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Rich get richer

So, Kirby Smart is recruiting at such a level, he's adding five stars on June 1.

Wow.

Smart's Bulldogs welcomed five-star tight end Arik Gilbert, who signed with LSU, announced he was headed to Florida, announced he was returning to LSU, flirted with more suitors than the Bachelorette, before the Marietta native settled with in-state Georgia.

Clemson five-star corner Derion Kendrick also made a transfer decision that Smart would assuredly call intelligent.

(And since it is dealing with the Bulldogs from Georgia, well, you know the rules. Here's Paschall with the nuts and bolts of the news of the day in Clarke County.)

Hey, the portal is the portal, and you guys and calls know I'm in favor of giving players freedom, especially in terms of the one-time waiver and if/when coaches leave or get fired.

(Side note: In terms of actual on-field assets, wow Georgia's two-tight-end sets of Gilbert and Darnell Washington are going to be hard to handle. There's a real chance that if they enter the draft in the same cycle, they will be TE1 and TE2 off the board, they are that talented.)

But Georgia having talent is far from an anomaly. And talent wanting to go to Athens will always be the case, whether Kirby's there or not. (Which leads to my questions about Kirby's skill set since his greatest attribute is recruiting and Georgia has recruited itself for the better part of the last 25 years. It would be like the Braves making a blockbuster deal to add a first baseman when they still have a decade of Freddie Freeman.)

Anywell, as is the case when the conversation turns to the portal and your rivals benefit from the new free agency in college sports, there is angst. (Side note: Notice how when the portal benefits your team, well, that's kids having a choice and fair, but when it means Henry 2o 2o leaves for Tuscaloosa-loosa, well, the system is rigged.)

My issue here is the timing of this thing, especially in terms of the Clemson kid. Georgia plays Clemson in three months. This kid has been in their system for the last three years.

The competitive fairness question in this one is pertinent.

But of course the NCAA and its head-in-the-sand-approach to everything has left us with very little frame work on this thing.

Why not — like every other schedule in terms of recruiting — set windows for these kids to transfer? How hard is that? Because I understand some of the uneasiness for Clemson folks in this scenario, don't you?

 

Open discussion

OK, the spinning discourse on this entire Naomi Osaka thing has predictably become a blame-game against the media, which we said last week was how this would eventually evolve.

Caveat alert: Of course mental health issues are important, and of course famous people and star athletes are susceptible to mental health pain and crisis.

But buckets, how did this get here? With Venus Williams putting the media on blast, as if the media did anything wrong in this.

We covered Osaka's social media post last week, and if you go back and re-read it, it's more of an opening salvo that puts the media on blast than a cry for help in terms of mental health. Her original stance was about the process and being indifferent — and some would say indignant — about the fines and clearly stating her disdain for dealing with the media.

Again, mental health is a real problem. I know. Multiple family members wrestle with it.

And considering the way famous athletes and famous coaches — looking at you Saban, and you Popovich — if we are truly going to discuss the mental health pressure applied during the interviewing process, well, I offer that the reporters' jobs are 10 times more mentally challenging than that of the stars.

Granted I'm biased, but tell me I'm wrong on that.

And Osaka is not dealing with the postgame NFL playoff crock pot, friends. This is tennis. Show me the last thing negative written or discussed about Osaka. Or Federer. Or Nadal. Or Venus Williams for that matter, after the former world No. 1 blanketed the press corps with what more press corps members 'praised' and said Williams' 'dropped the mic.'

"For me personally, how I cope, how I deal with it, was that I know every single person asking me a question can't play as well as I can and never will. So no matter what you say, or what you write, you'll never light a candle to me. That's how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently,"

Uh, OK. Yeah, well, I guess I could be a smart aleck and ask "What if Chris Evert is in the press room and has a question?" But that's not germane to this.

Again, mental health struggles are real, but I'm not sure how this became the media's fault — or that dealing with a media throng that 95-plus-percent of the time (at least) is fawning over the athletes and coaches, especially in tennis — or how a news conference is the crux of mental pressure for an athlete or coach who is paid millions to do their jobs better than almost everyone else on the planet in front of millions.

But, "How do you think you played today?" or "How was your conditioning in this heat?" is the stuff of a mental inquisition?

 

NBA storylines

Almost too many to name, but the league that is branded with the Logo has a full night of news Tuesday.

First, Damien Lillard is the best player most of America doesn't know about. Egad. He became the first player in NBA history with 50-plus points, 10-plus assists and 10-plus made 3s last night. Not the first Blazers player. Not the first player in a playoff game. The first — and only — player with that stat line.

Second, if we are going to forever praise Tom Brady as the best draft pick in all of draft picks, then Nikola Jokic, who went 38-11-9 to lead the Nuggets by Lillard's Blazers, going 41st overall a few years ago needs to be in the team picture with Brady.

LeBron's stinker last night is the exclamation point for which I have no answer to when it comes to the MJ or LeBron debate. Regardless of teammates on the floor or home or road or opponent, in a 2-2 series, LeBron offered a very forgettable 24-5-7 line — and did not get to the foul line — as the Lakers were housed by the Suns. Housed. His plus/minus was -24. No way MJ lets that happen.

The Nets are going to be a handful. Period. No, no one in their right mind is rooting for that bunch that is as lovable as the collection of Sotrmtroopers chasing Luke and Leia through the Death Star in the original Star Wars. But Harden-Durant-Irving and the rest of the Nets are going to be a tough out.

And, for Mader, the Hawks have a shot to bounce the Knicks tonight. War Hawks.

 

This and that

— According to Vols Wire, Kaidon Salter and Aaron Willis are back in the UT football program and participating in team activities.

— Braves played. Braves lost. Acuña homered. (I love the draft. I love Ronald. You know this. Heart emoji. Heart emoji.) Serious note here: If the Max Fried of the future is more like the Max Fried of last night than the Max Fried of 2020, well, the Braves better figure out how to score a lot of runs.

— For those who participate in the annual flag pick up at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, please know that weather has pushed the pick-up services to Friday and Saturday of this week.

— Psssttttt, Donald. Why not follow the Channel 4 News team gave Champ Kind. "Take it easy, Champ. Why don't you stop talking for awhile." "Maybe sit the next couple of plays out." Trump is reportedly telling folks he'll be in the White House by August. Geez. OK, couple of quick things. First, Trump was defeated. Agreed? Agreed. Second, Trump was defeated because of the pandemic. Period. No pandemic, and with the way the economy was humming, Trump wallops Biden. Agreed? Agreed. Third, and I have said this from the very start. Arguably Trump's biggest obstacle in his presidency was not having a single person who could tell him no. On anything. And now that he's part billionaire, part carnival barker that the media is dying to put a mic in his face, the complete vacuum of anything resembling a governor is doubly as clear.

— Man, this high school girls' track champ in Kansas did some work. In a three-hour span Tuesday, Kendra Wait won the 6A state titles in the 100, the long jump, the shot put and the pole vault. Wow, that's some diversity in excellence.

 

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way, which rule offers more of a threat to college sports as we know it, the transfer portal or the NIL issue looming July 1?

Which would be more mentally taxing, answering a question about your backhand's inconsistency or asking Saban about who will start at quarterback?

Which member of the Channel 4 News Team, Ron Burgundy, Champ Kind, Brian Fontana or Brick Tamland is the best?

As for today, June 2, let's review.

Wow, The Wire debuted on this day in 2002. Best show ever made, in my opinion, friends.

Abby Wambach is 41 today.

Lou Gehrig died on this day 70 years ago.
Rushmore of Lou. Go.

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