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April 27th, 2015

The CATSPYs’ Monday Night News and Views

@KentuckyMBB

The 13th annual CATSPY Awards, UK’s version of the ESPYs, was held tonight in Memorial Coliseum, saluting another academic year with tons of success in sports and in the classroom. A total of 36 honors were presented to six teams and 26 individuals.

The big winner of the night was men’s basketball (shocker) with Male Rookie of the Year (Karl Towns), the Blue Heart Award (Willie Cauley-Stein), Male Performance of the Year (Karl Towns vs. Notre Dame), Co-Coach of the Year (John Calipari) and Male Team of the Year honors. Male Athlete of the Year went to baseball’s A.J. Reed, understandably.

A complete list of the awards can be found here.

We hope to see plenty of videos from the awards show tomorrow, but for now, stop what you’re doing and watch the event’s intro video. Karl Towns’ appearance at the end is fantastic:

And now for the news…

 

Mychal Mulder will announce his decision tomorrow.

Four-star JUCO shooting guard Mychal Mulder will announce his decision tomorrow at 3:30 in a ceremony at Vincennes University. I’m told there will be no hats or suspense, just an official announcement followed by the signing of the paperwork.

The safe money is on Kentucky, considering Mulder spent the last three days in Lexington with the team and enjoyed his stay. Something called a Hoops Hype Canada reports the Ontario native will indeed pick the Cats.

If it is Kentucky for Mulder, he will most likely be next year’s go-to shooter. Vincennes head coach Todd Franklin — whose team policy prevented Mulder from signing with Wichita State in the fall — believes Mulder is more than capable of playing the Devin Booker role for John Calipari.

Don’t let the JUCO route fool you. This will be a good get for Kentucky.

Cheick Diallo to announce very soon, maybe tomorrow.

Diallo is expected to announce by Wednesday at the latest and Kentucky has as good of a shot as anyone for the best available power forward in the 2015 class. Jerry Meyer of 247Sports hears it’s a toss-up between Kansas and Kentucky, while Evan Daniels agrees those two are the co-favorites, along with St. John’s.

Jaylen Brown trimmed his list to five.

He is down to California, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Kansas, eliminating UCLA, surprisingly. UCLA was believed to be a serious contender so it was good news for Kentucky to see him drop the Bruins. Cutting UCLA also suggests the Adidas ties may not have the impact everyone, including Brown, once believed. He said last summer we would only play for an Adidas school, but three of his remaining five are Nike or Jordan Brand schools.

Brandon Ingram picked Duke.

Therefore we no longer like Brandon Ingram.

Mark Stoops extended a new in-state scholarship offer.

Kash Daniel from Paintsville received an offer from UK football on Monday, he announced on Twitter earlier tonight. Daniel, an unranked inside linebacker in the 2016 class, has other offers from Ohio, Marshall, Ball State, Charlotte and Eastern Kentucky.

He grew up loving the Cats and visited campus earlier this month.

College basketball will likely go to a 30-second shot clock next season.

“Now there’s a real decent chance,” NCAA rules committee chairman Rick Byrd told ESPN.com on Monday. “It’s pretty evident a lot more coaches are leaning that way. The opinion of coaches on the shot clock has moved significantly to reducing it from 35 to 30. And all indicators are pointing toward that.”

I’m all for the move to 30. That’s much better than the 36-second shot clock Wisconsin had in the Final Four.

John Wall and his Wizards teammates sat front row at the Caps game.

@JohnWall

The Wizards have plenty of free time before their next series after sweeping the Raptors, so they took in a hockey game tonight. Wall’s team awaits the winner of the Atlanta-Brooklyn series and it’s now tied up at 2-2 with a Brooklyn overtime win tonight.

 

That’ll do it for now. I’ll leave you with a picture of Rick Pitino having a good time in Vegas over the weekend…


Is A Homecoming In Store for Bud Dupree?

While Kentucky basketball has become a pipeline to the first round of the NBA things on the turf have been just the opposite . In the past 30 years of Kentucky Football only 3 players have gone on to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. That’s George Adams, running back, selected with the 18th pick in 1985. Tim Couch in 1999, drafted first to the Cleveland Browns. And in 2003 Dewayne Robertson was drafted 4th overall to the Jets. This Thursday night Bud Dupree looks to become the fourth player to be drafted in the first round and it could end up bringing his talent full circle.

That kid above is a young Alvin “Bud” Dupree who attended high school at one Wilkinson County, GA which is just two hours south of Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons hold the 8th pick in this Thursday’s draft and they are in desperate need of someone who can pass rush. Seems like a match made in heaven.

A career back home is exactly where Charley Casserly of NFL.com has Bud Starting out this summer. Two other pundits have him 6th to the jets and one has him 13th to the Saints. Regardless of where he ends up this Thursday, seeing a Cat go in the top 32 has been a rare occurrence in Lexington and is something deserving of special recognition. Way to go Bud! Keep making the Big Blue Nation proud!

