Saturday, April 4, 2009

Update: Drew not interested in Memphis

According to Fox Sports, Scott Drew is not interested in Memphis job.
Also Theus is reported to be at the top of Memphis' list of coaches. We'll see if he uses this to his advantage with Arizona.

BREAKING!! Memphis Narrows Search to Top Three!

Rumors are flying around Memphis that the Tigers have narrowed the list for new coaching candidates to the following three fellows...

Reggie Theus
Avery Johnson
Scott Drew

This news comes on the heels of Xavier Henry's father confirming Memphis' interest in Theus and Johnson. You can find that info on Zagsblog.

There are conflicting reports on whether Memphis has asked permission to speak with Scott Drew. Johnson or Theus would be preferable, so maybe the Tigers won't get to Drew. I don't believe Drew has the rapport or the resume to accomplish what Tiger fans have grown to expect.

Benedict Calipari...

I can think of a few others words that can't be spelled without UK, such as... pluck, shmuck, stuck, and unmasked. Feel free to add your own in the comments, Tiger fans.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Year of the Tiger Fan...

After becoming friends with The Door on Facebook, I was returned to my home page to see John Calipari's daughter dropping some tidbits on the whole fiasco.

I blacked out everyone's name except Cal's daughter, not because this came from a private forum, but because it makes me look like an investigator of some sort and makes my work look awesome. Mind you, this WHOLE EXCHANGE showed up on the PUBLIC U. of Memphis network, for all to see. Stay away from me, Corey B Trotz. You are, for once, not the way to go.

First of all, the initial status update about John Calipari taking the money is dumb. Everyone knows by now he wanted to coach at Kentucky. The issue most Tiger fans have is that he has, self-admittedly, wanted to coach at Kentucky since 1992. This isn't bad in and of itself. However, in light of all the things he has said over the years about Memphis, Calipari appears to have simply used the Tigers as fertile soil from which he can reap a vast harvest... at the University of Kentucky. Geez. Another farming analogy. I don't know what my deal is lately. I swear we're not all hicks in the South, people. We're gangsters.

Anyway, the move obviously wasn't about money. As his daughter quickly follows up, Cal would've gotten more money if he had stayed. This is probably where Fred Smith and the other big boosters come into play. Rumor has it they stopped by the Calipari residence Monday night and offered him the change leftover in their pockets, and by change I mean the kind of money that makes our pick-pocketing new president salivate. Obama was so happy about the money Calipari was going to receive that he went and splurged on a new iPod to give to the Queen of England. Isn't that super rad and hip of our president?

So after the obligatory suck-up comments from the "follow your dream" crowd, we get a somewhat disconcerting message from Little Miss Cal... "and memphis treats him like this? obviously it was the right decision." Eck. As mad as I am about the Rape and Pillage of the Memphis Tigers, her message made me feel strange.

On the one hand, thousands and thousands of Tiger fans could respond similarly with, "and cal treats us like this? obviously it was bushleague." They would be correct. The upcoming year has been heralded as the Tiger's prize after so many years of coming up short. Four years of making it to at least the Sweet 16... The supposed new schedule with some combination of Kansas, Duke, UNC, Louisville... Oh, yes, and the number one recruiting class in history. These are the stories that kept many fans devout through the first couple rough months of this past season. Even the loss to Missouri was seen as merely the last speed bump until the Year of the Tiger, when everything in Memphis falls into place.

Then two days after John Calipari lands in Memphis, he becomes the highest paid coach in NCAA basketball... at Kentucky. Sweet 16s? Probably done. Formidable out of conference match-ups? Definitely done. Number one recruiting class in history? Either heading to Kentucky or breaking up and moving in different directions. After all the years of Calipari tickling the ears of Tiger fans, this is what the Year of the Tiger has become. Disaster.

On the other hand, Megan Calipari may have a point. Where was Memphis before John Calipari? Not quite circling the drain, but looking up at plenty of teams (most of whom managed to escape the CUSA by 2005). While it took several years to build, Calipari had Memphis believing. The belief was validated by success in the NIT and then great success in the NCAA tournament.

So do Tiger fans have the right to hate on Calipari? Hate is such a strong word for someone who gave Memphis so many good memories. There is definitely room for bitterness and anger, as he's leaving the program barely better than he found it. Yet, something unique happened during Calipari's career here. The city rallied behind the team. The people supported the team. Local businesses and business people fought to keep the team happy and successful. In this sense, Calipari is leaving the program in better shape than he found it. He's leaving it in the hands of so many people who so passionately want to rally behind the team. While the anger and grumbling may last for a short time, the hope for the success of the Memphis Tigers is alive and well. We will respond. While this may not quite be the Year of the Tiger, it may become the Year of the Tiger Fan.


