I could have written about Blake Shelton, but I don’t know anything about country music, nor do I watch “The Voice.” I could have written about Paul McCartney, but I’m not that big of a Beatles fan (let the stoning begin). I could have gotten all artsy-fartsy on you guys and written about MC Escher, the artist whose drawings are so trippy they make you dizzy. But I like to write what I know. And I know sushi.
Tuesday is International Sushi Day, a random holiday far more worthy of being a random holiday than say, Bubble Bath Day (January 8th) or Tell a Fairy Tale Day (February 26th). Sushi is delicious AND nutritious, and as long as you don’t get the deep fried shrimp roll, pretty much guilt-free when it comes to the diet. Little known fact: the term “sushi” actually refers to the vinegared rice, and not the raw fish. I may or may not have learned that from a chopsticks wrapper.
So get out and celebrate at your favorite sushi joint Tuesday night. Don’t have one? Maybe your fellow KSR readers will be nice in the comments section and offer a recommendation.
Monday was a busy day, so let’s get to it.
are were number one!
For ten glorious minutes on Monday, the Kentucky Wildcats had the number one recruiting class in the nation. In football.
Turns out, Rivals messed up. On Friday, it was reported that 3-star WR Tyre Brady committed to UK, but Rivals held off on making the commitment official. For ten minutes on Monday, it counted, which explains UK’s bump to the top of the rankings; however, after talking to the local Rivals writers who firmly believe the commitment isn’t official yet, they took Brady’s commitment off UK’s list and the Cats fell back to number two behind Texas. For now.
Whether or not Tyre Brady is actually committed to UK (or, rather, if UK has accepted his commitment) remains uncertain, but the screen shots of UK atop the 2014 class rankings will live on forever. Glitch or no glitch, Kentucky football is making moves and gaining momentum with each passing day. Now, the staff has to get as many guys to join the movement before the season starts and the reality of the rebuilding process sinks back in. Next season won’t be pretty. Stoops might pull off a few surprises, but nothing can change the fact that Kentucky has the toughest schedule in the nation, with one of the least talented teams in the league. Things are getting better, but the real changes will happen in 2014, and more likely, 2015. The staff says they’ve properly prepared each recruit for that, as has Drew Barker, but the more guys they can get on board now, the better.
On that note, Stanley “Boom” Williams stopped by the radio show Monday morning to talk about why he chose to commit to UK. Boom (he’s totally okay with you calling him that, by the way) said he wants fans at Commonwealth to scream “BOOOOOM” after he scores touchdowns, and that Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense was a big part of why he decided to come to UK. Know what made me go “boom”? His enthusiasm: “I just really want to be a part of the new thing that’s going on in Kentucky.” Check out his full appearance at the end of Hour 1:
“The first rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code.” – John Calipari
With all of this football recruiting fun, it’s almost possible to forget we’ve got a preseason number one basketball team on campus. On Monday, John Calipari addressed the “Wildcat Code,” a points-based rewards system created by the staff designed to give incentives to those who put in hard work on the court and in the classroom. Over the weekend, Dominique Hawkins talked to the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach about it, which prompted Cal to take to social media to explain it to fans. Cal didn’t give as many details as Hawkins did, but said that the system is designed to make players earn things instead of believe they are entitled to them. As Cal put it, “Nothing is given; everything is earned.” Why will this work for this group of superstars?
1) Incentives work
Hawkins said that some of the incentives you can earn through the Code is access to the locker room, a single room in the Lodge, and ultimately, your jersey. By making players fight for the right to use the team locker room or put Kentucky across their chests, Cal is teaching them the importance of hard work. Plus, what college kid doesn’t want their own dorm room? Even the most bullheaded player will work for that.
2) Competition works
We’ve already heard how competitive this team is in pick-up games. A common trait of the 2013 class seems to be their will to win. As any competitive person knows, that competitive streak doesn’t run cold off the court; it extends to every part of your life. Through the Wildcat Code, the players now have another goal to race towards, and in the process, take care of their academics, improve teamwork on the court, and develop their skills.
Cal should get 10 “Wildcat Code” points for the “Fight Club” references, although I really would have pegged Robic for Tyler Durden.