 

 


Patrick Towles and Landon Foster lip sync Backstreet Boys

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 9.25.37 PM

Patrick Towles and Landon Foster represented UK football in tonight’s Lip Sync Battle at the CATSPYs. They went up against members from the track and softball teams.

Their song? Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”

It’s, um, something. Eli Capilouto seemed to really enjoy it…


Some Names To Watch In The Basketball Class of 2016

Tai Wynyard will need some company in Kentucky’s 2016 recruiting class and there are several options out there for John Calipari and his staff to bring on board. Many of UK’s top targets were in Lexington over the weekend for the Nike EYBL event, while others were only a short trip away for Cal to get a quick look outside of Kentucky. Needless to say, it was a busy weekend for the coaches as they scout the LOADED crop high school juniors.

Of course, there is still some work to be done with the current recruiting class, but here are some names to remember as the summer AAU circuit and 2016 recruiting picks up…

 

Udoka Azubuike
Center

6’10”, 280 lbs.
Jacksonville, Fla. (Potter’s House Christian)

247Sports Composite: No. 14 overall, No. 1 C
247Sports: No. 12 overall, No. 2 C
Rivals: No. 13 overall, No. 1 C
ESPN: No. 10 overall, No. 1 C
Scout: No. 24 overall, No. 6 C

Notable offers: Duke, Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland and Texas

Udoka Azubuike (no relation to Kelenna) picked up his offer from Kentucky last summer during the AAU circuit and the Cats are high on his list, although it’s still very early in his recruiting process. He has yet to take any visits, but he was in Lexington over the weekend at the EYBL event at the Kentucky Basketball Academy, where the UK coaching staff and some of the returning players were among the many people in attendance to watch him play.

The native of Nigeria has drawn comparisons to a young Shaquille O’Neal. Watch him dunk and you’ll see why.


Harry Giles
Power Forward

6’10”, 230 lbs.
Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wesleyan Christian Academy)

247Sports Composite: No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF
247Sports: No. 3 overall, No. 1 PF
Rivals: No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF
ESPN: No. 2 overall, No. 1 PF
Scout: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PF

Considering: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse, UNLV and Wake Forest

It won’t be easy to lure Harry Giles out of his home state of North Carolina, but Kentucky is making an effort for the one-time No. 1 player in the class. Like Azubuike and others, he played in front of Calipari in Lexington over the weekend. In fact, Cal did not miss any of Giles’ games.

The second member of the 2016 class to receive a scholarship offer from UK, Giles was also one of the first to receive an in-home visit with Cal during the April recruiting period.


Josh Jackson
Shooting Guard/Small Forward

6’6″, 184 lbs.
Napa, Ca. (Prolific Prep)

247Sports Composite: No. 1 overall, No. 1 SG
247Sports: No. 1 overall, No. 1 SG
Rivals: No. 1 overall, No. 1 SG
ESPN: No. 3 overall, No. 2 SF
Scout: No. 2 overall, No. 1 SF

Considering: Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State and UCLA

There is no reported offer for Jackson from Kentucky, but he’s No. 1 in three of the five major player rankings, so he’s certainly one to keep an eye on. The coaching staff watched him play a mediocre game yesterday at the Under Armour Association, one day after he scored 41 points with seven rebounds and six assists.


V.J. King
Small Forward

6’7″, 179 lbs.
Fairfax, Va. (Paul VI High School)

247Sports Composite: No. 15 overall, No. 2 SF
247Sports: No. 23 overall, No. 4 SF
Rivals: No. 11 overall, No. 2 SF
ESPN: No. 18 overall, No. 4 SF
Scout: No. 12 overall, No. 5 SF

Notable offers: Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Georgetown, Michigan State and Syracuse, among others

Keep an eye on V.J. King but don’t fall too in love because he has a very close relationship with Louisville, via assistant coach Kenny Johnson, formerly of the staff at King’s Paul VI High School in Virginia. King recently set up an official visit to Louisville for May 19 and he speaks very highly of the UofL program. That trip to see the Cards will be King’s first official visit and it is the only trip he has scheduled as of now.

Kentucky is still fighting, however. King said he hears from the Cats once or twice a week.


Malik Monk
Shooting Guard

6’3″, 170 lbs.
Bentonville, Ark. (Bentonville High School)

247Sports Composite: No. 6 overall, No. 3 SG
247Sports: No. 13 overall, No. 5 SG
Rivals: No. 7 overall, No. 3 SG
ESPN: No. 14 overall, No. 4 SG
Scout: No. 4 overall, No. 1 SG

Considering: Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina

Kentucky’s toughest competition for Malik Monk is Arkansas, Monk’s home state school. Calipari was in Arkansas last week to talk to Monk during an in-home visit, before watching him drop 39 points in a game over the weekend at KBA.