Cal Cheats the System, So Should You: Future NBA Players

Let’s face it Memphis fans, if it weren’t for the NBA’s One-Year rule Memphis would have never seen the likes of Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, Dajuan Wagner, Darius Washington, or Shawne Williams. All 5 star recruits according to Recruiting the one-year-warranty players is just one of John Calpari’s tricks of the trade that he’ll teach you at his $200 a plate “A Night with Coach Cal” dinners. Who knows, had this rule always been in place Kendrick Perkins and Amare Stoudemire would have worn Memphis blue.

But just as Cal put the dribble-drive offence on the map in college hoops, he has also created a new field of study for future NBAers: One and Doneology; using your one year in college not to study fine arts or get a Facebook page, but to hone your craft to fit perfectly into an NBA style offence. Smart. Effective. Sneaky. It’s a trade off. You give me one year on my team and a championship scare, and I’ll make you a top draft pick, Mr. Rose.

In a time when the NCAA is literally making billions off of “amateur” athletes, who aren’t allowed to accept gifts or endorsements, who’s to say that Cal isn’t just beating them at their own game. As proven by this week’s events, contracts mean nothing anymore; Letters of Intent are just that, intent. “Ok, coach, you can go to Kentucky, even though you signed a new contract last year making you the second highest paid coach in NCAA basketball, behind a man that actually won a National Championship, make that two.” What are contracts these days besides pay stubs? LOI are just hype to talk about in the pre-season. College basketball recruiting this year is more like the NBA draft: speculation, chatter, rumors, repeat.

And Cal played us all, holding his cards close to his chest, and always looking for that step up. He sold himself this time. He did what he could to follow his dream: to coach at Kentucky. Turns out Memphis was just his one and done stop as well. Just like D-Rose, Cal just went number one in the draft.

sources:,,, my brain



Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Fed Ex Forum remains dry

Bruce Pearl will continue sweating through his sport coats in Knoxville as he negotiated a new deal with Tennessee according to

Another update, Tim Floyd did not go to Arizona but instead is staying at USC.
In the meantime R.C. Johnson has now moved off campus because of "constant media interest" as he "searches for a new coach" in other words as he plays Halo 3 in his 145 yr old mother's attic. Will we ever get a coach?


It has come to my attention that in the aftermath of our basketball program being strip mined, an opportunity has presented itself. Apparently Lexington believes we are holding some semblance of a garage sale here in the Bluff City. They have laid claim to our former coach, our former assistant coaches, a few of our recruits, a few of our current players, 1-2-3 Fox 13 News reporters, and a door... The Door... OUR DOOR! OUR FREAKING DOOR! But a brilliant Facebook group has thought of an ingenious way to take advantage of Kentucky's sticky fingers. Their thinking is that while Lexington is taking all the good stuff, why not give them some of our trash as well. The group "Willie Herenton for Mayor of Lexington, KY" is selling t-shirts with "HERENTON FOR MAYOR OF LEXINGTON" written in blue on the front... Perfect!

These awesome shirts are going for $15 a piece and the group description says half the proceeds will go to charity. I saw this and thought ballers of this magnitude deserve a TOD shout out. The group is focusing on King Willie right now... no official word yet on if they plan on attempting to move Janice Fullilove or Ophelia Ford. Join that group, shake the haters off and get yo'self better educated with some new threads.

Come on Tiger fans, we need our swagger back now. We've had 2 days to mourn, now lets pick ourselves up and rebuild our program together. Tiger Nation, assemble!

A Break From the Basketball Madness...

Wanted to give a couple of Tiger Football players to watch out for in the NFL Draft this year. These are the numbers posted on pro day by OL Brandon Pearce and DL Clinton McDonald according to Gil Brandt of


Twelve team representatives were present to watch 15 players work out outdoors on a Tartan track. Here were the two notable prospects:

OT Brandon Pearce (6-5 5/8, 310 pounds) ran a 5.31 and 5.35 in the 40, had a 26½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot, 6-inch broad jump, a 4.78 short shuttle, a 7.77 three-cone drill and did 23 bench press reps.

DT Clinton McDonald (6-2, 283 pounds) ran a 4.89 and 4.83 in the 40, had a 38-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump, a 4.50 short shuttle, a 7.25 three-cone drill and did 36 bench press reps. He looked good and definitely helped himself.

– Gil Brandt



We at TOD are little skeptical of there being any truth to the Bruce Pearl offer. I'm not saying they won't, but that there isn't an offer out there yet. I think we are going after someone with a little more "WOW" first.


