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Ben’s Summer Thoughts: Alcoholic Beverages, Rap Beefs, and oh yeah, Marquette’s Defense, too.

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The start of a (hopefully) recurring series

adidas Creates 747 Warehouse St. in Los Angeles - An Event in Basketball Culture Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for adidas

Hi, friends. It’s been a while.

I miss college basketball. I miss talking about college basketball. I’m going to try and fill that void by talking about other stuff. There will probably be some stuff about college basketball, but there’s only so much to talk about, so I’ll mostly talk about whatever comes to mind. Let’s begin.

1. Summer Is Actually Good.

We’re starting this off with some energy. I can’t start my summer thoughts without proclaiming my love for summer. It could be that my timeline on Twitter is only a miniscule sample of public opinion, but I have seen a lot of hate towards summer in favor of winter and I am just sick of it.

We’ll start off by saying that fall is the best season. Putting on that comfort hoodie after summer is an all time feeling. But then the days get shorter and the weather goes from “nice and crisp” to “holy god this is unbearable”. This is winter.

Let’s start this at the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Go outside during the next sub-freezing day wearing shorts and a t-shirt, the ideal summer clothing. You can’t feel your fingers within 10 minutes. Go outside in jeans and a hoodie (no one in their right minds wears a winter coat by choice) in in 90 degree heat and you’re that weirdo construction worker that swears the sleeves keep you cooler somehow. You’re lying to yourself, but you’re not dying.

In your ideal summer day, it’s probably low to mid 80s in the afternoon with a light breeze and no clouds. Maybe you attend the local base ball game. Maybe you meet friends for drinks on a patio. Maybe you read outside by a pool. Maybe you take the pontoon out and play Hollywood Nights by Bob Seger on repeat. Maybe you catch fireflies at night. It’s the type of day that’s unique to summer because every city north of Chattanooga plans for everything fun to happen during warm months.

Now picture your ideal winter day. You’re either thinking of the average fall day or the first hour of the first snowfall of the year. The roads are disgusting, the sky is bleak, you can only listen to Bon Iver (actually, that’s a very good thing), you can’t check the damn mail without having to rummage for that one lost glove for 15 minutes, and almost every single winter activity is done to avoid the weather at all cost except for riding a plastic apparatus down a hill. Basketball is fantastic and I tolerate winter because of it. It’s also only a winter sport because it’s played inside. It could so easily be a summer sport (the Olympics even says it is), but summer felt bad that winter had absolutely nothing going for it.

If you live in like Phoenix, you get a pass. Summer would be unbearable and winters are essentially fall weather all around. I have an infinite amount of over thoughts, but I need to talk about other things. If you want to argue this, DM me your address so I can come fight you.

2. Marquette’s Defense Is Going To Improve Even If Wojo Does Nothing To Change It

I’m going to list the differences in height and weight from last year’s defensive starting lineup (PG: Andrew Rowsey, SG: Markus Howard, SF: Sacar Anim, PF: Sam Hauser, C: Matt Heldt) to this year’s likely one (PG: Markus Howard*, SG: Joseph Chartouny, SF: Sam Hauser, PF: Ed Morrow, C: Matt Heldt)

* - I know he’s not going to be bringing the ball up, but he’ll be guarding the opponent’s smallest guard, which is likely their point guard, so let’s all just accept this and move on.

PG: +/-0”, -5 lbs

SG: +4”, +30 lbs

SF (Hauser was listed at 6’6” his freshman year and 6’8” last year. I’m not buying a 2” leap, so I’m saying he’s 6’7”): +2”, +15 lbs

PF: +/-0”, +10 lbs

C: No change

That’s 6 extra inches and 50 extra pounds right there. It’s not everything, but it’s also not nothing. By the way, the backups include zero (0) people under 6’3”. I know that Steve Wojciechowski didn’t set a good precedent by heavily prioritizing offense over defense, but last year was an extreme case. I don’t think he, or any other coach, is going to ever face an issue where he has two different players that are elite on offense and also below 6’.

Howard can be hidden a lot better now that there are proven defenders like Chartouny and Greg Elliott alongside him. I made a thread about this a while ago, and it gives a rough estimate of where the defense is expected to be based on height alone, but I think Wojo gathering players with high defensive ceilings makes a top-75 defense something that we can hope for. Keep in mind that Arizona had a top 15 offense and an 80 ranked defense last year and ended up as a 4 seed.

3. I’m A Cocktail Guy This Summer

To those who don’t know me personally, I graduated Marquette in May 2017. That means I’ve been working for almost a year now. Last summer was spent navigating the working world and trying to figure out how to budget my remaining time and money. It was a fun and exciting time, but I had no idea what I was doing. Now, I still don’t have much of a clue about what I’m doing, but I’m settling in a little more. I actually have my summer planned out. Among those things are what weddings I will attend, what apartment I will move to, and what my drink of the summer is going to be.

My drinking routine used to be beer where I live, drinks where I go out. My drink of choice was a whiskey sour, but it was such a go-to that I’ve grown a little sick of it. Now I go up to the bar and I realize I have no idea what I want and then just panic and order a Miller Lite. I want to order a drink, but those are expensive at bars and if there are more than 2 ingredients involved I feel like I’m having them make me a creme brulee or something. I made the executive decision to reverse the order and my life has changed.

In my college days I would frequent Miss Katie’s on Thursdays for karaoke. It’s a fun time once you get past the Gold N’ Blues singer that takes bar karaoke a little too seriously and they had a drink that I really enjoyed. I forget what they called it but it was lemonade, bourbon and triple sec. It’s splendid. I bought the ingredients a few weeks ago and was sipping on them during a summer evening playing cornhole. Very refreshing if you want it weak and goes down smooth if you want it strong.

4. The Underrated Hilarious Parts Of The Pusha T/Drake Beef

I was in Smashville over Memorial Day stretching the bounds of my stomach wall with biscuits and fried chicken, so I couldn’t follow the beginning of this feud. It looked boring, though. We know Drake chose to go the pop route and Push raps about selling dope, so people doubt that. Whatever. Now it’s spicy after this.

I won’t go through everything that’s great about this track because everyone’s talked about it ad nauseam, so I’ll just mention a couple things that don’t have much to do with the beef itself.

-Pusha T is 41 years old. Rappers are mostly young. The only 40+ rappers to my knowledge that are still relevant are Run The Jewels, Kanye and Jay-Z. Kanye has his own stuff but we knew he was a little kooky. Push has always been just a normal guy. He gives insightful interviews, is known as being pretty approachable, and has a lot of business ventures beyond rap. I just find it funny that a guy in that situation decided to just completely toast one of the the biggest pop stars in the world.

-A$AP Rocky released an album on Friday and absolutely no one cares. He’s in a lot of people’s Top 5 right now and not a word was spoken about his first album in 3 years because of all this. Also the album wasn’t that good.