Troubling news about Nerlens
The NBA Draft is next Thursday, and unfortunately, it looks like Nerlens Noel is going to have to fight to be the number one draft pick. On Sunday, some discouraging reports came out from ESPN’s Ryen Russillo about Nerlens’ handlers, whom he called “epic bad dudes.” Russillo told Bill Simmons that Nerlens’ entourage is being very uncooperative with agents, teams, and media wanting information about the talented Cat, and that they almost seemed more concerned about their futures than his. The good news? Nerlens still has time to right the ship. On Thursday, he meets with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the number one pick.
– On Monday, four-star WR Blake Bone narrowed his list of schools to four, and Kentucky made the cut, along with South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Louisville. Rivals ranks Bone the 47th best receiver in the nation, and he visited UK a week ago. Drew Barker and the other 2014 recruits have been recruiting him pretty hard lately, and Bone hinted on Twitter that he was going to move up his decision date. With Derek Kief committing to Alabama, he’s Kentucky’s new top priority at wide receiver.
– The state of Kentucky now has a five-star recruit: John Hardin DT Matt Elam. Elam jumped 231 spots to the 10th best player in the nation on Monday, and was also given a five-star ranking. 247 now considers the 6’6″ 370 lbs. superstar the 2nd best defensive tackle in the country and the best player in the state. He visited Kentucky last week, and things went so well that Drew Barker says he’s not worried about Elam committing anywhere else. Kentucky will have to cling to that “come be a hero” campaign; Elam visits Notre Dame next week, and won’t announce his decision until January.
– On the basketball side of things, the Cats offered 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman a scholarship. He’s the second member of the 2015 class to get a scholarship offer from UK, the first being power forward Skal Labissiere. Zimmerman is the second best prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals. Word also broke late Monday night that UK has also offered 2015 SG Charles Matthews, Rivals’ 9th best player in the class.
That’ll do for now. See you in the morning.
It’s Defensive Lineman Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh‘s turn to get the KyWildcatsTV spotlight. Check out this profile of the former All-Southeastern Conference defensive tackle at Auburn, who went on to play in the NFL and coach at LSU during their national championship run in 2007.
Four Months. Just four grueling months separate now and the first appearance of the 2013 Kentucky Wildcats on the basketball court. Like a starving man at the dinner table every bit of news only serves to make the wait for the season even more excruciating. Such was the case this weekend when Dominique Hawkins dropped the line about the epic battles that are currently underway in the Craft Center. The games going on in those practices would be incredible to witness and even more tantalizing is the thought of the bevy of NBA stars arriving on campus to square off with the new recruits. This summer is going to feature some great games of basketball but which match-up would you most want to see if you could spend a day in practice:
Willie Cauley-Stein Vs Anthony Davis
WCS improved with basically every game during his first year as a Cat but how would he fare against arguably the best big man to ever wear Blue and White. Davis is better than WCS in just about every regard: Offense, Defense, Court Awareness. However that is what would help him improve by leaps and bounds while also providing a glimpse of how he will fare over the next year. Cauley-Stein could prove to be the top big man in basketball next year and move into a lottery pick. Seeing him play and Olympic gold medalist would give a great idea of what to expect for the coming year.
Andrew Harrison Vs John Wall
You could insert any of the elite point guards Cal has produced here but I’d like to see how Andrew would fare against the OG. John Wall could be the best point guard to ever play for the Cats and Andrew Harrison is the next in line for the crown. It would be amazing to watch these two drive and distribute while showcasing a will to win that both are known for. Could the young whippersnapper take down the crafty floor general? A lot would depend on who is playing along side the two players but without question this would be the duel I would most want to see.
Poythress & Randle Vs Patterson & Jones
As epic as the battles between Alex and Julius must be right now it would be just as awesome to see the two take on another duo of power forwards in Patterson & Jones. It would be hard to choose who to root for in this game as well since it features fan favorites as well as two guys that had a tendency to frustrate as freshman. This would would provide another look at what to expect for the coming year while featuring some of the best players to ever play the position in Lexington.
The shooters would be nice in a game but it’d be equally as cool to see them all in an old-fashioned three point shootoff. James Young, Aaron Harrison, Kyle Wiltjer, Doron Lamb, Brandon Knight, Jodie Meeks and Julius Mays all going toe-to-toe in a shootout for the ages. It wouldn’t be as thrilling as some of the other battles but it would help settle some epic debates as to who was the best shooter of recent years.
