This morning, John Calipari released part one of a three-part series addressing the state of →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 8:00pm
This morning, John Calipari released part one of a three-part series addressing the state of the Kentucky basketball program. Cal revisited his master plan for the program when he came on board seven years ago, breaking down Kentucky’s success each season in recruiting, wins, academics, and sending players to the NBA. I love Cal, but it’s no coincidence that this manifesto came out with one major recruiting decision hanging in the balance.
With that in mind, I spent the morning looking for the best “Cal-speak” passages to find out what he’s really trying to tell us.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this year is going to be a war. I like the kids we have coming in and I think it could be another special season for us.
This is how I feel about this season:
How have we gotten to become the winningest program during this time frame, win a championship and have the most Final Fours, have the most players in the country reach their NBA dreams, and still stay true to our high academic standards?
This humblebrag is about as subtle as a smack in the face with a 2×4. Seriously, if Marques Bolden was looking for a better pitch than that, well, he should just keep reading.
What I’m most proud of is how those two teams of players performed in the NBA. What it did was it proved the narrative wrong that they were all pros before we got them. They all had pro potential, but the environment of being around each other, being challenged and being held accountable and responsible – even if you’re the best player – has proven to be a great formula.
We develop talent.
One of the myths Calipari’s critics like to perpetuate is that he gets the best talent and just rolls the balls out; that Kentucky is merely a six-month stopover to the league, during which players don’t get any better than they were when they arrived.
…Except for players like Eric Bledsoe, who came to Kentucky as a four-star recruit (247 Sports Composite) ranked 57th best in the country and left as the #18 draft pick. Or Willie Cauley-Stein, a four-star recruit ranked 43rd in the country who left as the #6 draft pick. Calipari may get the best guys, but those guys get even better by playing against each other in practice. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule (Daniel Orton, Alex Poythress, and Skal Labissiere come to mind); however, I’d wager that 90% of the five-star players that come to Kentucky are better off for it.
As Karl Towns said on KSR this morning, it’s easier to make the jump to the pros if you trained alongside pros in college.
Kentucky is not for everybody. And the ones who don’t come here, we’re fine and we do not take it personal.
If they could go back in time, how many of these players do you think would choose differently?
Not every player should come here, and if you’ve been brainwashed to the point of doubt of what Kentucky is and what Kentucky isn’t, you shouldn’t come here.
If you’re naive enough to fall for negative recruiting, this isn’t the place for you.
(PS. Hate us ’cause they ain’t us.)
We’ve posted a combined grade-point average of 3.0 or better in six of the last eight semesters and just posted a perfect APR score of 1,000, which is a four-year composite score, and only 17 other schools have received a perfect score – and no, they didn’t.
Admit it, you all thought I was joking when I said this in 2009, didn’t you?
Now the NCAA Tournament isn’t a seven-game series, and even though we never seem to have an easy path, we’re always right there with a chance.
The Selection Committee still sucks.
I also cannot believe that there’s any program that has better and more meaningful relationships with its former players than we do with ours.
Marques Bolden says he wants a program with a family atmosphere, and, with 22 former players in the NBA and at least three more on the way, there’s nothing like La Familia.
(Oh, hey Bill Clinton.)
Meet my new trainer. pic.twitter.com/UcmaYRWTwb
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 4, 2016
And that’s just in the past two weeks.
On Brad Calipari, a 12-year-old commit, playing at Kentucky:
He will play. You don’t want to be on his position if you’re on my team.
Brad will play.
And as we’re going through this political season, the term flip-flopping has come to the forefront many times. As you’ll see, there’s no flip-flopping here! #NoFlipFlop
Let me drop the mic and just say, #NoFlipFlop.
From day one, we’ve stuck to our goals and fulfilled our promises.
Unlike some coaches, I am true to my word. (**COUGH, down I-64, COUGH**)
This is just a chance for me to mention politics because I like politics and there’s a presidential race going on. Did you see that Bill Clinton was in our locker room?
You’re never going to see me in flip flops. Only Gucci loafers for this boss.
Modern country music sucks.
Stay tuned for more translations when parts two and three of Calipari’s series are released.
By Nick Roush on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 7:00pm
It’ll be difficult to remember all of these individuals, because there are so many offers out there, but hopefully this will give you a better idea of how the football staff is recruiting. If you’re trying to count exactly how many they extend this offseason, good luck. But if you wanna know one person, know Tycen Anderson’s name.
