For the last few years, I've tried to do a daily blog entry titled "three things," which have basically been a list of the three things on my mind that morning, along with a few detailed thoughts on each of those things. To be fair, calling those entries "daily" might be a stretch, given how sometimes the other facets of my job(s), life, and overall laziness have each gotten in the way, but the intent has always been there there even if the execution hasn't.
I'm gonna change it up a bit, in an effort to hopefully have something up every morning, but not be restricted to the whole "three thing" things, since, you know, sometimes there aren't three things. Sometimes, there are more. Sometimes, whatever the things are and however many things there are, I don't have a whole bunch of paragraphs worth of thoughts about them. Sometimes, a sentence or two will suffice.
So I'm going to re-do the way I do this, just a little. It'll be re-brand, if you will. I spent some time, but not too much time, coming up with a catchy name for these daily little entries that include each morning's thoughts, and came up empty, so we're going to go with Some Stuff, perhaps until I find another name that works.
I'll usually start with an opening thought (Sometimes I won't, and the four opening paragraphs to this morning's entry will serve as today's opening thought.), then hammer out some thoughts, move on to some links of interest, then mention what's happening on my show, or whatever else I need to fill you in on. Like this blog itself, going on 11 years, this entire thing will be a work in progress.
Here's Some Stuff for today....
Honors for Gary Clark. A guy who'll go down as one of my top five favorite Bearcats earned some honors yesterday: American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and the league's sportsmanship award. I'm not sure what a player at the college level has to do to win a sportsmanship award, but hey, good for Gary. He was also named - along with Xavier's Trevon Blueitt and Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop - as a second team All-American by NBC Sports. I believe the award is a stuff peacock, which is nice. (Update: Since I posted this, Gary was also named the American Athletic Conference's Player of the Year) Anyway, here's what was written about Gary...
His numbers are middling, but the impact he has on Cincinnati defensively is not. And for a team who wins because they are having an all-time great season stopping the ball, that is hard to overlook.
That's an important point, one that I've had to make to a few people who don't regularly watch UC basketball and only see Gary's numbers: You have to watch the Bearcats to fully appreciate Gary's impact. You even have to go beyond the defensive metrics that suggest he's the nation's best defender to really understand how important he is. I love stats and perusing boxscores and KenPom data as much as the next guy, but some players' importance can't be fully measured by numbers alone. Gary is a prime example.
On Trevon - who I wrote about last week for The Athletic - I had a discussion with someone who covers college basketball closely about his place in Xavier's basketball history, about whether there's a scenario in which Trevon Bluiett could be considered the greatest Musketeer in history. A lot of people seemingly don't want to go down this road, because of justifiable reverence for Byron Larkin and David West, but with Trevon doing what he's doing against better competition, his contributions to six (and counting) NCAA Tournament victories, his status as XU's second-leading all-time scorer, and his potential role as leading man on Xavier's first Final Four team, can't a case be made? Wanna chime in Xavier fan? Scroll down....
Wright State is going dancing. Congratulations to the Raiders, who beat Cleveland State in the Horizon League Tournament title game last night. WSU has a nice club, and given how well they played against NKU in two regular season victories, would've been a bear for the regular season champs to overcome. Grant Benzinger was a deserving winner of the tourney's MVP, and watching Elder's Ryan Custer in the center of the postgame celebration was really, really cool.
I've successfully predicted UC's opening round opponent in three of the past four years. I'm calling my shot now: Bearcats v. Raiders somewhere drive-able for fans of both.
Steve Kerr says that college players that enter the NBA draft and don't get taken should be allowed to return to play college basketball. He asks what the downside is. I'm at a loss for one. Are you?
I also wonder if one-and-dones have really been as bad for both the NBA and college basketball. The pro game has taken off during the last 12 years. The college game has benefited from the annual infusion of talent provided by the best out-of-high school talent. Both have surged in popularity. So what's the problem?
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is being revamped. This is a prime example of people taking the simple and delightful and making it complex and cumbersome. I don't like it, but I will watch it. And the clowns who made this decision know I'll watch it.
Bryan Price is pissed that his team has played so sloppily during the spring. I'll be he's more pissed that Barry Larkin is telling anyone who will listen that he wants Price's job. I have a feeling that this is going to end ugly for one or the other, and probably not the Hall of Famer.
The first sentence in this story about the Bengals' interest in Russell Bodine encapsulates everything that's wrong about the team and how it's run.
Some Stuff I Like....
Good stuff from Dave Niinemets of The Athletic on the burgeoning UC/Wichita State rivalry. It's a series that so far, has had everything you want in a rivalry...two coaches that move the meter, a tinge of bad blood, high stakes, and really good games. UC has had no other rival besides Xavier since the dissolution of the Big East, and UofL never really made a big deal about playing Cincinnati. They had a nice little series with Pitt before that school left for the ACC only to be forgotten five minutes later, and while they've had some great games with UConn, recently their series with that school has been one-sided. UC has needed a rival. It's finally found one.
The Green Diamond Gallery is hosting a public event later this month. If you haven't had the chance to check the place out, I highly recommend it.
Kevin Love's piece on mental health. Maybe the most important first-person piece from an athlete you'll ever read.
Amid what's been a season-long Gary Clark love-fest, UC's Jacob Evans has had an oustanding junior season, doing a little of everything. He chatted with Fox 19's Joe Danneman.
Mitchell and Ness has released some new NBA jackets. I want all of them.
Some Stuff About Me
On air around 3:00 after Florida State/University 6, Seth Davis from CBS and The Athletic will be with me at 3:33, Rick Broering on the Muskies will be with me at 3:42. We'll fill the time before and after those gentlemen with my sports-related witticisms on ESPN1530.