With the NBA Draft right around the corner, what better way to celebrate the eve of six Kentucky players being selected, than to celebrate a former player that survived and eventually thrived in his time as a Wildcat. DeAndre Liggins, the No. 28 player in the 2008 class from Findlay Prep in Nevada, was brought to Lexington by Billy Gillispie as a point guard and committed on this day in 2007. At the time, Liggins was one of a handful of recruits that had committed to Clyde in a span of just a few short months.
If I may quote a post from right here on Kentucky Sports Radio shortly after his announcement.
It was a big get by Coach Billy Gillispie and [is] proof once again of his amazing recruiting prowess. At this point, Gillispie has been on the job for a little over two months and has brought in five recruits that were Top 40 guys in their class.
Coming to Kentucky, Liggins struggled in his time under Gillispie – like so many others in his system. We now know what happened under his watch and it’s tough to think about. But the turnaround that John Calipari has put on not only the program but those Billy Gillispie era players is remarkable. Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins would have never been NBA Draft picks, but Calipari turned them into something. Darius Miller is another piece of that Gillispie era who will graduate to the NBA tomorrow. (Jon Hood, you’re next.)
Liggins became a fan favorite with his defensive tenacity and vivacious on-the-court attitude. Though we begged him to stay another year, and it pained us to see him go, we were so very happy that he had the opportunity to not only continue his basketball career, but actually be drafted by an NBA team.
It couldn’t have been the path he chose, but DeAndre Liggins just five short years ago to the day, committed to play for the Cats. Here’s to you, Liggins! Thanks to my Season Never Ends calendar for bringing this anniversary to my attention.
– This morning began with a little Twitter bashing. Newcomer to the SEC, South Carolina head coach Frank Martin apparently didn’t take too kindly to John Calipari’s newest techniques of, ”recruiting by non-recruiting.” Martin’s message was a little blurred, but the jab was evident.
@UKCoachCalipari I love u & u r the best but while u talk 2 the NBA I will talk 2 the future NBA players
— Frank Martin (@FrankMartin_SC) June 27, 2012
So yeah. Whatever that means.
– The basketball haters were out in full force today. Royce White let loose in an interview with Sports Illustrated, taking a shot at Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, saying, “I don’t like that kid. He’s too hyped up. He’s not as good as they think he is. He’s a kid. I’m a man.” Yep. A man who is too scared to get on an airplane. He apologized on Twitter, saying the context was based on what Kidd-Gilchrist said about him before Kentucky played Iowa State during the NCAA Tournament. Sure thing, Royce!
– ESPN announced that Kentucky basketball has been nominated for four – count ‘em FOUR – ESPY’s including Best Team, Best Coach, Best Male College Athlete and Best Breakthrough Athlete. Fan voting is a significant part of who wins, so do your part. I also noticed that Louisville was not nominated for any, and I feel kind of bad… Maybe we could make some categories for them? What about Best Player-to-Transfer Ratio? Best Unoriginal Billboard Ideas? Best Steeplechasers and Individual Swimmers?
– The NBA Draft green room was full today with the 14 invitees and a swarm of media. As you might expect, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had two of the largest crowds surrounding them. Kidd-Gilchrist said he wants to dunk on Davis in the league. A little friendly competitive never hurt anybody.
– Joker Phillips and the football staff picked up a commitment today for the 2013 class. Blake McClain, a stocky three-star cornerback out of Florida made the decision to be a Wildcat over a host of other schools including Louisville and Mississippi State. He is the seventh guy to commit to the Cats for 2013.
– For six former Kentucky players, tomorrow begins a new chapter of their lives. David Stern is going to call their name and a team will sign them to a deal worth millions of dollars to play basketball wearing their jersey. If you are a Kentucky fan, or better yet and SEC fan, tomorrow has the potential to be a monumental day. It could be the first time two teammates are selected 1-2 in the draft. It could be the second time a conference goes 1-2-3 with the first three picks. It could be the first time a conference has more than eight players taken in the first round. It could be the first time a team has more than five guys taken in the first round. You better be watching! Coverage begins on 7 o’clock on ESPN.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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