Happy Halloween. As my police officer cousin Dan says, "the one day of the year where we ignore all our parents taught us about taking candy from strangers."
Trick-or-treating as a kid always consisted of the search of the one lazy house that left the bowl out front instead of handing it to you. Just handfuls of candy. The concept became almost mythical. Rumors of that bowl spread among the kids like it was Kardashian engagement report.
Yet, in that search going house to house there would sometimes be the one car driving up and down the streets also giving out candy. This was off limits. All the candy coming from the folks in the houses -- undeniably safe. Man in car, clearly will give you rickets.
That said, still love the ridiculousness of today if simply for the fact scaring children is not only OK, but encouraged. Try jumping out from behind a bush at a pack of kids tomorrow. See how that goes over with mom and dad.
--- Was honored to spend yesterday morning on the media panel of the Coaches v. Cancer Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency. Shannon Russell of The Enquirer, Tom Archdeacon of the DDN, Mo Egger of ESPN1530, HOFer Mike DeCourcy of the The Sporting News and myself fired off questions at the five area coaches (Chris Mack, Mick Cronin, John Cooper, Billy Donlon, Archie Miller) for a great cause.
Ken Broo did an incredible job as emcee sharing his story still fresh off losing his wife in August. Just a great event for an even greater cause.
Though, I will say once mascots enter a room of businessmen standing and talking shop at 7:30 a.m. in the morning, it becomes quite awkward.
Not much new ground was broken in the hour-plus conversation with the coaches, though, a good story from Mick -- who had plenty, as always. After Wright State's Donlon answered a question about his father being added to his staff, Mick popped in before answering another question to clarify something. He said his father, Hep, sits along the side, watches practice and drinks coffee every day. He's been wondering where exactly his stipend is. So, let's try to keep this development about Donlon's father being added to the staff inside the walls of this room here.
--- Had a few more notes from Monday's exhibition I wanted to pass along before jumping into football. In case you didn't read my story about the huge success of Brad Wurthman and the entire staff at UC growing the student section into the place to be -- even for an exhibition -- here is the link.
--- One quote from Cronin stood out beyond any others after the game. He was speaking about JuCo transfer Titus Rubles, who made a dynamic debut with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in 25 minutes.
His expolosion and instincts with the basketball were evident. While his shot looks a little like a Jim Furyk backswing, he makes them. He hit 2 of 5 from deep.
Cronin said this: "He's as talented a player that has come in here since I've been here." He went on to specify he's talking about raw basketball talent and obviously portions of his game need to be refined, but even with that said, that's quite a claim.
Lance Stephenson, Yancy Gates, Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright would be competition for that award. Speaks more to the high expectations Mick holds for Rubles this year.
"He's a great example, don't just get on the Internet and follow recruiting services, they are not always right," Cronin said.
If he can play well enough to earn the starting four spot it allows you unleash the #JustinJacksonMeanFace off the bench right when other teams are grabbing their first wind from the intial wave of game action. A dynamic luxury.
--- Other observations: Cheikh Mbodj showed off the lift and expolosion he lacked last year because of his ankle injury. On top of having lost 30 pounds, he's much more active within the defense. He blocked five shots in 26 minutes.
If you look at the 40 minutes Mick got out of the center spot from Kelvin Gaines, David Nyarsuk and Mbodj, that was 11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks. He'll take that every night.
It took only one possession for the second-row fan to yell out, "You got to shoot that Titus!" It's almost become endearing.
--- Quick notes from football, I'll have more on this later in the week, but all signs point toward Greg Blair earning a medical redshirt for his torn meniscus in Week 3 last year. With him back, that will leave Blair, super-transfer Jeff Luc and Nick Temple as your projected starters. Formidable to say the least.
--- The Walter Stewart saga is playing out in what appears to be the worst case scenario. Heart-breaking to see. From his incredible backstory, to the dedication to his physical transformation to #GetTheDub to becoming one of the great leaders in the recent history of this program, he's a special person.
He's always approached me with a laugh, smile and insightful conversation. That's not necessarily always the case around sports and the media -- at any level.
Andrea Adelson wrote about his career at a crossroads here.
--- David Pollack knows a thing or two about neck injuries derailing a career. The former first-round pick saw his career stopped after one season when he suffered a neck injury with the Bengals. He tweeted this out:
"Had a great convo with WalterStewart, gr8 young man with a bright future. God never closes 1 door w/out opening another"
And this, also: "Sept 17, 2006 I was told my life long dream wld come to an end. Life didnt stop & actually is better now then it ever was"
--- Nobody can deny Butch Jones cares about his players. It resides at the fabric of his football community. Nobody appreciated what Walter did for Jones and the program more.
He's made sure Stewart knows he's far from alone in this:
"I'm trying to convince him to give coaching a try because I think he can impact lives on a day to day basis I think that's his passion and I think he needs to be around the game, and I think he can be an asset to our profession, when he speaks the kids listen and he has credibility behind him."
Jones went on: "I'm going to be there for him as long as he allows me to be there for him and I told him we'll be together for a long, long time."
That's why Jones recruits so well. Taking care of these kids isn't just a sales pitch, it's a philosophy. It's the standard.
--- If you want to see the entire 31-minute presser, it's online here.
--- Early Halloween costume winner: Baby Dana Holgorsen.
--- I suppose there could be a better Jack-O-Lantern, but as a kid who grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I can't think of one.
--- Nobody can ever claim Anderson Cooper didn't report on site.
--- How about a song you surely won't hear anywhere today. Have a great one, everybody and remember to send any questions, comments, clever costumes or otherwise to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr.