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UK Fans of the Day Want 20 Final Thoughts From Peach Jam


Kentucky Fans at Notre Dame

It is almost time to start another week in the life of KSR (this one focused on UK Media Days with Tyler Thompson live in Birmingham for the event), but before we move on, a little closure on the Peach Jam. Tomlin will be along tomorrow for his take on the scene as an outsider who had never been to a recruiting event, but I thought I would give 20 quick hitters on what I learned at College Basketball’s biggest recruiting event:

1. Kentucky has expanded its net on the 2014 class. The last couple of years have seen UK fans become a bit spoiled, as the Cats have focused almost exclusively on top 15-20 players, and have ended up getting almost all of them. The 2014 class may be different. While there is still a scenario in which UK gets an exclusively top 10 class (more on that in the night post), it looks more and more like UK is going after some new targets. At the Peach Jam, Angel Delgado, Kelly Oubre and Abdul Malik Abu, all emerged as potential new UK offers in the coming weeks. UK is having to go slightly deeper this year, in part due to some battles for the top 5-7 guys in the class.

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2. Jahlil Okafor (pictured above) is the real deal and the clear #1 player in the 2014 class. One NBA executive told Yahoo Sports that he was the most skilled offensive post big man of the last 20 years. That is high praise, but it might be justified as he is able to score around the basket as well as anyone I can remember. His defense needs some work and one could complain about his rebounding, but all of that is just nitpicking. He is a star that I would love UK to get…although I am afraid he is headed to Duke, Michigan State or Kansas.

3. John Calipari is one of two rockstars in the coaching ranks. Wherever he or Coach K go, whispers follow. Every other coach might get a “oh there is Jim Boeheim” or “Roy Williams looks nice in that tweed,” but when Calipari or Coach K walk in, everyone knows. They have the star power and you can see players shift when they appear. It is fascinating to watch.

4. Every year I have attended the Peach Jam, Roy Williams has worn pink. No other coach is not wearing their school colors, but Roy is always wearing pink, flanked by two 80 year old men. It is clearly intentional, as three years in a row a coincidence does not make. Pink Roy does things differently I presume.

5. It was hard to evaluate Stanley Johnson, one of the players that most presume UK could end up with as part of the class. He is looking at Kentucky, Arizona, USC, Kansas and others and there is a lot to like about his game. He gets to the rim, is quick to the ball and is explosive. But like Archie Goodwin, finishing is a problem and his team was so awful that it was hard to evaluate him against the best of the best. I can see why Calipari likes him, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his ranking drop.

6. Sometimes it pains me to say such things, but there is no friendlier coach than Billy Donovan. Every year I see him, he always speaks to me and asks about the site and he has a genuine conversation in a way that almost no other coach would. When I read him poetry that former Cat Carlos Toomer had written about former UK players (you may remember that from KSR’s earliest days, he laughed loudly and asked me for more the next day. I know he coaches our rival and has turned us down at least once at UK…but I can’t help but like him.

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7.: Part of what makes the Peach Jam great, but also odd, is the proximity you have to the coaches. As the picture above with me and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar showcases, you are literally rubbing legs with top coaches in sometimes uncomfortable ways. It never gets normal to turn around and have Coach K making jokes about fat AAU coaches 6 inches from your face (as happened this year), but I have to say that it is very cool.

8.: I was very proud of the Kentucky Travelers team and their performance in Augusta. They went 2-3, but two losses were very close and their blowout loss was to the team that ended up runner-up of the whole event. The 10 Kentucky kids making up the team can play and Perry Central’s Justin Johnson exploded on the national scene with a performance that will lead to many BCS offers. They were fun to watch and had Calipari checking them out and commenting to those around them about how well they were playing. Kudos on a great performance and representing the state tremendously well.

9.: The battle between UK and UL for Trey Lyles was the talk of much of the camp. Most are suggesting these two teams will be the final two choices and depending on who you talk to, either could lead. The buzz going into the Peach Jam was that UL had overtaken UK, but everyone around Augusta said Lyles was still a UK lean. Jerry Meyer of 24/7 Sports even switched his pick from UL to UK. I am not sure who will take him, but UK/UL coaches were at every game Lyles played and it will be a battle between the schools similar to Marquis Teague three years ago.

10. They say that Presidents age five years for every year in office, mostly showcased by the greyness of their hair. If that is true, then Gary Parrish must have served two terms as Commander in Chief since the last Peach Jam. He was however the only media member ballsy enough to rock the grey hair and painter’s cap combo. #MediaHipster

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11. Texas wing Kelly Oubre (pictured above with his Fishbone lead singer-like hair) is clearly a rising star that is picking up offers left and right. He told Adam Zagoria that he expects a UK offer after the Peach Jam and he already has tons of interest from UCONN, Arizona, Syracuse and others. I watched two of his games and saw real talent, but he was on a great team that had many prospects and so he often blended in a bit more than you would expect from a star. His length makes it clear why Calipari would be interested, but I have to think he is a second-tier recruit right now for UK.

12. While I liked what I saw from Tyus Jones, the PG that is considered to be one of the two best in the class, I do think Emmanuel Mudiay is more of a Calipari point guard. Jones is short, quick and a good passer, but he won’t necessarily be a great finisher in college and is more of a distributor than a “beat you off the dribble” type that Calipari loves. If it wasn’t for the Okafor-Jones package deal (which looks to be legit), I would favor Mudiay for UK. So if the Cats can’t get Okafor (and I dont think they can right now), the Mudiay is the best option for Calipari. He will be a star in Lexington.

13. I was amazed at how many UK fans were at the event. Drew, Tomlin and I met a ton of you guys and blue shirts were literally in every gym for every game. No other fanbase showed up anywhere close to UK and I would say there may have been more UK shirts than all other teams combined. I am sure recruits notice this and it is part of why they continue to mention the BBN in interviews.

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14 Two things I saw way too much of this week were Doug Shows’ thighs. He was there evaluating referees (even though I was hoping he might be getting tips), and he continually wore short khaki shorts that brought new meaning to the “skies out, thighs out” mantra. Calipari even was with him for a while, showcasing that in terms of burying disagreements, the Peach Jam is a place of unity and hope….at least until Shows gives Calipari a technical again next year.

15. I do think Calipari will likely end up offering Angel Delgado, a player that had a great Peach Jam. He has a ton of connections to UK, his AAU coach played for Calipari and he will be playing for the Dominican team with Orlando Antigua, and his game continues to improve. I never saw him in person (he seemed to always be playing in the game next to the court I was on), but I heard nothing but raves and by the end, Kenny Payne was at all of his games. He is a name that could end up in Blue.

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16. KSR’s two favorite coaches of the event? Frank Haith and Greg Paulus. We spent a good deal of time talking to both, and I found both very funny. Our Haith conversation started out awkwardly when my intro to him was “that game last year in Rupp with you guys was great” and he responded, “well of course you would think so, we pissed it away.” But we recovered and ended up becoming a fan of Frank and his large sports coats. As for Paulus, he remembered two interviews we had done with him during his playing days and was aware (and not upset) of Tomlin posing next to his ass on day one (pictured above). Both gave us their phone numbers, said they would come on KSR and are now our BFFs. We are so cheap and easy to please.

17. The best player I saw all weekend was 2015 recruit Malik Newman. He is an unstoppable scorer from Mississippi and a guy who has NBA written all over him. If he were in the 2014 class, he would probably be ranked #2 overall and his ability to get to the rim is unmatched by anyone in high school basketball. The consensus seems to be that he is UK’s to lose as he grew up a Cats/Calipari fan. I hope that is true because he is the next great one.

18. They really do love peaches in the parts of South Carolina/Georgia where we were. Not only did they serve them at the event (and coaches literally lined up for them…Jamie Dixon stayed outside a room for 30 minutes waiting for the new batch), but every 200 feet on the side of the road is another peaches’ stand. It is almost as if 25% of the states’ economies are peach-related. With that said, if you get the right batch, put in sugar, etc, they can be scrumtrulescent heaven.

19. The trend for virtually everyone in high school basketball is to wear the loudest colored shoes imaginable. Last year the trend was neon and this year the trend was to have shoes that looked like someone spilled an easel on them. There is no rhyme or reason to the color pattern, so long as they are loud. To me, the shoes seem to get uglier, but that is why I am old and not a street agent for the next generation of superstars.

