A Toast to Nick Van Exel

A Toast to Nick Van Exel


-The Beercat

Earlier this week the University of Cincinnati inducted former basketball stand out Nick Van Exel into the UC Sports Hall of Fame. For you younger UC fans that weren’t around yet Van Exel averaged 15.2 pts and 3.6 ast during his two seasons as a Bearcat from 1991 to 1993. He left his mark at UC while  leading the Bearcats to the 1992 NCAA Final Four as a junior. As a senior he averaged 18.3 pts and 4.5 ast earning third team all-America honors and was named a finalist for the John Wooden Award for the nation’s top player. Van Exel was drafted in the second round (37th overall pick) by my LA Lakers in the 1993 NBA Draft.

Former UC and Lakers alumni Corie Blount captured some of his speech from the ceremony

Nick the Quick was a JUCO transfer out of Trinity Valley Community College in Texas a school he had to go to for poor high school grades. After 2 years in central Texas he was ready to leave. He took 32 credit hours one semester to be eligible and transfer, he would become a Bearcat.

Once he came to UC he lived in the gym over the summer until he was eligible in the fall. I’m not talking about a cliché like how much he practiced or extra hours in the gym. I’m talking about all of his belongings in a bag and literally sleeping in the gym.

He was just the type of player Coach Bob Huggins would recruit and Exel with (see what I did there?). He could ball with the best of them but needed to prove himself in the classroom and the way he carried himself. Admittedly, the later took him a while to figure out.

Van Exel played in the NBA from 93-06. He averaged 14.4 points and 6.6 assists. He did his most damage as a Laker and a Nugget. He also spent time in Dallas, Golden State, and San Antonio.

“A leader, fierce competitor, explosive athlete and the Toast of Kenosha” are just a few ways that people have described his game. He was super quick (hints the nickname), shifty, and would drive, shoot, or pass and you wouldn’t know which way to look until it was too late.  He was a bully on the court and he always got his way.

How good was he? See for yourself.

 

Congratulations Nick! It’s well deserved and long overdue ! Cheers.

Power Ranking Bearcats Quarterbacks

Ranking the Bearcats QBs since 2008


We’ve talked about the schedule and our season predictions. We’ve talked about 5 things to look for this season as well. In anticipation of the season now we’re going take a look back over the past 10 years and power rank Bearcats quarterbacks. It’s the only thing to do while we wait for 7pm on Saturday to roll around.

Since 2008 the Bearcats have had some ups and downs at the QB1. This list takes a look at the major players and ranks them accordingly.

7. Michael Colosimo

#16 in the programs showed up on the stat sheets in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He didn’t see much time under center throughout his career so why is he on the list? He’s the last Bearcats QB to throw a TD pass in a bowl game. Take that in for a second. First, realize that the Bearcats made a bowl appearance a year after he graduated. A game in which they got ran off the field against San Diego St 42-7 in the Hawaii Bowl, the single Bearcats TD came from a Mike Boone rush. So back up a year earlier in 2014 to the Military Bowl against Virginia Tech a game the Bearcats lost 33-17. An injured Gunner Kiel goes down and in steps Colosimo in a “next man up” fashion.

6. Hayden Moore

You’ll find Moore on the depth chart as QB1 again this year. First year coach Luke Fickell named Moore the starter last year and never looked back. That isn’t going to change in year two. Bearcats fans aren’t always thrilled with his performance on the field. He’s inaccurate at times and has been ok at best. Moore has thrown 40 TDs to 27 INTs as a Bearcat averaging 221 passing yards a season. He’s rushed for just 379 yards in his career. It’s been hard to swallow those pedestrian numbers when  his debut looked like this…

5. Brendon Kay 

You’ll find Kay on the roster from 2008 to 2012. Kay was the main QB in 2012 during the Butch Jones Error. See what I did there? In ’12 Kay threw 10 TDs to 2 INTs. He threw for 1300 yards that year and rushed for 306 yds. His biggest game came against Duke at the Belk Bowl. He threw for 332 yds and 4 TDs.

4. Munchie Legaux 

Legaux played for the Bearcats from 2010 to 2014. His career in Clifton was filled with adversity to say the least. He battled coaching changes and even worse a broken leg. Legaux had his biggest impact in 2012 when he threw for 1716 yards with 13 TDs and a less than stellar 9 INTs. His biggest moment came at PBS against Virginia Tech. The Bearcats won it on this TD pass.