Those are some of my picks for the practice battles I’d like to watch. What would you select if you could sneak into the Craft Center for a night?
We now interrupt your weeknight for a follow-up to an earlier story. This morning, we reported that Walter McCarty was attempting to sell his 1996 National Championship rings (both the one from the NCAA and the one given to the team by the school back in February. Well, it turns out that Walter McCarty is NOT trying to sell his rings, and is actually working diligently to get them back. Brooks Downing (@BrooksDowning) spoke with Walter, who said the whole incident was a misunderstanding with a family member.
Coach Stoops’ job recruiting is worth more than a high five. After last week’s insanity it’s time to see how the 2014 football team is shaping up, with a few notes below that will make your head spin faster than Linda Blair.
- Class of 2014 ranked as high as #2 nationally by Rivals; UK’s best finish prior to Stoops was #36 in 2006.
- With 17 commitments as of today, that’s 14 more than this time last year.
- There are five 4-star players in the Class of 2014, eight total in the Stoops era. Joker Phillips and Rich Brooks both averaged one 4-star player a year during their tenure.
- Mark Stoops vowed in his opening press conference that he will “keep the best players home” while attacking his home state of Ohio. He currently has received 11 from Ohio and 5 from Kentucky.
Stanley ‘Boom’ Williams
Returning: Max Smith, Patrick Towles, Jalen Whitlow, Reese Phillips
Committed: Drew Barker****
Notable Targets: Kyle Sindelar (2015), Jarrett Stidham (2015)
Returning: Tyler Davenport, Bill Davis, Tevon Eatmon-Nared, Max Godby, John Gruenschlaeger, T.J. Jones, Shaquille Love, Darrian Miller, Zach Myers, Damon Sprouse, Jordan Swindle, Jon Toth, Jordan Watson, Zach West, Ramsey Meyers, Kyle Meadows, Justin Day, Nick Haynes
Committed: Jarrett LaRubbio***, Landon Young (2016)
Notable Targets: Marcelys Jones****, Nick Richardson****, Jon Bezney***, Ty Barrett***
Returning: Josh Clemons, Dy’Shawn Mobley, Khalid Thomas, JoJo Kemp
Committed: Braylon Heard****(Nebraska transfer), Stanley ‘Boom’ Williams****, Mikel Horton****,
Notable Targets: Stanton Truitt***, Damien Harris (2015)
Returning: Daryl Collins, Rashad Cunningham, A.J. Johnson, A.J. Legree, Derrick Quarles, DeMarco Robinson, Austin Sheehan, William Tanner, Javess Blue, Alex Montgomery, Jeff Badet, Ryan Timmons
Committed: Thaddeus Snodgrass****,
Notable Targets: Braxton Berrios****, T.V. Williams***, Blake Bone****, Artavis Scott****, Tyre Brady***, Johnnie Dixon****, Nacarius Fant***, Emmanuel Beal***
Returning: John Ballis, Seth Bowden, Ronnie Shields
Committed: Darryl Long***
Returning: Bud Dupree, Farrington Huguenin, Langston Newton, Za’Darius Smith, Alvonte Bell, Alvin Davis, TreVaughn Paschal, Mike Douglas, Jason Hatcher,
Committed: Denzel Ware****, Ty Dubose***
Notable Targets: Brady Taylor***
Returning: Thomas Chapman, Christian Coleman, Patrick Graffree, Zane Williams, Jacob Hyde, Regie Meant
Committed: Adrian Middleton***
Notable Targets: Matt Elam****
Returning: Tyler Brause, Tre’ Dunn, Josh Forrest, Khalid Henderson, Jabari Johnson, Malcolm McDuffen, Pancho Thomas, Miles Simpson
Committed: Kobie Walker***, Dorian Hendrix***, Nico Firios***, Ryan Flannigan***
Notable Targets: Trey Williams****, Vincent Jackson***, Brandon Lee***, Tavise Stoudemire (NR)
Returning: Daron Blaylock, Shawn Blaylock, Zack Blaylock, Kory Brown, Rodney Cox, Eric Dixon, Glenn Faulkner, John Giddens, J.D. Harmon, Cody Lewis, Ashely Lowry, Cantrell McKinley, Cody Quinn, Eric Simmons, Fred Tiller, Marcus McWilson, Jaleel Hytchye, Blake McClain, Nate Willis
Committed: Darius West****, Mike Edwards***, Jared Tucker***, Shyquawn Pullium***(JUCO)
Notable Targets: T.J. Harrell***
Returning: Joe Mansour, Austin MacGinnis, Landon Foster, Tanner Blain, Max Strong