It wasn’t the first time Monk went off in front of Cal, either. He had a similar performance last summer in the Nike Peach Jam, shortly after receiving his offer from UK.


Kobi Simmons
Point Guard

6’5″, 177 lbs.
Alpharetta, Ga. (Saint Francis High School)

247Sports Composite: No. 9 overall, No. 1 CG
247Sports: No. 16 overall, No. 3 CG
Rivals: No. 12 overall, No. 4 PG
ESPN: No. 5 overall, No. 2 PG
Scout: No. 7 overall, No. 2 PG

Considering:

With Derryck Thornton reclassifying to 2015 to play for Duke next season, Kobi Simmons is the new priority for Kentucky at point guard and the interest is mutual between both parties. Simmons received his offered from UK two weeks ago and he was so excited he had to call Calipari back to make sure it was real.

Though he was ecstatic to receive the offer and UK is believed to be the leader, Simmons still plans to wait until the end of the summer to make a decision.


Jayson Tatum
Small Forward

6’8″, 190 lbs.
St. Louis, Mo. (Chaminade College Prep)

247Sports Composite: No. 3 overall, No. 1 SF
247Sports: No. 4 overall, No. 1 SF
Rivals: No. 3 overall, No. 1 SF
ESPN: No. 1 overall, No. 1 SF
Scout: No. 3 overall, No. 2 SF

Final list: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Saint Louis

Kentucky’s track record with sending players to the NBA has the school in Jayson Tatum’s final four, a list he announced earlier this month. Calipari was in St. Louis to meet with Tatum last Tuesday and the NBA was a major topic in their conversation.

Tatum was in Lexington over the weekend and he threw down a nasty dunk on a defender with Calipari sitting courtside, looking on.

He was the first member of the 2016 class to receive the coveted scholarship offer from UK, so his relationship with Cal goes way back.


The Cats got all dressed up for the CATSPYs tonight

It’s CATSPYs night in Lexington for UK Athletics and some of your favorite Wildcats are looking very dapper at the annual awards show.

Below you’ll find some of the #CATSPYs photos on social media tonight because getting all dressed up is a complete waste without putting in on the internet these days.

E.J. Floreal has the hat of the night.

@TBoydTheBoss

The 4 #CATSPYs

A photo posted by Devin Booker (@dbook2) on


Mychal Mulder will announce his decision tomorrow at 3:30

Mulder

Mychal Mulder will announce his decision tomorrow at 3:30 in a ceremony from the Vincennes University gym. The four-star JUCO guard has offers from Kentucky, Wichita State and Creighton, among others. He will sign his paperwork after the official announcement.

Mulder wrapped up a three-day visit to Lexington earlier this evening.


ESPN reporting that NCAA will “likely” shorten shot clock for next season

Here’s some good news in the ongoing quest to “fix college basketball”: according to ESPN’s Andy Katz, the NCAA will “likely” shorten the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 seconds. Here’s what Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, chair of the NCAA rules committee, had to say:

“Now there’s a real decent chance,” Byrd said. “It’s pretty evident a lot more coaches are leaning that way. The opinion of coaches on the shot clock have moved significantly to reducing it from 35 to 30. And all indicators are pointing toward that.”

The rules committee will meet in Indianapolis May 12-15 and can vote to change the rule. Do it!

[ESPN]


Brandon Ingram picks Duke

@BSO

To no one’s surprise, 6’8″ wing Brandon Ingram picked Duke over North Carolina State, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Kentucky. Duke and UNC were favorites from beginning for Ingram, a Kinston, NC native, and with him on board, the Blue Devils now have the #1 recruiting class in the country.

Where do the Cats go from here? Jaylen Brown and Cheick Diallo are still on the table, with Diallo’s decision expected in the next 48 hours. Additionally, Calipari is still waiting to hear if Jamal Murray will reclassify and JuCo sharpshooter Mychal Mulder finished up his visit to campus this afternoon. Wouldn’t it be great if he gave us some good news soon?


LIVE DIARY: Brandon Ingram’s announcement

Hello, friends. Another day, another recruiting announcement to cover. Unfortunately, it’s another one in which Kentucky isn’t the favorite, but nonetheless, we are here to bring you all the latest on Brandon Ingram, the 6’8″ small forward from Kinston, North Carolina.

Scroll down for my updates.


