bearcats basketball has a long tradition of developing the bodies of our players, increasing their athleticism, and creating a standard of mental and physical toughness. Mike knows how important his role will be in our program and he cannot wait to get started."--- College football pundits nationwide were predicting Boise State wouldn't withdraw from the MWC and the latest possible doom and gloom of another disastrous hit to the Big East.
They were wrong. Off the ledge, folks. Boise will join the BE as planned. And the conference says it was never concerned. Waiting to the last second probably raised an eyebrow or two, but what would the summer news cycle be without the media digging up a few stories it both creates and debunks.
--- Dan Hoard writes about new UC WR and former minor league baseball player Braxton Lane. An intriguing prospect amid a position group full of them. I could make a living this year, just writing a story a week about a different wide receiver. And that's before anyone has emerged on the field.
Take a look at them:
Kenbrell Thompkins: Transfer in final year to make an impression on the NFL.
Anthony McClung: Best numbers on the team and quietly developing into the team's top offensive weapon.
Alex Chisum: Next Armon Binns? Nobody showed greater potential last season.
Chris Moore: Have you seen his resume? Coming off injury redshirt season as accomplished on HS level as any young player
Braxton Lane: At one point was choosing between Florida, Georgia, Auburn and Oregon.
DyJuan Lewis: Maybe top pure athlete on the team.
Danny Milligan: Local boy made good. A contribution from him would be huge local storyline.
Damon Julian: Don't count out the JuCo transfer who comes with high expectations, as well.
Others: Shakim Alonzo caught a TD pass in the Big 33 game and plenty of talent fills out the rest of the position.
--- Some randomness...
--- Don't worry about USA Basketball. Injuries? Pretty sure we'll be all right.
--- What? Scientology is filled with crazy people? When did this happen?
--- Sad to see eight sports being cut at the University of Maryland. Let's hope this doesn't become a trend.
--- Zach Galifianakis exec produced this doc called Craigslist Joe. Looks damn cool. Here's the trailer.
--- Music videos with puppets!
--- Because Ray Charles was the man. Have a great Tuesday everybody.