3. Zach Collaros

In a season that would soon become the best in school history the little known Collaros was asked to step in for an injured Tony Pike for an undefeated team marching to the its second BCS bowl. He didn’t miss a beat. His career numbers are impressive. He passed for 6278 career yards and 51 TDs and 26 INTs. When Pike went down Bearcats Nation held its collective breath until…

2. Gunner Kiel

The greatest thing that could have been but never really was. When Kiel announced he was transferring to Cincinnati I was ready to name him the Cincinnati Savior. Then he hit the field against Akron and the world was on notice he was the Truth. Tommy T had his 5 star QB and Bearcats football was back. Then Tommy T phoned it in and Kiel got hurt a couple of times and it never truly materialized. Kiel torched OSU in the Shoe. It was amazing to witness live, unfortunately our D couldn’t get off the field that Saturday. Numerous times I thought Miami (OH) and Memphis got in cheap shots against Kiel that led to small injuries or time on the sideline. I hate them both. Kiel passed for 6835 passing yards. DAMN. He threw 56 TDs and 26 INTs. He finished with a career QBR of 145.5.

  1. Tony Pike

The man is a legend in Bearcats football history. He was QB1 in the 2009 undefeated regular season. He played in a cast on his non throwing hand, like a man should. He was Heisman candidate and a Carolina Panther. He threw for a career 5018 yards, 49 TDs/20 INTs. He completed about 62% of his passes and played in a tougher Big East Conference. #GOAT

 

How do you feel about our list? Let us know with a comment or on Twitter.

GO BEARCATS!

**Shout out to Nick Colosimo and others for their awesome work on You Tube and digital media in general. **

Jacob Evans the Golden State Warrior

Jacob Evans III Drafted 28th Overall


     On Thursday night in the NBA Draft the reigning world champions the Golden State Warriors selected University of Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans III with their only pick in the draft. I for one am very excited JEIII was selected by a top-notch organization. Cincinnati sports fans who follow the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t be so thrilled with where he landed but they can get over it.

Jacob “Big Game Jake” as Warrior fans will soon get to know him as is a great fit here. His pre-draft prospect card says he’s a 3 and D wing that can guard multiple positions. He has a long wingspan and has an extremely high basketball IQ. I’m not saying anything Bearcats fans don’t already know. Jake did a lot of great things at UC and I believe he’ll be a great Bearcat ambassador in the NBA now too.

Glancing at his career numbers at UC you probably won’t be too impressed. He put up respectable numbers but nothing that even matched the former UC great and undrafted Chicago Bulls player Sean Kilpatrick. In his defense though the team he played on was much better overall. JEIII played along side 2017-’18 AAC POY Gary Clark all three years, not to mention Kyle Washington, Troy Caupain, and underclassmen/ the future Jarron Cumberland. Jake did what he had to do to make his team win and that’s exactly what the did, win. During Jake’s time at UC (3 years) the team went an almost unbelievable 85-22 and 65-11 his sophomore and junior year.

Evans and the Bearcats could never make it over the hump in the NCAA Tournament though. They failed to make it out of the first round each year and none more devastating than this years loss to Nevada in the second round. One the Bearcats looked to have locked up early in the second half.

I’d have to say this is the first draft I have paid attention to since SK was supposedly going to be drafted several years back and it’s the first draft I followed along with on twitter. I have to say it was wildly entertaining. Some started to panic though when we got to the mid twenties and Jake was still on the board. The writing was on the wall though for Golden State taking Jake. A team rep had been to watch Jake on three separate occasions this past season. He also worked out for them twice, the second coming just the day before the draft.

Then, you knew it was going to happen…

Realizing Jake won’t be wearing that Cincinnati jersey next year hurts but I can’t wait to see him play for the Champs. He has that winning mentality and over the past three seasons it’s hard to pick a favorite moment I had of Jake but if I had to pick one it would have to be the buzzer beater over the Man Bun against Houston at home. I got chills watching it again, full highlights below.

Not impressive enough? How about that time in Wichita when Jacob Evans III carried the Bearcats to victory on just one leg?