To update on Pearl, a credible recruiting site, Zagsblog, believes Pearl will be contacted by Memphis today.

Rocky Top Talk is basically taking the bullet for Pearl coming to Memphis already...


The Pistolier's Pick

Rumors have been flying that Rick Pitino could be plucked from Loserville. Reasoning is that we could offer him more money and we would be willing to include a provision in his contract allowing his son, Richard, to take over when Pitino retires or dies. Pitino is a proven winner, a good recruiter, and a big name, but, he seems pretty comfortable basking in the self-appointed glory of a BCS conference. A article even quotes a source who says there is "No way in hell" Pitino would come here. The same article also suggests Mr. Pat Summitt would come if offered the money. Please no.

So whats a spurned school who has already flashed their cash to do? I think we would all be in agreement that John Calipari did an excellent job coaching here (and an excellent job raping us on the way out) to get an idea of what will be the best fit here lets look at Calipari's basic blueprint when he came to Memphis in 2000:

  • Played 4 years of college ball (2 at UNC Wilmington, 2 at Clarion U)
  • 6 years as an assistant coach (3 at Kansas, 3 at Pitt)
  • 8 years as head coach at UMass where he won 6 A-10 regular season championships and 5 A-10 tournament championships. Went to the 1996 Final Four with the help of Marcus Camby
  • 2+ years as head coach of the New Jersey Nets (72-112) .391
  • 1 season as assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Age when hired at Memphis: 41
  • Previously stated he would like to coach at: Kentucky
Now, there is one name somewhat hidden in the mix that more or less fits this profile. His hiring might not have the tsunami wave impact UofM administration wishes for, but I can see him doing a tremendous job here. He is a program builder, a proven recruiter, and a very good basketball player in his own right. Also, he is quite a bit older than Calipari was when he came and his threat to leave is considerably less prestigious than Kentucky.

His name is Reggie Theus. Let's take a look...

No! No! No! At his resume! ....C'mon man! Hide the women and children.

There, that's better. Now, his street cred...
  • 3 years of college ball at UNLV, led them to the 1977 Final Four and, please sit down first Tiger fans, shot 81.8% from the free throw line.
  • 9th pick of the 1978 draft, Rookie of the Year runner-up
  • 13 years in the NBA, 2-time All-Star
  • 2 years as assistant coach at Loserville, was Loserville's top recruiter, CUSA regular season and tourney titles in 2005 leading to a Final Four appearance.
  • 2 years as head coach at New Mexico State, turned team from 6-24 in 04-05 before he arrived to 16-14 in 05-06 ...5th best turnaround in D-1 history. They went 25-9 in 06-07 and won the WAC and a NCAA tourny bid. Recruited 5-Star prospect Herb Pope to NMSU beating out Memphis, Loserville, Pitt, and Texas.
  • 1+ year as head coach of the Sacramento Kings (44-62) .415
  • Current age: 51... older you are less likely you are to use us as a launchpad for another school
  • Previously stated he would like to coach at: his alma mater UNLV... he has applied and been rejected twice. But, Memphis would drink UNLV's milkshake anyday.
So that is Reggie Theus as a coach. Theus off the court is equally as impressive. After retiring from his playing days, he spent almost 10 years as an actor and basketball television analyst so he knows how to put on a good show and knows how to deal with the media. He is also very involved in charitable organizations where ever he goes, including: the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, NBA's Stay in School program, and Reggie Theus' Trikes for Kids. He is also happily married with 3 kids.

So, while maybe not the big name everybody is looking for, he's almost the same product with the same potential as Cal had when he came. For this reason, Reggie Theus is my pick for the UofM coaching job.

Sources: and

Another one bites the dust

According to Tim Floyd, coach of USC men's basketball, is accepting the head coach position at the University of Arizona.
Hey RC wanna get goin on that whole "i'm gonna get a great coach" thing?

The Hangover

We normally like to keep the Tomb full of Tigers, but I thought this video clip was oddly appropriate. First of all, it's called The Hangover and if we can find some comfort in anything with that title, I think it's a positive step forward. Secondly, it's just hilarious. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

University of Memphis Athletic misDirector RC Johnson has stated there are 3 to 5 candidates he has on a so-called "Wow List" to succeed John "The Grass is Bluer on the Other Side" Calipari. No mention of any specific names have been made but rumors abound.

Here is a list of 11 names which have echoed through the Tomb with frequency as of late. We would like to know your order of preference or projection, so leave us a comment and give us your top 3 and the flawless logic behind your choices.

Bob Knight
Tim Floyd
Sean Miller
Avery Johnson
Bruce Pearl
Tony Barbee
Derek Kellogg
Rick Pitino
Nolan Richardson
Reggie Theus
Oliver Purnell

WWW... The Basketball World at Calipari's Fingertips...