Tycen Anderson– The 6’2″ 2017 cornerback from Toledo has committed to his hometown school, but many believe that won’t last for long. One person who believes he will flip is another Toledo Catholic School kid, Kentucky commit Mike Warren.
Anderson spoke with Justin Rowland after receiving his offer.
“I was very excited when they offered me,” Anderson told Cats Illustrated late Wednesday. “I just know how big of a deal it was and (was) just grateful that I had the opportunity to show them what I could do.
“They just said they liked my size and how I move on the field and then they offered me before I went to start track practice,” he added.
Watch his highlights.
Alec Long– The three-star 2017 safety from Jackson, Tn. also has offers from Memphis and Mississippi State. Highlights
Isaiah Gibson— The Springfield, Ohio defensive tackle stands at 6’4″ 265 pounds and will be a Junior next fall. Highlights
Blaine Scott— The 2018 offensive lineman from Portsmouth, Oh. is 6’5″ 300 pounds. He already has 15 offers but Ohio State has yet to come calling. Highlights
Jamir Thomas– The 6’1″ 215-pound inside linebacker from Massillon, Oh. just finished his freshman year of high school, but he already held offers from Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa State before Kentucky extended an offer of their own. Highlights
Ge’Mon Eaford– Much like Thomas, Eaford already has plenty of offers after his freshman year. The difference — Eaford’s has more offers, and ones from programs with the best pedigree. UK was his 11th offer, following Alabama, North Carolina, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and more. Effort is a pass-rushing weak-side defensive end from Deerfield, Fl. Watch him do work.
Ft. Lauderdale’s Finest
St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the best football programs in America every year. As the kids say, “real recognize real.” Kentucky offered three players from Aquinas in the last week, two sophomores-to-be and one that will be a senior.
- Lashawn Paulino-Bell— The elder statesman of the group, UK’s offer is the 17th for the three-star weak-side defensive end. Most of his offers aren’t the cream of the crop, but Georgia and Miss. State are on his list. Highlights
- Anthony Solomon— Even though he has only played one year of high school, Alabama is already at the top of his list. The outside linebacker also has looks from Auburn, Louisville and Florida State. Highlights
- Daniel Carter— The exceptional athlete played running back and outside linebacker as a freshman. Before Kentucky got to him, Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia and Miss. State offered. Highlights
But wait, THERE’S MORE!
Bryce Oliver— From Dillard High School in Ft. Laudy, Oliver is a 6’3″ wide receiver that will be a junior next fall. Highlights
Alonzo Clark— UK is the second offer for the athlete that plays wide receiver and quarterback for Ft. Lauderdale High School. Highlights
Malik Occiur— Kentucky is the first offer for strong safety in the class of 2018. Highlights
Nesta Silvera— The 2018 defensive tackle is from just outside of Ft. Lauderdale, playing for Plantation’s powerhouse American Heritage. He’s received a handful of other offers, most notably Miss. State. Highlights
Josh Ali— A three-star wide receiver at The University School in Ft. Lauderdale, Ali has 15 offers, including one from the Dirty Birds of UofL. Highlights
Keidron Smith— From just up the road at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fl., the only other offer the 2018 cornerback holds is from FAU. Highlights
Dominique Linton— On the Gulf side of Florida in Naples, 2017 wide receiver/cornerback’s offer from UK is his first. Highlights
Cade Fortin— The 2018 pro-style quarterback from Suwanee, Georgia has six offers on the the table: UK, UofL, Rutgers, Oklahoma State, Cal and Iowa. Highlights
Jarren Williams— Fortin is a pocket-passer from North Gwinnett High School; Williams is a dual-threat quarterback from Central Gwinnett High School. Williams also has an offer from Louisville, but the big competition in this race is from Florida State. Highlights
Connor Noland— The pro-style quarterback from Arkansas has the Razorbacks at the top of his list, alongside UCLA and Stanford. Highlights
By Bobby Reagan on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 6:30pm
CBS came out with their most recent mock draft, to where they did their own little lottery to assign players to a team. After that happened – congrats Boston Celtics, you have a fake No. 1 pick – they put the three Kentucky guys all in the top-15 with Jamal Murray going the highest at No. 4 to the Philadelphia 76ers. After that Skal is going to the Magic at No. 11 followed by Tyler Ulis at No. 14 to the Chicago Bulls.
Gary Parrish has high praise for Murray, who is called the prospect with the highest ceiling. The direct quote is “But Philadelphia can still get a prospect with All-Star potential, and the prospect with the highest ceiling available, at this point, is, I think, Murray. He’s a dynamic combo guard who can shoot from the perimeter. And there’s just no reason to believe he won’t be a nice scorer at the NBA level.”