- With National Signing Day 8 months away, there is still plenty of time for the Cats to add many more top-notch recruits. @RoushKSR
It’s been an interesting day for JUCO linebacker Ryan Flannigan. First, Rivals awarded him a 5.6 3-star ranking, which bumped Kentucky’s 2014 class up to #2 in the nation; and second, his teammate Kameel Jackson started a Twitter campaign to get him to flip from Kentucky to Tennessee. Jackson, a JUCO wide receiver committed to Tennessee, plays with Flannigan at Blinn Community College, and sent out these tweets earlier this afternoon:
Ryan Flannigan is the recruit. Current Kentucky commit. #2 Outside LB in JuCo rankings. He's a dog! How do I know, I go against him everyday
— Kameel Jackson (@Kameeljackson4) June 17, 2013
— Kameel Jackson (@Kameeljackson4) June 17, 2013
— Kameel Jackson (@Kameeljackson4) June 17, 2013
A sampling of some of the tweets Tennessee fans have been sending Flannigan:
“bro Kentucky will always be UK.. UT has the best everything in the country. Join your boy @Kameeljackson4 aka Gramps”
“@RFlannigan5 me and @Kameeljackson4 trying to figure out why you’re not a Vol? This place is special not to mention 27-1 vs UK in last 28yrs”
So far, it looks like Ryan is staying true blue:
I'm still #BBN relax ! 💯
— Ryan Flannigan (@RFlannigan5) June 17, 2013
Ryan, a word of advice from my own mother: don’t trust anyone that willingly wears that much orange.
Congratulations to Matt Elam, who has just been upgraded to five-stars by 247. 247 now lists the 6’6″ 370 lbs. defensive tackle as the 10th best player in the nation, the 2nd best defensive tackle in the nation, and the best player in the state of Kentucky. He’s got the Cats in his top five, along with Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Louisville. He’s got a visit scheduled to Notre Dame, his most recent offer, next week.
Talk about an upgrade. Come be a hero, Matt.
His sadness gives me strength.
News broke last week that the esteemed Florida Gators, who (allegedly) love themselves some football, maybe don’t even like it enough to make sure their school breaks even in the postseason. Apparently, despite the trappings of a destination BCS Bowl game in New Orleans, the University of Florida was unable to sell all of its seventeen-and-a-half thousand tickets, and took an $840,000 hit right to the
baby-maker wallet. In fact, the Sugar Bowl brought in fewer fans than the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. Bir. Ming. Ham.
What’s wrong with the Sugar Bowl? Kentucky fans would swarm that place like it was free crawdad night on Mardi Gras. It’s a BCS game, the SEC’s top destination (after the championship game, of course), and it’s played in
Blue New Orleans (can’t really call it that in January… yet). It seems like a perfect way to unload some overpriced tickets on your supposedly fervent fanbase. And yet, the Gators had to chomp, and swallow, a big loss. Why?
Of the reasons CBS Sports lists in its report, one in particular stands out.
Despite all the victories, the Gators were never an exciting offensive team, the Sugar Bowl was played on a week night, and despite the Strong connection, few Florida fans would call Louisville a marquee opponent.
Uh-oh. Apparently Florida has Louisville to blame for not being able to sell out its ticket allotment. For a team that’s used to playing every week against the Alabamas, LSUs, and Georgias of the SEC, the Big East’s premier squad is not exactly a big draw. Let’s be fair: Louisville won that game. Maybe if Florida had some fans show up, that would have made a difference. Probably not, but you never know. That said, it’s fun because this is essentially an insult to both teams. Florida fans didn’t care enough to show up to their own BCS Bowl game, which their team lost. And Louisville takes part of the blame for its opponent not taking the event seriously.