6:09 p.m.: Aaaand, it’s Duke:

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 5.09.43 PM

On to the next…

6:06 p.m.: The newscast hasn’t switched over yet, but until they do, here’s another stream of the announcement. Ingram is wearing a tux:

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 5.08.04 PM

6:05 p.m.: One last look at Ingram’s Crystal Ball, which is 82% Duke:

6:02 p.m.: The best Ingram-related rumor I saw today? That he must be headed to Duke because he got the same haircut that most of the Duke starting five had this past season:

Here’s the Duke starting five:

Coincidence? We’ll see…

6:00 p.m.: The table is set:

@kenmedlin


Jaylen Brown trims list to five

jaylenbrown

Of the few uncommitted elite recruits left, Jaylen Brown is definitely the wildcard. In a telling sign of how wide open his recruitment still is, Brown just trimmed his list from eight to five: Cal, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, and North Carolina. Georgia, Georgia Tech, and UCLA were eliminated.

There’s a rumor floating around that John Calipari snuck in an in-home visit last week after Brown said he wasn’t hosting any more coaches. Cal was in Alpharetta, Georgia to visit Kobi Simmons on Tuesday…maybe he dropped by nearby Marietta to see Jaylen? Hmm…


Gunnar Hoak says he “really loves” Kentucky’s offense

@Rivals

Three-star 2016 quarterback Gunnar Hoak committed to UK a little over a week ago, and this past weekend, participated in the Rivals Quarterback Challenge in Cincinnati. Rivals’ Josh Helmholdt interviewed Hoak, a Dublin, Ohio native, about his decision to commit to Kentucky and what he likes about the Cats.

“It was a great choice, I thought, it was a great situation to get into knowing how many quarterbacks they have on their roster right now and how they didn’t take a quarterback in the class of 2015, I think I can get there and see myself playing early. I didn’t want to pass that opportunity up.”

Hoak is particularly a big fan of Shannon Dawson, Kentucky’s new offensive coordinator.

I really love the offense, I can definitely see myself playing in that,” Hoak said. “They throw it around a lot. I know Coach Dawson, he set records at other schools throwing it 89, 90 times a game, so I like that, definitely.”

To see the entire interview, in which Hoak also discusses what he wants to improve on in his senior season, head on over to Rivals.com.

[Rivals]


Coroner says former Cat Mike Phillips died after falling down the stairs

Mike Phillips (left) with James Lee, Matt, and Goose Givens

Yesterday, we shared the unfortunate news of former Kentucky center Mike Phillips’ passing. The details were vague, but according to Jerry Tipton on Twitter this afternoon, Hopkins County Coroner Dennis Mayfield says Phillips died after falling down a flight of stairs at his house and there was no foul play. No one else was home when it happened.

Phillips was one of the “Twin Towers” in UK’s 1978 National Championship season alongside Rick Robey, and finished his UK career 25th on the program’s all-time scoring list. A visitation will be held Thursday from 5-8 p.m. CT at Victory Church in Madisonville, and the funeral service is set for Friday at 11 a.m. CT, also at Victory Church.

Our thoughts go out to his family in this difficult time.


Mr. Redlegs almost took out a Chicago Cubs third baseman yesterday

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 2.31.34 PM

I know there’s a strong Reds following on this blog, Matt included, so for you guys, here’s a laugh. During yesterday’s game against the Cubs, Cincinnati mascot Mr. Redlegs almost took out a Chicago Cubs third baseman during the Mascot Race in the 5th inning at Great American Ballpark:

The Reds went on to lose the game, 5-2. As Patrick Towles said earlier, being a Cincinnati sports fan is the most unforgiving thing in the world.


Adam Zagoria’s hearing that Cheick Diallo will announce tomorrow or Wednesday

The latest guessing game on Twitter is predicting when Cheick Diallo will announce his decision. Adam Zagoria’s sources are telling him that Diallo will announce at the earliest tomorrow and latest on Wednesday, while Evan Daniels agrees it could happen as early as tomorrow and Kentucky, Kansas, and St. John’s are all “in good shape.”

Interestingly, Diallo posted this picture of Skal Labissiere on Instagram last night with a shoutout to the future Cat, then deleted it:

@tbird22btown

Hmmm…come on down and join your French-speaking brother, Cheick?

[ZagsBlog]


Brown Named SEC Pitcher of the Week

(Photo by Tim Casey, UAA Communications)

(Photo by Tim Casey, UAA Communications)

Kentucky starter Zack Brown was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week following his seven shutout innings against Florida on Friday. Brown improved to 4-4 on the season and extended his scoreless inning streak to 15.1 innings by defeating the #5 Gators in Gainesville. Following 7.1 shutout innings against Tennessee, Brown struck out six and allowed five hits against the Gators in a 3-0 Kentucky win. The sophomore righty has developed into one of the best weekend starters in the SEC over the course of conference play. With wins over Mississippi State, Tennessee and Florida, Brown has solidified his place among the top starters in the SEC. Brown will look to continue this dominant streak when he goes up against the defending National Champions, Vanderbilt, this Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. 

@TreyHuntsmanKSR