Not bad for a guy who people questioned if he was athletic enough to be factor in the NBA early in the season.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 5:40pm
Devin Booker will meet fans at Fayette Mall tonight for his first signing back in Kentucky since before he took the NBA by storm in his rookie season. And one big Booker fan (his biggest fan) arrived a little early to tonight’s meet-and-greet at the mall. A whole eight hours early. She arrived at 10 am for the 6 pm signing, a new record as far as we know.
#1 fan? https://t.co/pQspnRKotJ
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) May 5, 2016
Yes, Devin. Your #1 fan.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 4:40pm
We finally know the official list of participants at next week’s NBA combine, per a release from the league today.
Kentucky’s three first-round, definitely-gone prospects — Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, Tyler Ulis — all accepted their invites, while Marcus Lee, who can still return to school, slid his way in at the last minute as an alternate. Lee may have Ben Simmons to thank for that; Simmons declined his invitation to Chicago.
Have a look at the 63 participants:
By Freddie Maggard on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 4:00pm
The ongoing, polarizing debate over satellite camps are 2016’s version of conference realignment. While grabbing headlines, providing talk radio with adversative SEC fodder, and filling message boards; I’m not sure the subject has been explained at a level that fully describes its significance. I began to dig into the issue in hopes of providing an understandable interpretation.
First, satellite camps provide college coaches the opportunity to travel from their campus to geographically dispersed locations where coaches can attend and work camps hosted by other institutions. The NCAA prohibits college football teams to officially host a camp outside a fifty-mile radius from campus. To further clarify with examples, Michigan moved its spring practice to Florida for a week. This is not considered a satellite camp; merely an off-site, spring practice location. However, a satellite camp by definition would entail Kentucky coaches being invited to and working a football camp located at Youngstown State University. Make sense? It’s not an official UK camp as YSU is the host institution. But, sticking with UK in this example; Wildcat coaches would be allowed to talk to, evaluate, and hands-on coach participants. In simpler terms, they’d be recruiting without the process being deemed an official “recruiting” event.
Prospective student-athletes pay a small fee to attend camps during which they showcase their talents in front of a centralized collection of evaluators. In most instances, satellite camps include coaches from the host school as well as multiple other programs. Prior to the latest NCAA ruling banning and then allowing these events, not all conferences were playing by the same set of rules. Unlike the Big 10, Big 12, and the somewhat confused Pac 12; the SEC and ACC did not allow their coaches to participate in off-campus camps. Here lies the major rub between conferences which in essence pits the north versus the south.
Ardently against satellite camp legalization, the SEC understandably wanted to protect its home turf. Not a lot of football programs are attending these happenings in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, New Orleans, and all parts of Florida are considered prime locations due to their geographical and demographical density of elite football talent. For powerhouse programs such as Alabama and Florida, there’s not a great need to travel abroad to find five-star talent. But for Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missouri and other like programs, off-site locations are essential.
So, hope that helps. Now for my two cents. I’m as SEC as they come. Heck, I still find it hard to believe that Arkansas and South Carolina are in the league. In my antique mind, Missouri and Texas A&M are aliens. But, I feel the Southeastern Conference was egotistic in its autocratic view on this matter. If by allowing satellite camps one prospect is offered and signs a scholarship that otherwise would not have played major college football, then the ruling was worth deliberation. A large portion of high school football players cannot afford to travel great distances to attend on-campus camps. I’m for, and will also be for the student athlete. If by chance the SEC loses a player or twenty in the process, so be it. Parity is healthy. Rightly, the gain is with the prospect. But there is another aspect to this discussion. Unfortunately, these camps can potentially widen the gap between the financial haves (Power 5) and have-nots (R.O.Y. conferences).
*R.O.Y. means, rest of y’all.
Furthermore, I’m more concerned with legislation allowing unlimited texting and direct messaging recruits more than the now simplistic, one day events. The recruiting cycle is out of control. Teenagers are not allowed to be, well teenagers. Constant media and recruiting bombardment as well as endless offseason travel takes a toll. I’m all for an early signing and increased dead periods that would allow college coaches more time away from the game as well as recruits. This is just the beginning. Sport specialization and the overabundance of summer camp’s secondary and tertiary effects won’t surface for a decade. Sure quality of play increases, but at what price? I’ve seen and experienced burn out, it’s not pretty. In regards to players and coaches, at some point in time enough has to be enough.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 3:00pm
Want to live in Lubbock, Texas?
