The Monday Rewind looks at Deion Branch's Aaron Hernandez comments, Peyton Siva's future, John Calipari's mistaken identity and other items.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It's time for the Monday Rewind. A second look at news percolating across Kentuckiana. A first look at what's ahead, too.
No reason to wait.
AARON HERNANDEZ: "GREAT GUY?"
Former University of Louisville receiver Deion Branch was known as a great teammate when he played for the Cardinals. Guys like former Cards' quarterback Dave Ragone talked about how much they enjoyed competing with Branch, who still returns to Louisville and works with youths.
Camp work is what Branch was doing in Albany, Ga., over the weekend when a reporter for the Albany Herald asked him about another friendship – Branch's friendship with former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was charged with an alleged execution-style murder last week in Massachusetts.
Branch and Hernandez have been Patriots' teammates for two seasons, and Branch said he was "shocked" to learn of the charges against Hernandez, who was led out his sprawling suburban Boston home in handcuffs last week.
But Branch said more.
Too much more?
I think so. Read on and then you decide:
"Aaron is a great guy and a great friend of mine and a great teammate," Branch told John Millikan of The Herald. "I love him to death, and it was shocking to hear his name involved in this situation. I truly hope and pray he doesn't have any dealings with it ..."
"That's my guy, man. That's my guy. It really shocked me. He was a great kid. Overall, I hope the best that he isn't involved with it and I hope he gets his name cleared, but most importantly I send my prayers and condolences out to the Lloyd family (Odin Lloyd was the victim) …"
"Nobody deserves to walk, whoever the person is that did it. Most of all what we as Americans need to understand is that is somebody's child that was a victim. That's somebody's dad, and my prayers and thoughts go out to his family and hope that they bring whoever did this to their child to justice, regardless of who it is." (Here is a link to the story.)
Branch is one of the few Patriots' players to say much more than, "No comment."
Most of the player reaction has been on Twitter. Most of it has been directed where it should be – toward the victim and his family.
I respect Branch for not deserting somebody he obviously considers a friend. Hernandez has not been proven guilty of anything.
But until the Aaron Hernandez trial rolls to its conclusion, I would retire the phrase "great guy," when discussing your former teammate, Deion – and stick to expressing sympathy to others. Your name is already showing up in a Google search for Aaron Hernandez. Not a great place to promote your next career.
Peyton Siva went 56th in the NBA Draft to the Detroit Pistons last week. What are the chances that a guy picked in that spot can have a healthy and financially rewarding NBA career?
Better than I thought.
I checked the numbers over the last 11 seasons for guys drafted at 56. Three of the 11 – Luis Scola (2002), Amir Johnson (2005) and Ramon Sessions (2007) – were still in the league last season. Each has played at least six NBA seasons. That number has been good for more than Joe DiMaggio. (He had a record 56-game hitting streak for the non-baseball crowd.)
Here are the best – and worst – performers over the last decade at the spots where Siva (56), Gorgui Dieng (21), Nerlens Noel (6), Archie Goodwin (29), Victor Oladipo (2) and Cody Zeller (4) were drafted last week.
Oladipo, second to Orlando: Best: Kevin Durant, 2007; Worst: Hasheem Thabeet (2009).
Zeller, fourth to Charlotte: Best: tie, Russell Westbrook (2008), Chris Paul, (2005); Worst: Wesley Johnson (2010).
Noel, sixth to Philadelphia: Best: Damian Lillard (2012); Worst: Johnny Flynn (2009).
Goodwin, 29th to Phoenix: Best: Toney Douglas (2010); Worst: Alando Tucker (2007).
Siva, 56th to Detroit: Best: Ramon Sessions (2007); Worst: Sasha Kaun (2008).
And, speaking of Siva, former Courier-Journal columnist and Western Kentucky grad Jerry Brewer wrote this piece for the Seattle Times after the draft (click here).
MAGIC NUMBER: 29
Kentucky basketball has stuffed the lottery during John Calipari's four seasons as the Wildcats head coach. But there is also a remarkable connection between UK and the 29th pick:
Goodwin became the fourth UK player taken at 29 since 1999. That's when the run on 29 started with Nazr Mohammed. Daniel Orton went at 29 in 2010 and Marquis Teague followed him last season.
Put your money down now. Dakari Johnson or Alex Poythress goes at 29 next season.
MAGIC NUMBER, PART TWO: 29
We'll move to football. NFL football.
According to some web sites, 29 is the number of pro football players who have been arrested since the Super Bowl. Some NFL apologists disagree. The number is wrong.
It's only 27.
That's better. Much, much better.
THE CO$T OF NEGATIVE PUBLICITY
Former U of L basketball star Terrence Williams is still waiting to publicly share his complete story about the incident that unfolded in May between Williams and the mother of their 10-year-old son. Although Williams was arrested and the initial story focused on a handgun that Williams allegedly showed, charges still have not been filed.
But there is the court of law – and the court of public opinion.
Williams can still win in the courtroom. He lost in the court of public opinion Sunday because the Boston Celtics quietly waived Williams, even though they had signed him to a contract through the 2013-14 season after Williams battled his way back into the league from China.
Forget the chance to play for a rebuilding team and earn $948,000 next season. In fact, you can forget the $200,000 bonus Williams would have earned by being on the team July 1.
In a town where the Patriots were buying back Aaron Hernandez jerseys over the weekend, Williams became a question that the Celtics no longer wanted to answer, even with a depleted roster.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving might not like hearing this news, but there's a new coach on the sidelines for the Kentucky Wildcats – Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
At least that is what one Cavs' fan who attended the NBA Draft believed. Calipari was huddled in the green room with Noel at the Barclays Center last Thursday night when a guy dressed in Cavaliers' gear asked for a picture.
But this is the way he asked: "HEY, DAN!"
Calipari quickly figured it out. "He thought I was Dan Gilbert," Calipari said in this New York Daily News story. "That's hilarious." (Here is your story link.)
ZACH PRICE ROARS INTO MIZZOU
I wish Zach Price the best at his new home – Missouri basketball. You want every guy who signs with a top-level Division I school like Louisville to get his shot to prove that he can play. It didn't work out for Price at U of L.
So my question here isn't for Price, who announced his move Sunday. It's for the good folks at the Kansas City Star, who also announced Price's arrival Sunday in this story that begins with this paragraph:
"Zach Price, who helped Louisville win a national championship in April but announced his intentions to transfer two months later, is coming to Missouri."
Zach Price did not play a minute in April. In fact, he did not play a minute in Louisville's final five games. He scored his final two points against South Florida.
That was Jan. 12.
Price might become a formidable player in Columbia. I wish him the best. But the rewrite desk at the Kansas City Star was sleeping on that one.
CHRISTIAN WATFORD: DOUBLE SESSIONS
How badly does former Indiana forward Christian Watford want to play in the NBA?
Watford has signed deals to play in the NBA Summer League for two teams – the Indiana Pacers AND the Dallas Mavericks. He'll compete with the Pacers' team in Orlando from July 7-12 and then scramble to Las Vegas to play for the Mavericks form the 12th to 22nd.
PARTING SHOT: Only 364 more days, 12 hours and 7 minutes until the University of Louisville is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.