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20 A big shout out to Calipari and Kenny Payne who were there from sun up to sun down all three days. These guys always work hard recruiting, but this year they may be doing even more than usual. Along with Antigua (who was in Indianapolis for most of the time), they realize that this class is going to require a bit more leg work than some in the past. And thus, these guys didn’t miss a game, watching all the key kids multiple times…and you can tell the kids noticed. Some coaches mail it in over the years (you can guess who), Calipari is not one of them.

We had a great time in Augusta and look forward to it again next year. Thanks to Drew and Tomlin for all their work and the great fans we met along the way. You guys/gals were awesome and made for one of the more fun weeks we have ever had on the job. I don’t know when I have laughed harder than I did these three days and now lets hope the events of the week translate into another top UK class.

Article written by Matt Jones

31 responses to “UK Fans of the Day Want 20 Final Thoughts From Peach Jam”

  1. UKCatsRedsColts

    IN CAL WE TRUST

  2. TDog

    I like Billy too. Not mad about him choosing to stay at UF. He has ties there and loves it. We got the better deal anyway but still he’s a great guy.

  3. Not my name

    Blog posts like that are what make you the best writer

  4. Linda Taylor

    1 – Haha. Your peach comments brought back wonderful memories of my childhood. There was a u-pick orchard close by my grandparents’ ranch in the valley near my hometown where we would go every year and pick lugs of peaches. I have never tasted better. There was no need for sugar the peaches were so sweet, though fighting off the gnats while picking them was a challenge, but so worth it. I still make a peach/blueberry cobbler my mom used to make with those peaches. We also had 2 apricot trees in the backyard of our first house. Picked ripe off the tree they are so delicious, nothing like what you buy in the store.

  5. D.Money

    Thanks for covering the event guys good job. Could it be that the cat’s are in good shape with several top 15 prospects lyles, Emmanuel m, Stanley Johnson. Cal is also in the mix for Turner, Alexander, okafor, Jones, Vaughn. So the cats could be planning on signing 7 or 8. Three or four 5 stars and three or four 4 stars ( Perkins oubre degado etc….). The staff is hitting the trail even harder because Cal has said that he doesn’t want to get caught with his pants down again an he meant it…imo

  6. Pancreas

    Your comments about Stanley Johnson are interesting. You seem to be only lukewarm about his performance but all other accounts were glowing. He had a rough first day, but absolutely dominated after that with multiple 20/10 performance while filling the stat sheet and making clutch plays down the stretch. The guys at other sites were raving about his takeover ability and said that he really put on a show.

  7. 2014NationalChamps

    Marc Maggard is saying bad news may be coming on the Harrison twins. Man, that clown always like to stir the pot.

  8. Notsureiftrue

    I have no idea if this is true, but I did receive a text from a UK student this afternoon. Here’s what it said: “Just heard some interesting news about cal. He hired an attorney out of the blue. This attorney’s last two big clients, Lane Kiffin, and the University of Miami head coach.” What do you guys think? Go Cats

  9. W.W.B.B.N.D?

    I would think that Lyles could see what Coach Cal has done with 5 star players, and see what RickyP has done(not done), and it would be a easy pick for him.

  10. Linda Taylor

    10 – lonnie is that you or are you a lonnie-wanna-be? The next thing we know you’ll be talking about taking the attorney under your wing. We aren’t buying.
    9 – So why pay him any attention?

  11. reedwizard

    #5. Linda, seriously, what’s your cobbler recipe? We just picked a ton of peaches and the wife’s cobbler recipe went up in smoke. Sounds like a tried and true one you have there.

  12. kentuckyjoe

    Awesome post!

  13. Linda Taylor

    13 – Here goes: Peachaberry Cobbler
    Oven 350 – Serves 6

    1 Tbl cornstarch
    1/4 c brown sugar
    1/2 c cold water
    2 c sugared peaches, fresh & sliced
    1 c fresh blueberries
    1 Tbl butter
    1 Tbl lemon juice
    1 c sifted all purpose flour
    1/2 c sugar
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 c milk
    1/4 c butter, softened
    2 Tbl sugar + 1/4 tsp nutmeg to sprinkle on batter

    Mix first 3 ingredients in sauce pan, add fruit, cook and stir until mixture thickens. Add 1 Tbl butter + 1 Tbl lemon juice. Pour into 8X2 inch ovenware cake dish. In separate bowl sift dry ingredients together. Add 1/2 c milk and 1/4 c butter all at once. Beat until smooth. Pour over fruit (mixture is pretty thick so you will probably have to spoon it over). Sprinkle 2 Tbl sugar and 1/4 tsp nutmeg over batter.
    Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes.