William Wesley, better known as World Wide Wes, orchestrates a lot of behind the scenes basketball finagling. Check out Clay Travis' site because you can check it without feeling like a girly man.

Through... The Door.

I got in "The Door"

As news that Cal would make a final appearance in Memphis before making camp in Fort Knox until the attention and death threats die down, I decided I'd quench my thirst for answers first hand at the Press Conference scheduled for 12 noon in the Athletic Building. The Police blocking the street we're a bit of a give away that security would be tight, but nevertheless, I ventured on. As some of you know I am no stranger to the cuffs. After making my way past one road block I got to the parking lot and made my way for the front door. I called the Athletic office and learned that the press conference was closed to the public, and a press pass is required for entry... Silly rabbit, rules are for kids. I gained my entry through the side door, know to some simply as "The Door". There I told the Police officer guarding said door that I was a student worker from the Admissions Office and I was here to pick up baseball tickets. He took the bait. Hindsight being 20/20 I should have hid in the bathroom or stairs until about 11:50 when the festivities began, but alas I was found out. A person I can only describe as a very intimidating University of Memphis Bouncer asked me for my credentials and as the sweat poured I stuttered my story out again. He didn't buy it. Before being escorted out by U of M 5-0 I heard an announcement around 11:20 that Cal would NOT be attending the Press Conference because of travel plans. Immediately camera equipment starting flying, RC went into hair/makeup, and speeches started being written. Some reporters left after hearing that Cal planned to hold his own press conference upon arrival in Memphis, at his home, the Mini-Pink-Palace. In review, I was told to leave the campus and escorted out "The Door" and received the boot. A flawed but valiant effort to get the scoop for the Tomb of what Cal hath bestowed upon us... Doom.

In further news Cal is reportedly spending his entire 2 million dollar signing bonus to cover security from the local chapter of The Bloods Street Gang, in leu of relying on the great Memphis Police Department to get him to his house for his personal press conference. After arrival it is up in the air whether or not we, the public, can pay off the Bloods to do a drive-by on the Cal Castle before the Benedict Arnold disciple can try and say his goodbyes. I'll offer up my Hamilton to hire a hit on him. Do your part as a Tiger Fan to make sure this happens.

-Thanks to JHob for having more balls than Calipari to actually show up at a Memphis press conference. Also, thanks for the details. Hilarious.

Coach Cal speaks....

Coach Cal just held a press conference outside his home. He had a lot of carefully crafted things to say "the future is bright for this program" and yet never mentioned anything about taking our current players and our recruits with him. We will be posting a more in depth look at this interview later today but in the mean time sound off below your reaction to what he had to say!

Hear It Here First

I'm going to go ahead and throw out a name not being discussed much. Avery Johnson as next basketball coach at Memphis. Let's see if this takes off. I'm aware it is April Fools Day, but we will call this an educated guess since un-named sources don't mean anything anymore.


Say what?!

R.C. Johnson, Athletic Director for the University of Memphis, just completed a press conference where he said........nothing. He commended Coach Cal on the job he had done and wished him the best. And then said we are looking for a new, great coach. All the while dodging many questions about particular coaches and other details we actually tuned in to see.
Coach Cal was reportedly not there because of delays in Lexington. He will be having a press conference at his home in about an hour at 1:30 pm. I wonder if he will have the same enthusiasm as he did in Lexington?

Cal Has Always Bled Blue

Just not Tiger Blue. This morning at a press conference in Lexington, Calipari revealed that since 1992, he has dreamed of coaching the Wildcats. "..."but this has been a dream for me since 1992." UMass had played Kentucky at Rupp Arena that year. "I could not believe the environment," Calipari said. "At that point, I said to myself, 'I would love to come here one day.'"

So, what exactly is coach Cal saying? Is he saying that Memphis fans weren't crazy enough about our Tiger basketball? Oh, we're crazy. Later in the press conference, Cal revealed the real reason behind his departure:

"I cannot tell you how excited I am to be here, how hard the decision was because of what I left behind, and you have to understand, I left alot behind. But to come here and have an opportunity and add to the wall. Can you imagine? They don't put banners up here for anything else except national champions. That's why you want to coach here. We want to compete every year, and hopefully add to this wall."

John Calipari left because of a wall. Not just any wall, the Joe Craft Center wall, a wall with banners, with colors. Memphis' wall wasn't good enough. Was it the colors, or the shapes, buddy?