So #DubNation are you ready for the next Splash Brother with some Cajun flavor? He’s going to fit in just fine with the boys!

All I need to know is which Evans III Golden State jersey I should I get?

 

Comparing Top 5 Bearcats

Earlier this week the Cincinnati Bearcats 23-2 (12-0) were voted in as the #5 team in America. It’s the highest rating under coach Mick Cronin and the best ranking of a Bearcats team since 2002. That’s 16 years! Let’s take a trip back to 2002 real quick.

The top three songs on the Billboard Top 100 were How You Remind Me by Nickelback, Foolish by Ashanti, and Hot in Herre by Nelly.

Some of the top movie of the year were Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, Gangs of New York, and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

George W. Bush was in his second year of office and I was the only Bearcat fan in Middle School. American Idol was born, IPods were new, and B Rabbit punked the entire crew from Free World. What a time!

But let’s get back to basketball.

The 01-02 Bearcats finished 31-4 (14-2) and in 1st place in C-USA. They started the season unranked but started the tournament with a 1 seed. By the end of the season they were the #2 team in the country. They were led by Steve Logan, Jason Maxiell, and Leonard Stokes. Here’s the complete roster.

This team essentially had 2 NBA talents (one of which was the CPOY and first team all American), an elite lockdown defender, a high flyer, and couple unmentionables.

The interesting thing about this team is they weren’t great in any one stat. They ranked 43rd in FG%, 94th in FT%, 7th in def Rb, and 57th in assists.

Compared to this year’s team who ranks 136th in FG%, 264th in FT%, and 49th in assists.

Those stats might seem obsure but if you want to win in March FT% is a big deal and last time I checked the only way to get points in the game of basketball is putting the ball through the hoop.

This version of the Bearcats were upset in a classic March double overtime by the 8 seed, UCLA in the second round.

Now, we know this year’s roster, the storylines, the greatness that is Gary Clark, the talent that is Jacob Evans III, the physics defying that is Kyle Washington. Right now the Bearcats stand undefeated in conference play and haven’t lost since the beginning of December.

Here’s the question for you:

If matched up head to head, who ya go?

Do you go with Hugs and his 23 ppg gaurd Steve Logan? Would Cronin and this team whose depth goes on for days be too much?

Rebounds would come at a premium in this totally made up game that obviously can never take place and is only for fun. But man, watching JEIII try to defend Steve Logan would be fun and seeing Maxiell trying to defend Washington’s left half hook would be worth the ticket.

Could the 02 team match up with Clark? What about Cumberland, who checks him? How many defenders would it take to stop Steve Logan?

Ultimately the end of the season will determine where this version of the Bearcats end up in UC history. I know they’re special and look like they’re ready for a run.

In terms of the 2002 Bearcats or the 2018 Bearcats, I know who I’d pick to win it but I want to hear from you.

’02 v. ’18 Who wins? 

 

Former Bearcat Hoppin Things Up

Kevin Youkilis is the Greek God of Hops


You almost definitely remember Kevin Youkilis the baseball player. You might remember him playing in a Bearcats uniform from 1998-2001. While at Cincinnati Youkilis was a two-time Second-Team AP All-American and First-Team All-Conference USA his junior year. He also set the UC career records for home runs (56), walks (206), slugging percentage(.627), and on-base percentage(.499). Mr. Youkilis manged to get inducted into the University of Cincinnati Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 as well.

You probably remember Youkilis the Boston Red Sox player that won two World Series. He had a very successful career in the MLB by any measure. He was a 3 time all star, Gold Glover winner, and Great Bambino curse breaker. He also once held the record for most games without an error and won the Hank Aaron Award in 2008. So yeah, the guy could play the game of baseball pretty damn well.

Somewhere along the way he took on the nickname the Greek God of Walks. Well now he’s tweaked that just a little bit.

Since he hung up his cleats in 2014 Youkilis has been working on his post baseball career. One that we at GoBeercats were super excited to hear about once we read it.

Youkilis is now the owner of Loma Brewing in Los Gatos, California. Which is in the Bay Area close to San Clara and San Jose. This could be the coolest thing we’ve ever heard of. A former Bearcats and Baseball all star to brewery owner? That’s right up our alley. From the looks of their social media accounts the place looks legit too.