    Breyer’s vanilla bean ice cream is great served over this. Enjoy!

  14. Oh Really?

    Oh really #9?

  15. kent johnson

    stanley johnson was leading scorer and 2nd leading rebounder at Peach jam. Don’t see his ratings dropping. Newman may be great but he had a terrible shooting %. Maybe on a crappy team.

  16. ukfan

    I don’t understand why this site flip flops on the 2014 recruiting class so much. In this post there is a touch of nervousness or “need to worry” in the tone regarding how the class will finish out, yet in just two or three posts below this one you talk about “and then the peach jam happened..” concerning our 2014 class and then clearly go on to say (with confidence) that we could end up with yet another number 1 ranked recruiting class.. so which one is it??

  17. mashburnfan1

    People like #11 amaze me. Yeah he could see that UL, much to my dismay, is the current, I can’t even write it. While we ended up losing in the first round of the Invitation thing. I just can’t write those words either. #9 better come sooner than later.

  18. Boogie Fan

    Matt, you need a catchy name for the great Sunday night posts you churn out week after week. Its sort of like Peter King’s Monday Morning QB, but a lot better, and without the name dropping, and the coffee nerdness.

  19. Chaz

    Thanks for the PJam summary Matt. Glad you had a good week, and I hope tonight finds you back home safely in Kentucky with your neglected gear recovered from Ashville. Nice comments about Donovan as well, I only wish he had satisfied the longing for sun and surf on the West Coast where I could cheer for him without feeling conflicted. Lastly, hope you get very busy very quickly and so erase those images of Doug Shows’ thighs from your mind, although I fear the next time he ejects Cal you may visualize that naked flesh beneath the black referee’s pants – I hope that’s not the case.

    Looking forward to this week’s broadcasts, and hoping Tyler Thompson finally makes a live radio appearance.

  20. Ridge Runner

    Great summary!

  21. Chaz

    @15 – I’ll pass that on to a family member who can cook. If I tried this, I would be sampling a flat, over browned, fruit flavored mess. Thanks for sharing.

  22. ukfan

    Matt, it’s just funny that you’re the leader of this site and you write a post summarizing Peach Jam and you leave us with a bit of concern towards how the 2014 will finish up, yet on a post two or three down from this one it basically says we should feel confident in how our 2014 class will finish up because Peach Jam happened.. LOL, it’s a bit conflicting, no? Regardless, thanks for your coverage this weekend, good stuff.

  23. SeaCat

    Great work Matt!!
    We crave recruiting news!!
    Thanks!!
    Jay H is also an upcoming star like you.

  24. wedding planner

    I am concerned about UK basketball.. obviously, it started with the crash last season. An NIT first-round loss was unbearable.

    Then we lost Wiggins. Mostly because of the twins. The twins may be great players, but the truth is that they are jerks. I’d much rather have Wiggins. On top of that, they are not here this summer. I am always trying to look at the positive with these guys but I am losing it now..

    And then the 2014 class. Clearly, last season is hurting us. Okafor and Alexander are the best players in the class and we are not getting them. And there is a very good chance that Mudiay will not qualify because he goes to a shady Highschool run by.. DEON SANDERS.

  25. Don Gordon

    I met Billy at a coaches clinic several years ago. He is class act and took the time to speak to me, a high school coach at a small school.

    Matt , please don’t leave us in suspense. What coaches mail it in? Boeheim, perhaps?

  26. uk3k_J

    Thanks for the great coverage. I dont think you could do a better job of making a bunch of summer high school basketball articles entertaining

  27. reedwizard

    Thanks Linda! I’ll try it out tomorrow!

  28. Linda Taylor

    30 – Your welcome. By the way is your screen name a musical reference?