One more thing to add/ask. Why hasn't Cal publicly addressed the University of Memphis, or the city, or the crazy but not as crazy as the ones UK has fans? You owe us, Cal. We believed in you, we supported you, and we never questioned you. You brought in players who slapped their girlfriends around, who smacked fans upside the head, and who thought that in some sort of historical revision Goliath could beat David. We didn't care, we loved them, and we loved you. Apparently your ego doesn't care that we're all angry that you've destroyed our program, that you've gutted us so deep. Good luck at Kentucky. We may have just become Pitino's biggest fans.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Mass Exodus Continues...

Let my people go, Calipari.

Our guido is gone, our Spoon is gone, now our recruits are gone. Tough day to be a Tiger.


Mike Anderson just signed a new, 7-year deal with the University of Missouri.


"Escape from Memphis" starring John Calipari

It's official. John Calipari is no longer the coach of the great Memphis Tiger Basketball Organization. As I type this, Coach Cal is on his way to the University of Kentucky to be announced as the new head coach of men's basketball and badminton. There has been no mention of a press conference scheduled in Memphis (as of yet). I honestly never thought that when he left it would have happened this way.
We will be posting articles later covering potential new coaches, existing players and their roles, potential recruits, and Preston Laird's rise to the top. So check back soon but for now please sound off (with a comment) about how you feel with this departure.

At least we still have...

The Door.

the tomb in your pocket (that sounds awkward)

You might say to yourself, "Self, I wish there was an way to follow the tomb of doom blog on my blackberry or iPhone." Well I wish you would come down from that ledge my friend because I will show you how to make this dream of yours a reality.
iPhone Users:
One day you will have to grow up and get a blackberry but until you do there are many RSS readers available in the app store. I have read many different blogs on the matter and even had my wife download this application and it is a great application and well worth the Jefferson it will cost you (thats two dollars, history drop out). It's called Manifesto.

The application is very user friendly and simple. You can subscribe to any number of blogs or sites. You can even add our own As the blogs and sites are updated your iphone will be updated and the application will let you know from the icon on your home-screen what stories are new and you can even save the stories for later.

Probably my favorite feature of this application is that there are two viewing options in Manifesto. One view is an easy to read text view and the other is the original website layout. You can view the original layout without opening your browser! By not opening your browser it allows you to quickly go back to your RSS listings.
The main downside (which my wife doesn't care about and you might not either) is that when you close the program and reopen it all the read stories automatically are cleared from your list. So if you see an article you will want to read later or re-read then you must flag it and it will be saved. Again this does not bother my wife but it bugs me.
Overall the program itself is solid and so easy to use it will make you slap yo' momma or an authoritative female figure in your life. So pick it up here and start following the Tomb on your iPhone now.
Blackberry Users:
I know that you have already figured out how to read RSS with your superior minds. But just incase you are on the fence about which RSS application to put onto your beautiful blackberry, I am here today to testify on behalf of Viigo.

Viigo is an awesome and FREE application for your blackberry that allows readers to follow their favorite sites and blogs on the go, view the weather, sport scores, stocks and finance news, local interest, and a butt load more. The application will list all of your sites and blogs on one screen and show a number on the right side for unread items. Also when the site is updated and has new articles uploaded a small star will appear on the feed (as shown above). You also have the option to save the articles as well. You can even send the article through email, twitter, or while in the program.
Bottom line this application is incredible and I can't believe this application is free! Maybe it won't be free when they start adding podcasts to it, which by the way they are! So get it right now here and start following the Tomb from your blackberry. Do it. Do it.

Flight Information

A flight plan for this flight had a scheduled departure from Memphis at 5:16pm central and an estimated arrival to Blue Grass (KLEX) at 6:14pm central.

John Calipari is the New Head Coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Just announced by Dan Wolken on ESPN.


To the Airport...

John Calipari and his family are en route to the airport. He'd have to be a supreme jerk to go to the airport just to say that he is staying. I say good day.

Let's Think for a Minute

Wouldn't the deal be announced already if it was done? I won't trust a thing unil I hear from Cal or an official announcement from one of the universities. Even the "credible" news sources are acting like message boards. I think you can only trust that he is undecided. The longer this continues, the better it is for Memphis. Which is why Kentucky has sent a plane according to Fox 13. I believe that the "tin man" may be in the process of finding his heart. Let's send the plane back empty.


The Latest

According to Memphis news stations, John Calipari has decided to forsake the University of Memphis to coach basketball at the University of Kentucky.

The Latest

Action News 5 (who apparently is on our side) is reporting that coach cal met for donuts with some friends this morning and told them he was going for a drive around memphis to make his decision. Lets hope the donuts were warm, the traffic was good, and he drove around the parts of memphis that go in magazines not the parts that go on COPS.

