The Bullet Points
- As predictably as a Rebel fan hopelessly clinging to ancient stereotypes of Reno, a Nevada sport finally experiencing a teeny bit of good buzz was suddenly hit with bad news yesterday. Senior forward A.J. West announced his departure from the basketball team, citing “personal reasons” while remaining in school to finish up his degree. The news comes as something of a shock, though not entirely out of nowhere for those of us who’ve been watching the team. It’s true that Coach Musselman had previously called out West for his practice habits, and his playing time and statistical contributions had slightly declined from last year as a result. But even off the bench, West was nonetheless a valuable piece of the Pack’s front court, which suddenly finds itself doling out battlefield promotions to its other members. Outside of those factors, little else about this departure — the timing, its effect on West’s chances to play professionally, the team’s improved play leading up to it — makes sense. The nature of whatever necessitated it must have been irreconcilable, or urgent, or both, and the two parties were presumably left with no better options. His departure and his prior dip in playing time are likely connected in some way, though even that isn't 100% certain. Any further speculation on our parts would only further muddy the waters and risk exacerbating an already awkward situation for everyone involved.
- At least West’s heir apparent, freshman Cameron Oliver, has looked stellar in the two games leading up to Tuesday’s news. In their second and (mercifully) final match of the year against Division II scrubs, Oliver and company went all Old Testament on Fresno Pacific to the tune of 119-70. Nevada out-rebounded the Sunbirds 60-24, set a program record for most points scored in a half (73), and finished with the program’s highest final score in a regulation game since 1991. They followed that up on Saturday with a 79-71 victory over Team Champagne Papi, a.k.a. I’m On One, a.k.a. The Hotline Bling, a.k.a. Some Other Reference To The Rapper Drake, a.k.a. Drake. It was the rare Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge game that featured two fairly evenly matched and equally regarded teams, and the Pack eventually fended off the Bulldogs with superior feats of athletic absurdity (see Cameron Oliver above). They next shift their attention to finishing off final exams and a Santa Clara team that has won four in a row, but somehow managed to look equally impressive and inept in defeat.
- Dear Blaine Gabbert Bandwagon Renters: for all of his recent mistakes, Colin Kaepernick has never lost to the Browns. Just putting that out there.
Founders 2015 KBS (Grand Rapids, Michigan) ~ If it’s referred to by its initials and has a year in its name, chances are good that you’re in for something special. The Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founders is another highly sought after beer as black the heart of yours truly, and its reputation precedes it. It’s the older, more mature brother of their equally famous Breakfast Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels for a whole year before getting bottled. Founders only began distributing in northern Nevada a few months ago, and this offering is usually only available in pricey four-packs. This particular one was bottled back in March, pouring smoothly and pitch black with no head into my tulip glass. Bourbon, coffee and chocolate fill the aroma, with bourbon the most prevalent of the three. That same whiskey controls much of the flavor, with some other notes of bitter cocoa and coffee coming through. The finish on this aged version is lightly boozy with a little bitterness, noticeably mellow, and rounds out a terrifically balanced sip. A mildly watery body is the only quibble I had, and that’s splitting hairs. This doesn’t taste like a high alcohol beer, but at 11.2%, you’ll definitely feel it after a few sips. The 9+ months of aging this bottle underwent took some of the edge off, and I liked it for that. I’d love to try a fresher bottle some other time and see how it differs. If you decide to track down a four-pack, set one bottle aside in a cool, shaded place and age it awhile for a different experience when you drink it. This is one beer that’ll likely be delicious however you choose to enjoy it. I give it four and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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