Got $1.5 mill to spend?
If you answered yes to those two questions, Tubby Smith’s former home can be yours.
The former Kentucky and Texas Tech coach’s house is listed on Zillow as a four-bedroom, six-bathroom, 6,700 square-foot, “incredible/expensive remodel with state of the art workmanship and materials.” It has all new everything and comes with a sweet backyard, complete with a swimming pool, hot tub and putting green.
Inside you’ll find a long hallway of memorabilia (which I assume he will take with him), including a framed Bill Keightley basketball jersey and a Kentucky Wildcat statue.
The hallway also includes a painting of G.G. at Georgia; a poster from Tubby’s days as a player at High Point; a letter from Great Mills High School, his alma mater and first coaching stop; his 2003 AP Coach of the Year trophy (?); and a photo and Sports Illustrated covers of the Williams sisters.
See the entire home here.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 2:20pm
Bill Simmons did the unthinkable today: He got Colin Cowherd to apologize to John Wall.
Simmons was a guest on Colin Cowherd’s new show, on whatever network it is on these days, and he pushed Cowherd into apologizing for the years and years of criticizing Wall, dating all the way back to Wall’s rookie season when Cowherd called him a “moron” for dancing prior to a game.
Cowherd has been slamming Wall throughout Wall’s entire career, without good reason:
Today, after being bullied into it by Simmons, Cowherd said, “Alright, I apologized to Blake Griffin and I apologize right now to John Wall.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 5, 2016
By C.M. Tomlin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 2:00pm
Hello, Friends. I like your hat. Are you wearing that to the Derby? You’ll be a big hit. And if you get hungry, you can eat all those bananas. Also, I’m not sure Derby hats traditionally have bananas.
Friends, as Derby weekend is officially upon us I thought I’d take the time today to look into the annals of pop culture to bring you some of the greatest horse movies ever made. After all, if there’s a week to celebrate horses, it should be this week. Enjoy a beautiful weekend, friends, and I’ll see you here again next week.
Arguably the favorite movie about racing in the last thirty years, Seabiscuit is the tale of an unsuspecting work horse who defies the odds to become one of the greatest racehorses in history and his rivalry with famed Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Emotional and uplifting, Seabiscuit was nominated for Best Picture in 2004 but lost to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which didn’t even have one horseracing scene in it.
2. The Black Stallion
Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film had everything in it: a horse jumping off a boat, a kid stranded on a desert island, the dad from Gremlins, a horse killing a cobra, a kid riding a horse in the rain at night, Mickey Rooney riding on a bail of hay and a big race finale at Santa Anita with a bunch of people cheering. As the film’s trailer states, The Black Stallion is “a story that will make your heart race, your spirit soar, but most of all, it will make you believe in The Black Stallion.” And you can’t argue with that, because you can see the black stallion right there on the screen, proving it exists.
4. Hot to Trot
In this 1988 Bobcat Goldthwait movie, a talking horse gives a man investment advice and then the man enters the horse into a horse race and entices the horse to win by promising he can have his teeth cosmetically capped. This is all real. Also, as indicated in the film’s poster, the man murders his meddling boss and mounts his head on the wall, which is a pretty dark and unnecessary turn.
4. Days of Thunder
Days of Thunder is probably the best true story about the Kentucky Derby only instead of people riding horses in the Kentucky Derby it’s about people driving race cars in the Daytona 500; and also it’s not true. But if you imagine that all the cars are horses I think you’ll agree it’s really exciting. I watched it like this the other day and it blew my mind. Those horses ran so fast and they’re so loud. It’s probably the best Kentucky Derby movie Tom Cruise ever made.
5. This YouTube Video of Some Zebras Running Around and Farting in a Zoo
Because zebras are like horses, only with stripes.
Stridor isn’t as much a movie about horse racing as much as it is a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy that came out in 1984. But I think we can all agree that this horse looks like he could win a lot of races, because he’s a robot, and he has guns. His jockey’s name is Fisto, and I’m not going to say anything more about that guy or his name.
7. The Greatest Horse Ever
The Greatest Horse Ever is a movie I just made up about an eight-legged, super-cool horse who wins five Kentucky Derbys in a row while being ridden by a little jockey you might know who goes by the name of, oh, PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I’m pretty sure we can all agree this would be the best horse racing movie anyone has made. This thing is all written and ready to go. I’m listening, Hollywood.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 1:00pm
Karl-Anthony Towns was the surprise mystery guest on today’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio and he was the absolute best, as he always is.