Don't Hate the Playa, Hate the Guy that Flubbed This Up

Now that I have had a day to step back and reflect on the freight train known as the Cal to Kentucky rumor mill, I am a little more understanding of the coach's situation. It is absolutely amazing that R.C. Johnson has been able to hang on at our beloved university as long as he has. This is a man that may not have cost us getting into the Big East the last time the conferences re-shuffled, but he certainly didn't do anything to help. While other AD's are beating down the doors and brown-nosing, R.C. sent some very nice and informative pamplets.

If you want to have a perfect picture painted on what R.C. does, just look at who is mentioned in the Commercial Appeal articles as talking with Cal all afternoon and evening. Fred Smith and Billy Dunavent to name a couple of guys that we can count on. In none of the articles do you see any mention of R.C. Johnson fighting his balls off to keep the coach that has built us into a national title contender. Don't make a mistake, while Johnson holds the title of Athletic Director, the lifeblood of the Athletic Department are men such as Fred Smith, Alan Graf, Billy Dunavent, and John Calipari. R.C. is merely a stooge we parade in front of a microphone to announce the dealings of the previously listed men. Can you name another school that doesn't involve the AD when they are about to make one their coaches the highest paid in his field?

Now back to the rumor that I believe has the most credibility. Kentucky outlined the terms of their offer to Cal this past Sunday. Cal then comes to R.C. with Kentucky's offer and asks if he will match it. R.C. says this is as close as we can get. Cal is insulted that R.C. has put so little effort into matching an offer from one of the top basketball programs of all time (Kentucky). Cal is ready to accept the Kentucky offer (i.e. players meeting on Monday morning). Fred Smith and Co. get wind of how bad R.C. has flubbed this up and tell him to sit down and shut up, and this is why we are begging our coach to stay for an offer that is as good if not better in terms of money as Kentucky.

We will find out today the future of our basketball program and possibly our athletic program today. If this rumor is true, I look for a new athletic director in the near future for our university.

And that's all I've got to say about that (<--so R.C. can understand that I'm done talking now).


Welcome to The Rash, a brand-spankin' new Tomb Of Doom column about stuff that just rubs me the wrong way, thus inducing a rash.

Today's rash-er: The University of Kentucky (Which is, by the way, not a United STATE, but rather a Communist Commonwealth)

You know those internet t-shirt stores, the ones that sell the t-shirts with the catchy, popular, cliche, ironic, or misinterpreted phrases and/or pictures? They all sell basically the same shirts and all serve the same purpose... to give attention-starved persons an affordable way to draw attention to themselves. Well there has always been one shirt slogan in particular that I previously had never understood... "I drink your milkshake". It was not until this weekend that I realized that slogan was from a very good movie, one which I own: There Will Be Blood. I would not have guessed that a phrase seeming so awkward and strange out of context, would come from a movie like There Will Be Blood.

Towards the end of the movie, after many years have passed from the start, oilman Daniel Plainview is visited in his home bowling alley by fantastical local preacher Eli Sunday. Veiled as a conversation of reflection on the past, Sunday quickly turns the conversation to one of business, suggesting that his Church of the 3rd Revelation could aid Plainview in accessing valued land. Plainview flips the script and informs Sunday that since he owns and is drilling on all the land around the tract of land in question, he has already sucked up the oil on the tract through drainage. Plainview starts berating Sunday and says "Drained dry, you boy! If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and I have a straw and my straw reaches acroooooooooss the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!"

Let me tell you somethin people, we have a very very good basketball program here at the University of Memphis, but apparently the University of Kentucky has a basketball program too (?) and they also have a straw and today their straw crossed the line... my state line, my county line, my King Willie imposed city limit line and they drank my Coach Cal milkshake. THEY DRANK IT UP! ...and I hope they aspirate on it. And they will when they realize that Cal mostly recruits so-called "thugs" with the promise that he can send them to the NBA where they can make millions and buy their mom the car and house she never had. The University of Kentucky is too proud to embrace players like that. They only want talent that fits seamlessly in their storied history without causing a wrinkle. They will not fully embrace Cal's recruits the way Memphis does. We do not care where they came from, or if they have taken a broken road to get here, or if they have trouble while they are here. We empathize with them, we unconditionally cheer for them... on and off the court, we develop a love for them, and we pray for them.