Safe to say, with Kentucky hosting 50,000+ for its Spring Game, I don’t think 17.5k would be difficult to sell for a BCS game. Maybe that’s just me. And UK’s not even a “football school.” What’s your excuse, Florida?
Stephen Zimmerman picked up an offer from John Calipari and the University of Kentucky today, according to Stephen Zimmerman. The 6-foot-11 big man out of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, NV is Rivals.com’s second overall prospect in the 2015 class. ESPN recruiting ranks him seventh in the class.
Just got offered a scholarship to play basketball from the University of Kentucky!! #Blessed 🏀
— Stephen Zimmerman Jr (@BIGG_ZIMM) June 17, 2013
Zimmerman also has offers from Arizona, UConn, Kansas, Memphis, UCLA and UNLV, among others.
Watch him work:
With the NBA Draft ten days away, Archie Goodwin is doing all he can to increase his draft stock. Today, Archie worked out for the New York Knicks in a closed session. Adam Zagoria says that the Knicks, who have the 24th pick in the draft, are “unlikely” to take Goodwin, but do have a void to fill in the backcourt now that Jason Kidd is gone. Goodwin is trying to sell himself as a combo guard who can play either the point or the two spot because of his athletic ability, length and size. He also told Zagoria that John Calipari “texts me every day, telling me he’s praying for me and hopes everything is well.” Archie heads out west to work out for the Utah Jazz tomorrow (14th, 21st, 46th picks), and Sacramento (7th and 36th picks) and Portland (10th, 39th, 40th, and 45th picks) in the coming days.
Of course, no interview with Archie is seemingly complete without asking his thoughts about this year’s Kentucky team, whom he predicts will be great and will “definitely” win the national title:
“They’re definitely going to make a championship push with the talent they have and the guys they got coming in so it definitely would’ve been fun being a part of that.”
Even though he decided to leave school early, Archie said that those that decided to return will help the freshmen acclimate to Cal’s system more quickly: “Coming from high school and going to him, it’s going to be a big adjustment for them. So being under their tutelage is definitely going to help them.”
Burr on ‘em, Archie.
It looks like the Cats are still in the running for four-star receiver Blake Bone. Bone posted his final four on Twitter a few minutes ago, with the Cats making the cut, along with South Carolina, Louisville, and Ole Miss:
— Ghost.™ (@KingOfEights_8) June 17, 2013
Bone, a South Carolina native, is the 47th best wide receiver in the nation, according to Rivals. Come on down.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Dominique Hawkins spilled the beans about UK basketball’s uber-secret honor society, the “Wildcat Code.” What is it? Apparently a point-based rewards system through which players can earn privileges for good behavior. For example, if they take care of business in the classroom or gym that day, they’ll earn points that go towards things like getting access to the team locker room, a single room at the Wildcat Lodge, and ultimately, their jersey.
After Hawkins broke the first two rules of the Wildcat Code by telling everyone about it, John Calipari had to do his thing and address it on Twitter/Facebook:
So about this Wildcat Code … The first rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code. The second rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code. LOL.
Let me get all Zack Morris here and call a timeout. John Calipari just “LOL’d”. In case you haven’t been on a computer in the the last ten years, that’s an acronym for “laughing out loud,” and it’s the most basic internet abbreviation out there. It’s essentially the equivalent of using an emoticon, and not even a basic smiley face, but one that’s like winking at you. So, our leader, the man who got us national championship number eight, just LOL’d at the BBN. And knowing Cal, he probably really did LOL, one of those big hearty laughs that has all sorts of mischief behind it. Okay, temporary freakout over, let’s move on.
In all seriousness, I’m not mad at Dominique at all for talking about it. He’s a good kid who is doing well so far. All I can tell you about the Code right now is that it’s geared to make these guys earn everything. Nothing is given; everything is earned. The guys get a grade every day, one for academics and another for physical development. The two grades are then added together. We will tell you what they earned later in the summer. Can the #BBN wait until then?
Who knew Cal was a regular Tyler Durden? Seriously though, the Code is an excellent way to make the players learn not only the value of hard work, but the concept that things aren’t being given to them; they have to earn them. One can’t help but wonder if this system was in place last year, or if this is one of the ideas the coaches came up with at their two-day summit to prevent those issues from happening again.
(Spoiler alert: According to Hawkins, Willie Cauley-Stein has the most points right now with 23.)