In an interview with Draftmagazine.com Youkilis said he discovered craft beer after college and while playing professional baseball.

“The beer you’re drinking changes once you can afford better beer,” he says. “I realized there was really good beer out there created by smaller-producing individuals. What I loved the most was I realized I didn’t have to drink 10 beers to enjoy a night out. A couple well-made beers was more my style.”

So he partnered with his brother Scott and opened up Loma Brewing Co. As mentioned above, Kevin is used to winning awards and whatnot so would it surprise you if we said Loma Brewing won the 2017 California Commercial Beer Brewery of the Year. Well it shouldn’t because they did just that. Now, I didn’t know how prestigious that award is or whatever because it took place at the California State Fair but I do know that California as a whole has an awesome reputation for good beer so winning anything out there isn’t an easy task. After doing some research on the “competition” it turns out it’s legit and super competitive. With more than 1,488 beer entries from more than 400 breweries, the fair has become one of the largest beer competitions in the country. Only the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup are larger!

Loma Brewing Co. offers a wide range of beer styles and is well cemented into the community at this point. Appeasement IPA  is the beer that won the gold medal at the California state fair. There’s also a Kölsch, called Warren Peace, and (No Oranges Allowed) an American wheat ale that won silver in the same competition.

It looks like Loma Brewing does can some of its beers and I will be asking any establishment willing to order beers outside of the normal realm to bring anything it can to the area for GoBeercats to try. I’m looking at you Jungle Jim’s. Hopefully the pictures aren’t just of to go crowlers.

For you Untappd users there is a Wish List on our profile for an easy finding of the brewery and its beers. (@GoBeercats)

For those Bearcats fans planning on making the trip to UCLA for the Bearcats football game in September you should definitely check his place out. According to Google Maps its a mere 5+ hour drive. I’m sure it would be totally worth it.

Now, Kevin Youkilis is known as The Greek God of Hops.

Hang 22 in the (New) Shoe

Steve Logan Earned It


The issue of the Cincinnati Bearcats having the bar set way too high to retire a basketball player’s number has reemerged in the past couple of days on twitter. I’ve heard a lot of debate about this topic the last couple of years and have heard both good and bad ideas surrounding the subject. I jumped at the opportunity to ask UC Athletic Director Mike Bohn about it a while back at an alumni dinner before a game. He said something like “it’s an issue that we’re kicking around some ideas on…why who do you think should have their number retired?” Now of course I was asking him that question because I had a specific player in mind who I thought should have his number retired but I was a little surprised that Bohn shot that right back to me. I said back to him ” #22 for the great Steve Logan.”

Not having 22 hanging in the rafters is a huge mystery to me. Now if you don’t remember Logan or not old enough to have witnessed him play let me fill you in. Logan was the epitome of a Bearcat. A hard-nosed, scoring guard that could lock a player down or break their ankle as soon as look at him. One former player that I met at a book signing called Logan “pound for pound best player we’ve had at Cincinnati.” That’s pretty high regard considering the former player who said it was part of the ’92 team and spent a considerable amount of time in the NBA. Logan is also already an inductee to the University of Cincinnati Athletic Hall of Fame.

Let’s look at the numbers.

He won the Conference-USA Player of the year twice! His senior year he averaged 22pts, shot 87% from the line, and almost 6 assists. Those are conference leading numbers for Logan who the roster had listed at 6′ and 200 lbs. and if you look at him in the highlights below, 6′ was probably a little generous.

The guy was a winner. He was a sophomore the year K-Mart broke his leg but picked up right where he had left off. His senior year the Bearcats went 31-4 and 14-2 in C-USA and lead the team that had Final Four written all over it. They were a 1 seed in the tournament that year and all looked great until UCLA knocked them out (sounds recently familiar).

Logan was drafted #1 in the second round to the Warriors but never played a game. I’d love to hear what happened with that but now Logan runs a youth basketball program in Cleveland and if I’m not mistaken has a son in high school who would look awfully good in red and black if he measures up to what his dad did.

I don’t have an a good answer to Cincinnati’s number retirement problem. Some have suggested a two tier system somewhat like North Carolina has which is fine as long as we #hang22intheshoe.