Kenyon Martin -- still doing it. He's been a spark for the Knicks, they are 16-6 since he joined. Much because of plays like this one. All that was missing was the Kenyon Shimmy afterward.
Headed down to football practice early this morning for some coffee and conversation about UC football. As we come to the end of spring practice the major storylines have all been exhausted. The Tommy Tuberville new car smell has begun to wear off and it's back to finding the strengths and weaknesses of the team -- as it is with every team, every year.
Any questions you feel have gone unanswered? Unless you have a pressing need we've all somehow overlooked, I'm going to spend time hitting the off-the-beaten-path market. Those are far and away my favorite stories to conquer anyway. Many people when they talk to me about my career ask how great it must be to interview A.J. Green or Tom Brady or Chipper Jones or any of the other famous athletes I've chatted with. No. The best part is finding the players nobody knows and telling their unique story. Anyone can document a rise to greatness, but unearthing a truly remarkable journey against the sports backdrop always are the ones leaving me saying how much I love my job.
I've got a few ideas, so we'll see what we can drum up. Keep an eye out.
Let's eat ...
--- If you haven't already, definitely take a listen to the Inside the Bearcats Podcast I did with Tommy G yesterday. We talked about a number of topics (including the apparent University of Cincinnati sports pipeline in Sweden, where things get a little crazy a few times a year).
We delved into the when, where, why and how the UC open practice is being held Saturday morning at the Sheakley Athletic Complex. UC has heard from a few people about there not being an official spring game at Nippert as there has been in the past. With the GABP double-dip baseball featuring UC-Louisville after Nats-Reds, there is no reason to step on the toes of a great event for the athletic department. Plus, you don't want to compete with the Final 4 for a very late event.
Placing the practice in the morning allows fans who want to do the football practice and baseball doubleheader the opportunity to do so. Plus, this day is so much about the free youth coaches clinic anyway, and allows that to go off immediately after in a time convenient for families.
As far as holding it at Sheakley, have you seen this new facility? It's a fantastic place to take in an event and is finally 100 percent complete. Why not show it off and enjoy the intimate atmosphere?
Always a fan of trying something different and this could be a more memorable experience for those who attend.
--- Speaking of the baseball team, big week for them. One which they started off right last night with a 6-2 win at Wright State. Some of these freshmen forced into action are starting to show promise, particularly Ian Happ and Devin Wenzel, who both had multi-hit games last night. You'll be hearing more about one of those guys very soon in this space.
UC will host Toledo at 6:30 p.m. tonight, then begin the big three-game set with rival and 10th-ranked Louisville. Games are Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at MSS with the GABP game 30 minutes following Reds-Nats.
--- Have been thinking a bit about Ge'Lawn Guyn lately when assessing the 2013-14 Bearcats and I may jump deeper into this topic at a later date but wanted to open up conversation now.
There will be much made of the journey to find a replacement for the production of JaQuon Parker and Cashmere Wright, particularly at PG. Obviously, this year's backup Guyn will enter the discussion along with incoming freshman Troy Caupain.
About the last 10 games of the season we started to see a change in Guyn. He became more aggressive offensively and wasn't afraid to pull the trigger on an open shot. His minutes were limited, obviously, behind Wright, but he made more of them. He's already an excellent on-the-ball defender so adding a touch of offense to his game could go a long way toward making a difference.
This sophomore to junior year transition has produced significant bumps from role player to star in recent years. Most notably recently was Dion Dixon and Parker. Both returned as juniors looking like completely new players and helped lead UC to NCAA tournament wins.
UC needs that out of this sophomore class and Guyn stands among them.
Take a look at his final 10 games:
He scored 71 points in 68 minutes of play during the final stretch. He scored at least one field goal in eight of those 10. Guyn connected on 6 of 14 shots from deep (43 percent). The sample size is small, but the only real representative available to evaluate how a confident Guyn could look playing 20-25 minutes a night.
If you extrapolate those numbers out to points per 40 minutes, that would be an average of 14.6 points. Even if he played 20 minutes per game, that would be 7.3 points a night, factor for improvement, game rhythm and more reliance on his offense and you could easily be in the 10 points a game range for Guyn. As the point guard, though, he needs to improve his passing which only yielded two assists in the final 10 games. Of course, you could say most everyone on the team needs to improve their passing.
Now, if Guyn's level of play doesn't spike this offseason his opportunity will be limited, but the window is wide open for him to seize a chance much as Parker and Dixon did.
--- If you haven't seen this video of Dan Hoard taking on Jim Boeheim, then you are missing out. Here's Dan's blog on his alma mater and the time he lost to Jimmy B.
--- Pittsburgh received some bad basketball news yesterday with Trey Zielger transferring and Steven Adams going pro, but unfortunately UC won't be there to take advantage as they move to the ACC next season. Still, always gratifying around Clifton to see bad breaks for the Panthers.
--- Elsewhere filed under "another conference's problem," video surfaced yesterday of abusive Rutgers coach Mike Rice and it's reprehensible. Throwing basketballs at players? Awful. Pushing kids around? Terrible. Kicking them? Demeaning. But the use of the gay slur language, to me, tops the list of the most disgusting element of the entire scandal. What would the reaction have been if he used the N-word? Would he have been fired instead of suspended? They should be treated equally. In a world -- and in this case place of higher education -- where everyone is supposed to be equal and intolerance is unacceptable, that bigotry can't be allowed to go on.
Andy Staples has a fantastic take on the situation here. Of course, Dana O'Neil hits a home run on the topic.
A column that makes you think from Jason Whitlock, who says this is bigger than Rutgers problem, it's an NCAA problem. All food for thought.
--- Tulane may be coming to the Currently Unnamed Conference, but their basketball program took a turn for the worst yesterday. Yikes.
--- Randomness ...
--- Story on the life of a cabbie in Boston. It's, uh, interesting. I was in a cab in Boston one time where the cabbie got out when some kids threw snowballs at his cab. He stopped in the middle of the road, yelled some choice words, then took off running after them. Meanwhile, me and my buddy sat in the back of the car in the middle of a side street in downtown Beantown looking at each other.
--- This video of deer fighting is about what it would look like if Tommy G and I ever came to blows. (Disclaimer: And why that would never happen)
--- Jose Calderon walked to the wrong locker room with his former team, the Raptors, rather than his current one, the Pistons. You know how they say the grass is always greener on the other side, well, sorry Jose, both yards are burnt to a crisp.
--- The Rolling Stones are expected to announce a tour today. I have to assume they'll make a Cincinnati stop at Cottingham.
--- Remember to shoot any comments or questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @pauldehnerjr. Digging this song from The Kills.