See, if the South is the Bible belt, then Memphis is the .45 tucked into that belt. We have mega-churches and Three 6 Mafia, Rendezvous Ribs and Pirtle's Chicken, city and county schools, folks here are just as likely to take their sidearm with them to church as they are their Bible, and we have #1 overall NBA Draft Picks who play alongside prostitute solicitors and pot smokers. We're a city so divided but one that jumps at anything giving us the chance to come together... and that has always been Memphis Tiger Basketball. You drank our milkshake Kentucky, and the whole city will mourn for a short time when the last drop is finally gone. But we'll order a new milkshake, Kentucky, and after it gets warmed up a lil bit, we'll pour the contents on your derby hat and throw the glass at your head. WE ARE, WE ARE... Memphis. And that is the cause of The Rash today.

-The Pistolier

Monday, March 30, 2009

To Round Out the Circus...

I'd like to welcome our second and third new bloggers to the Tomb. The Pistolier is a bubbling wellspring of Tiger pride, creative chops and sick, white-boy raps.
Blake Butler is the one and only, former stronghold of the offensive line that blocked for DeAngelo Williams in the heyday of Memphis Tiger football. Welcome, P and Blake!

The Rape and Pillage of the Memphis Tigers...

Coming off the plane from the Tigers Sweet Sixteen loss to Missouri, John Calipari told reporters... "I want to be here. This is where I want to coach."

And Memphis fans everywhere heave a sigh of relief.

What we should have been listening to was a few sentences later... "I'm so tired right now."

Sure, the guy is tired. It's been a whirlwind season... Probably one of the better seasons as far as John Calipari's coaching and his effort are concerned. But John Calipari wasn't talking about being tired. He wasn't talking about his feelings on the Sweet Sixteen. What John Calipari was truly talking about were the things he left unsaid...

"I'm not entirely committed to this program."

"I always have my eye on the next big prize."

"I will go down in NCAA history no matter who I must step on or over to do so."

As soon as I heard that initial Fox13 interview, dread welled up inside of me. When John Calipari said he wants to coach in Memphis, it sounded just like a star college athlete, fresh on the heels of losing the big game, who never directly addresses questions about declaring for the draft. John Calipari sounded just like the star who, right after losing the Super Bowl, is approaching free agency, but declines to comment on that after the big game.

What I really needed to hear as a Tiger fan is the message Gator fans across the nation received the day before... "In response to the rumors circulating about my interest in other jobs, I wanted to address this as quickly as possible. I am committed to the University of Florida and look forward to continuing to build our program here.” - Billy Donovan

Thank you, Billy Donovan. A man who has previously turned down big jobs, turned down the NBA, a man who is truly leading his players and fans. Thank you for being upfront, upright and direct.

We received no such response from John Calipari. Upon noticing that little sin of omission, my heart sank quite a bit.

John Calipari is a politician before he is a coach. Take what you will from that in regard to his coaching abilities. It has long been said that if he ran for mayor of Memphis, he'd win in a landslide. That's how John Calipari convinced Dajaun Wagner, Sean Banks, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, and supposedly Xavier Henry, Demarcus Cousins and John Wall to join the gimpy Conference USA to play at the University of Memphis. That's how John Calipari scored air-time on major networks. That's how Nike, FedEx and pretty much the whole dad gum city of Memphis came to be Tiger faithful.

The greatest ability of a politician is positioning. Normally, I'd make a Kama Sutra joke here, but I'm too depressed. John Calipari has positioned his way into success, both for the University of Memphis and himself. Whether that success be wins, raises or recruits, John Calipari knows how to sell himself and sell the crew signing his paychecks.

John Calipari seems to get a raise each year, whether that be money, years, perks, concubines. I recently asked myself, "Where does it stop?" Why, Lexington, KY, of course.

I've heard several arguments on how John Calipari was able to get away. Some believe that Conference USA couldn't contain John Calipari any longer. Some say John Calipari is simply a money-grubbing whore who ripped out the heart of a city. It was hard to disagree with that once I learned that UK offered John Calipari a 8-year, $35 million dollar job (higher than most NBA coaches).

I am inclined to agree with the theory that John Calipari, at his most sincere, longs to be in the spotlight. John Calipari longs to be mainstream. He may have said it best himself when he told Fox13, "I'm so tired right now." John Calipari is tired of having to fight and claw his way onto ESPN, Fox's The Best Damn Sports Show, AP and USA Today polls, and the front pages of every sports related show and website in existence. John Calipari's ferocious ego has finally outgrown the city of Memphis. Now that he has pooped all over our pasture, John Calipari is moving on to more expansive lands. In Kentucky, there will be more than enough cud for John Calipari to chew on. I decided to go with the farmland analogy in honor of Kentucky. I don't know if there are farmers, pastures or cud in Kentucky, but I like to think so.