Having a hard time keeping up with Kentucky’s 2014 football recruiting class? It’s a common problem these days. UK football is averaging one new verbal commitment every two days in June, a month Big Blue Nation usually spends counting down to the NBA draft. It’s all foreign to us now, football excitement in the middle of summer, but the hype is real. Kentucky is second in Rivals.com’s 2014 class rankings, trailing only Texas, ahead of Texas A&M, Tennessee, Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan.
You’ll find the 17 pieces that make up the historic class below. Know them, love them, and pray they stay on board through signing day.
STANLEY “BOOM” WILLIAMS
All-Purpose Back (1st)
5’8”, 186 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Clemson and West Virginia
– No. 96 in the Rivals250
– ESPN’s 16th overall running back
– Originally committed to his home state Georgia Bulldogs
– Highest ranked UK commitment since Micah Johnson (36th) in 2006
Pro-Style Quarterback (5th)
6’3”, 214 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: South Carolina and Tennessee
– No. 117 in the Rivals250
– No. 111 in 247′s Top247
– Lifelong UK basketball fan
– Was likely headed to South Carolina until he visited the UK’s spring game
– Writes for KSR
Running Back (12th)
6’1”, 230 lbs.
West Chester, OH
Picked Kentucky over: Florida State, Louisville and Vanderbilt
– No. 131 in the Rivals250
– At time of commitment, he was Kentucky’s highest ranked running back commit since Rivals rankings began in 2002 (See Boom Williams)
– Said he was impressed by the turnout at UK’s spring game
5’11”, 196 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Louisville, Michigan State and Wisconsin
– No. 185 in the Rivals250
– ESPN’s 21st-ranked cornerback
– Committed hours after his good friend Mike Edwards
– Was expected to commit to UK in May but postponed his announcement
Wide Receiver (29th)
6’1”, 184 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Louisville, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Notre Dame
– No. 205 in the Rivals250
– No. 183 in ESPN300
– Highest ranked receiver to commit to UK
– Committed to Kentucky on KSR radio show
6’1”, 184 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Louisville, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Notre Dame
– Four-star prospect, according to Scout.com
– Wanted to commit in April but his high school coach held him back
– Has long said he’d attend college with Darius West
Weakside Defensive End (15th)
6’1”, 241 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Florida State, Florida, Alabama, USC, Texas
– Four-star prospect, according to ESPN and 247.com
– ESPN’s 9th-ranked defensive end
– No. 45 in 247′s Top247
– Decommitted to Kentucky prior to spring game after becoming first commitment of UK class in February
Tight End (23rd)
6’5”, 234 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: North Carolina, Louisville, Purdue and Pittsburgh
Outside Linebacker (31st)
6’4”, 210 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Miami and West Virginia
– His commitment opens a potential pipeline to Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland, an elite high school football program
– Played safety as a junior but is making the move to outside linebacker
Offensive Guard (16th)
6’5”, 260 lbs.
Liberty Township, OH
Picked Kentucky over: Miami and West Virginia
Inside Linebacker (25th)
5’11”, 225 lbs.
Huber Heights, OH
Picked Kentucky over: Illinois and Indiana
– The first of eight 2014 UK commitments from the state of Ohio
5’11”, 162 lbs.
Stone Mountain, GA
Picked Kentucky over: Miami
6’1”, 190 lbs.
Blinn Community College (TX)
Picked Kentucky over: Arizona State and Cincinnati
– JUCO teammate of fellow UK commit Ryan Flannigan
– Committed to Penn State out of high school
Outside Linebacker (NR)
6’2”, 225 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Louisville, Purdue, South Florida and Wisconsin
– Four-star prospect, according to ESPN
– ESPN’s 19th-ranked inside linebacker
Inside Linebacker (JUCO)
6’1”, 220 lbs.
Missouri City, TX
Blinn Community College (TX)
Picked Kentucky over: Arizona State, Cincinnati, Houston, and Texas Tech
– JUCO teammate of fellow UK commit Shyquawn Pulliam
– Committed to Texas Tech out of high school
Defensive Tackle (NR)
6’4”, 275 lbs.
Bowling Green, KY
Picked Kentucky over: Louisville
– 5th-ranked prospect in Kentucky
Strongside Defensive End (NR)
6’6”, 265 lbs.