Read some of the main points from the morning and then listen to the entire interview in the podcast down below.
He really, really, really misses Lexington.
What exactly does he miss, you ask?
“I miss everything,” he told KSR. “I miss playing with my teammates, instead of having to play against them everyday. I miss the coaching staff. I miss being at Joe Craft. I miss playing at Rupp. I miss the fans, most importantly. I mean, the fans are what levitate all of us back here. It’s the love everyone has for us.
“The love is tremendous around here and — especially for the basketball team. It’s amazing. It’s just amazing to come back here and still be recognized.”
He’s still not over the Wisconsin game.
Towns compared it to wearing a really nice white shirt and “then Wisconsin was the biggest stain.” He called it a clam or an oyster with no pearl inside.
“I won’t be over that forever.”
He wasn’t surprised at all by Devin Booker being one of the best rookies in the NBA.
He thought Booker was worthy of a top-five pick in last year’s draft.
He and Coach Cal talk twice a week, or more.
“If it wasn’t for him being Italian, he would be my dad.”
“He really takes care of all of his kids, his former players.”
Nothing compares to Kentucky.
Listen to Towns’ interview in the first half of the second hour of today’s podcast:
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 12:39pm
Dismissed Kentucky defensive lineman Lloyd Tubman will soon know his next destination for his college football career, and he is down to Utah State and Louisville, according to the Cats Pause. He plans to pick between the two very soon.
Tubman enrolled at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas last summer after he was not indicted on rape charges at UK. Though nothing came of those awful accusations against him, Tubman was not allowed to re-enroll in Lexington, for reasons beyond me.
It is a shame this young man wasn’t given another shot at Kentucky once the charges were dropped. His name was dragged through the mud, and his life, not just his football career, was in serious jeopardy.
We hope everything works out for him in the end, wherever that may be. Even if it’s Louisville. Ugh.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 12:13pm
We now know why John Wall was in Cleveland last night.
The Wizards announced today that Wall underwent knee surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Marymount this morning to repair an injured left knee that bugged him late in the season. Dr. Richard Parker, who performed the surgery, expects Wall to play completely pain-free once he completes the rehab process. The timetable of the rehabilitation has him back to full health prior to the start of next season.
Wall also had the right knee cleaned out while on the operating table.
He left a message for fans prior to the operations, via Uninterrupted:
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) May 5, 2016
“This is something important that I need to get taken care of to prepare myself for next season, to come back even better and stronger,” Wall told his fans in the video.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 11:30am
While sitting in on this morning’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio, Karl-Anthony Towns was asked to describe the bond he shares with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, as three of the top five big men in the NBA today.
Towns took that question even further and described the bond between all former Wildcats; and he did it so perfectly and eloquently, it needs its own poster in the basketball facility. No, it needs to be engraved in the brick outside Memorial Coliseum.
Take it away, Karl:
“First, it’s built off of respect. Everyone has earned their respect from each other, you know. They prove it on the court and that’s the biggest thing. And two, I think the biggest thing is that Kentucky connection. People don’t get the brotherhood, and this fraternity that is here as a Kentucky basketball player, until they are it. It’s something I can only tell you, but it sounds mythical. You have to be part of it. When you’re part of this — when you’re part of any Kentucky basketball team in any year, there is an instant connection, instant unity, and an instant feel for each other because we all went through the same process. We all went through the same pain. We all went through the same trials and tribulations. There is nothing more — like I said before, there is no more pressure you could get than as a Kentucky basketball player; and there is no more respect you could get as a Kentucky basketball player, so it’s a double-sided coin.”
I’m not sure it can be said any better than that.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 11:06am
Tune in to today’s show right now to hear Towns’ special appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio radio. He asked to come on the show to talk about his love for UK, first season in the NBA and everything else going on in life.
We only have him for 30 minutes, so listen now.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 05th, 2016 @ 10:00am
Another former Matthew Mitchell assistant is coming back to Kentucky to rejoin his staff.
Niya Butts, an assistant at UK from 2003-08, will return to Lexington, according to Jen Smith of the Herald-Leader. Butts left the first time around to become the head coach at Arizona, where she was let go last month.
She is the second former Mitchell assistant (and second former Tennessee Vol standout) to come back in the last week. Kyra Elzy will also return to the UK Hoops bench with Butts. Together, they fill two of the three assistant coach vacancies under Mitchell.