Sadly, John Calipari won't be going to Kentucky alone. He'll take most of his posse from here in Memphis. He'll take at least two current players, Roburt Sallie and Wesley Witherspoon, who've told friends they are transferring. He'll take most of the number one recruiting class of all time with him, a class that the city of Memphis has been buzzing about for months. Most importantly, he'll take the pride that he'd built with the people and in the city of Memphis, dash it on the asphalt, reckoning our program as nothing more than a stepping stone upon which he was able to elevate himself to the so-called basketball elite.

While we wait for the heart-breaking news conference, telling everyone what we already know and fear, I am grateful for what John Calipari has done while in Memphis. He has consistently talked about the great city of Memphis, the love for the Tigers, and how much the city needs the Tigers to represent them. He has always been a strong proponent of all things Memphis and worked to be accepted by the community, rather than just coaching basketball. Based on that fact alone, his accomplishments and constant good-will toward the city are completely overcast by the manner in which John Calipari is leaving. He is treading on the name and image that he tried so hard to raise up, mocking Memphis for the sake of elevating himself to NCAA elitism. Regardless of the good times, John Calipari's exodus is filthy and despicable. For Memphis fans all around, today is the day Coach Cal becomes nothing more than John Calipari.

say it isn't so

As I am sure all of you know by now, Coach John Calipari is in talks with the University of Kentucky about potential becoming their new basketball coach. Suicide hotline traffic all over Memphis has never been higher. It is unknown whether or not Coach Cal will make an announcement today or not about his future (or lack thereof) in Memphis. So I would like to tell all you faithful tiger fans why his leaving would not just be bad for us but also bad for Coach Cal.
We all know the main two reasons our beloved Coach Cal is considering a move to the inbred state that perches on top of our fine state; publicity and money. Kentucky has always been a powerhouse in college basketball. It is the winningest school in NCAA history and is second only to UCLA for NCAA National Titles. So even when Kentucky is blowing it; i.e. this year; we still see them on Sportscenter, hear about them on talk radio, and read about them in magazines as they fall clumsily into the NIT. But Calipari can be coaching the Memphis Tigers to another NCAA record setting season and only be featured as a footnote in Out Magazine.
And of course there is the money. The University of Memphis is....well....the University of Memphis. We haven't been a college dynasty that has had money poured into it for years and years to keep our reputation of athletic excellence alive and well. Now that is not to say that as of late this hasn't been happening. Because it most certainly has been happening as the city of Memphis has been going crazy for their tiger basketball program. But we have a long way to go to catch up to the money poured into Kentucky athletics over the years. So yes, I don't doubt that Kentucky can offer him more money. But if I can get on my soap box for a minute; how much money does one person need?! He is the second highest paid coach in the NCAA. He makes somewhere around 4 million a year from the school. That doesn't include his restaurant, appearances, and the gifts people give him because he is Calipari. I just want to warn our Coach; in the words of the Notorious BIG "Mo' money Mo' problems." Which brings me to Kentucky......
Obviously Calipari leaving us behind will hurt our future draftability (thanks Bud Light) and there is an excellent chance that the prospects he has already received a verbal commitment from will become wildcats instead of tigers. But Calipari leaving Memphis will hurt Calipari too. First of all he is loved here. I mean really loved here. He is creating a legacy in Memphis. No coach in Memphis history will be remembered like Coach Cal. No offense to Larry Finch or Dana Kirk. Coach Cal is an icon. Don't get me wrong he will be liked in Kentucky, maybe even loved but he will never become an icon in Kentucky like in Memphis.
Secondly think about basketball. He is guaranteed 25-30 wins a season while in the C-USA and will always make great runs for the Title as long as talent keeps flowing into Memphis. Which it has the past few years and will continue to; as made evident by next year's all star class that Memphis has lined up. Why leave that?! Even if we lose in the first round of the NCAA tourney or we miss the tourney and end up in the NIT no one is going to kill him! He is loved and he is trusted to bounce back or make adjustments in the off season to get them back in it next year. If Coach Cal goes in as the new guy and throws up 19 or 20 win seasons in a tougher conference than C-USA then not only will the fans being calling for his head, but Kentucky's powers that be will bounce him just like Gillispie!
Coach Calipari is a great college basketball coach. He has made it easy to be a tiger fan lately. He has put Memphis on the map and brought in ridiculous talent. I truly believe that he has the capabilities to be successful anywhere. But Memphis is where he has the opportunity to be an icon (and win a heck of a lot of games and maybe a few championships in the meantime).
So Coach Cal, say it isn't so.

Come One, Come All...

I'd like to welcome a new blogger to the Tomb. He is an avid Tiger fan. He is raw, edgy and opinionated... like the TMZ of Tiger basketball.... except that he is cool. He is Grant.

His first post was right before this. I can't figure out how to reorder the $&*@ posts.