Picked Kentucky over: Michigan State, Arkansas, West Virginia and Maryland
2014 UK commit Ryan Flannigan finally has a Rivals’ ranking, and as a result, UK is back up to NUMBER TWO in Rivals’ 2014 team rankings. Unbelievably, that’s also good enough for the best class in the SEC.
Flannigan, a JUCO linebacker from Texas, was given a 5.6 three-star ranking, which gives the Cats twelve three-star commits in the 2014 class, along with five four-stars.
Rivals added 3-star WR Tyre Brady’s commitment, which explains the jump to NUMBER ONE. (For some reason, I can only type that phrase in all caps.) Brady committed to UK on Friday, but Rivals decided to wait a few days to make it official in their rankings.
UPDATE #2: Okay, now Rivals has taken Tyre Brady’s commitment off again, putting the Cats back at number two for the time being. Still…
Over the past week, Nerlens Noel has slowly been losing his grasp on the number one pick. Bill Simmons and ESPN’s Ryen Russillo discussed Nerlens’ draft stock on the latest B.S. Report podcast. Here are the three “red flags” they found around our beloved flat top feller:
Red flag #1: Knee surgery and growth plate problems in high school
This one’s obvious. As we all remember far too well, Nerlens tore his ACL against Florida back in February, has since had surgery and according to his doctors, is well ahead of schedule in his rehab. Yet, teams are hesitant about taking him with the first pick because he’ll be out until at least Christmas, and according to some NBA medical experts, even longer.
Red flag #2: Who is he?
Another red flag they found was that Nerlens doesn’t really have an “NBA doppleganger” to compare his game to. That’s partly due to the fact that he only played for about 2/3 of the season before he got injured, and his offense is still developing. Simmons and Russillo mentioned Tyson Chandler and Theo Ratliff as potential “dopplegangers.” Also of concern is Nerlens’ slight frame, which dipped as low as 206 after his surgery. While it’s reportedly back up to 218, those legs are still very, very skinny.
Red flag #3: Handlers
The major red flag concerning Nerlens may be the people he’s surrounding himself with. Simmons and Russillo discussed Nerlens’ “handlers,” and how they are making things difficult for teams to get information about him. Apparently, it is very hard to get in touch with Noel, who just hired agents on Thursday. Russillo says that Worldwide Wes AND Lebron James’ agent Rich Paul tried to get in touch with Nerlens, but Nerlens’ crew “blew them off.” They also blew off one agent six times in a row before finally meeting with him. Russillo calls the entourage “epic bad news men”:
“I guess his handlers are looking for something here. They have him, I don’t know if it’s brainwashed or scared, but they’ve attached themselves to him. Maybe they don’t even want him signed with an agent and tehy’re just trying to figure out the best deal for themselves. So you factor in that he’s hurt, he had this growth plate thing that happened to him when he was a sophomore in high school and he’s not exactly…you know, this isn’t Anthony Davis. In Anthony Davis, you saw a wide set of skills. I’m wondering if he’ll even go #1 now. I heard Washington say if he’s on the board at #3 that they won’t even take him. So, I imagine this stuff will get out more and more, because these agents are unbelievably frustrated. …It’s kind of sad, because I don’t really think it’s even on Noel. So many times we hear about these guys that are involved in the process that make it far more difficult for the player to pursue his career when they’re supposed to be the ones that are helping him when they’re really just helping themselves.”
To hear these comments about a player we’ve come to love so much on AND off the court is incredibly discouraging. Anyone who has spent time with Nerlens will testify that he’s a class act who is mature beyond his years. However, that can’t always be said about the people the often attach themselves to future NBA stars. Hopefully there’s still time to make things right before next week’s draft, starting with his interview in Cleveland on Thursday.
Listen to Simmons and Russillo talk about Nerlens near the 1:00:00 mark.
Nerlens Noel spent the weekend in Washington, DC working out for the Wizards. Afterwards, he did a few rounds with the media, including an appearance on the “Courtside Report Draft Edition,” which you can view by clicking on the pic above, or this link below:
We will have more on the latest buzz surrounding Nerlens Noel coming up in just a bit, including some potential “red flags” spotted by Bill Simmons.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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