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Aaron Torres’ Take

Aaron Torres Sports Podcast Ep. 60: Silly Louisville lawsuit + New Mexico coach Paul Weir

It’s another episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Aaron is joined by New Mexico coach Paul Weir to discuss what Aaron believes will be one of the most fascinating college basketball teams in America in 2018-2019. But first, Aaron’s buddy Nick Coffey stops by to talk the biggest topics of the day, and boy oh boy did they have plenty to discuss:

The Papa John’s Fallout: The “Papa John’s” story reached the world of sports, as John Schattner is out after his inflammatory comments earlier this week. The question now – what does it mean for Louisville athletics, with Schattner’s name and company attached to the stadium?

Louisville basketball players sue the NCAA: Next the guys stay in Louisville to discuss former Cardinals players suing the NCAA following the removal of the 2013 national championship banner. Nick explains why the lawsuit is essentially frivolous and the players have little chance of winning.

Changes to AAU basketball: With AAU basketball season here the guys discuss why proposed rule changes from the NCAA are absurd and will only hurt college basketball and its players, not help it.

Finally, who would argue the NFL is a more entertaining product than college football?: Finally, the guys dig into a popular topic on social media earlier this week, with one Sports Illustrated writer claiming that the NFL is a more entertaining product than college football. Aaron questions who would make such a claim, while arguing that college is superior in just about every way imaginable.

Next up, Aaron is joined the head coach of the New Mexico Lobos, a team to keep an eye out for heading into the 2018-2019 college basketball. Weir took over last season and immediately led them to the Mountain West title game, and has an improved roster last year which includes a slew of transfers including former Ohio State guard Jaquan Lyle and Kansas forward Carlton Bragg. The pair discusses:

The unique change that allowed New Mexico to have success in Weir’s first season: As Aaron laid out in a previous episode, Weir made a drastic change which allowed the Lobos to be rapidly improved the second half of last season. Weir explained what that change is, what went into the decision and how his players reacted.

Updates on a loaded transfer class: Weir explains the impact that Lyle and UConn transfer Vance Jackson will have heading into 2018-2019. Weir also updates the status of former Kansas forward Carlton Bragg who is also in Albuquerque, and explains how he plans to keep his team focused with a vastly improved roster.

New Mexico’s book club: Finally, Weir explains how he started a “book club” at New Mexico and how his players have responded positively to the experience.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Kevin Knox is Shaping Up To Be the Steal of the 2018 NBA Draft

There are a couple rules in life I like to follow. Never trust someone with two first names. Never let someone dressed as Elvis officiate your wedding. And never, ever make too many sweeping judgments about a basketball player off his performance at NBA Summer League.

Still, I can’t lie – the last week has made me flip my stance on one of those rules (and for those asking, no I’m not getting married any time soon). Instead, it’s at Summer League where after a white-hot start, Kevin Knox is making re-consider everything I thought I knew about the event. Not only has Knox been a flat out revelation at Summer League and – all things considered – quite possibly the most impressive player, but he’s also shaping up to be the steal of the 2018 NBA Draft. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that when all is said and done, he could end up as one of the two or three best players in this entire class.

The ironic part about all that is that I was actually super-high on Knox even before the draft. If you guys listen to my podcast (subscribe here!) you know that out of every national media member I was quite possibly the most outspoken on Kevin Knox’s long-term ability, and when I saw him pegged as a guy who would likely go in the middle of the teen’s in most mock drafts, I publicly questioned it. At the time I truly believed he had the skill-set of someone who should go somewhere between the No. 5 and No. 10 pick in the draft. I’m not going to lie and say that I would have taken him over DeAndre Ayton or Marvin Bagley, but did think he should fall into the next group with Mo Bamba, Trae Young and Wendell Carter, as guys who should be taken in any order depending on the need.

Well apparently the Knicks were listening, and maaaaan have they looked smart so far.

For those who haven’t been following Summer League particularly closely here’s what you need to know: Through Tuesday’s games, Knox is averaging a paltry 23.3 points per game, on a combination of rim-rattling dunks, a solid mid-range game and deep three-point shooting that we knew he had at Kentucky, but didn’t always show. That 23.3 point per game average is tied for second most with the Lakers’ Josh Hart, with only Atlanta’s John Collins having a higher point per game average. Keep in mind that both of those guys are second year players who both spent last season in the NBA, giving them a leg up on the rookie class. In terms of Hart specifically, he turned 23-years-old in March, making him a full four-and-a-half years older than Knox, who won’t be 19 until next month.

And really, that’s one of the most incredible things to me about this performance from Knox so far – he’s doing it at just 18-years-old. Keep in mind that Knox isn’t just young by NBA standards or even Summer League standards (an event which is littered with guys in their mid to late 20’s looking to make the NBA), but he’s even young relative to his peers in the 2018 class. Some quick Wikipedia research reveals that he’s a full a year younger than guys like Ayton, Bagley and Bamba. Can you imagine how far along Knox will be a year from now, when he’ll actually be the same age as most of the 2019 draft class (for example, top 2019 draft prospect Cameron Reddish is just one month younger than Knox)? Heck, can you imagine where he’ll be six or seven years from now when he actually reaches his physical peak and potential?

That’s also why I don’t necessarily believe the whole “don’t put too much into Summer League performances” when it comes to Knox. For one, he isn’t a third or fourth year college player that is close to reaching his potential, but just now starting to scratch the surface. Furthermore, he’s got the perfect skill-set for today’s NBA. At 6’9, he’s comfortable taking opponents off the dribble, but also capable of taking and making deep three’s. In other words, he’s got the skills of a two-guard… but in a 6’9 frame. You know how valuable that is?

For comparison’s sake, think back to this year’s NBA playoffs. Remember that Rockets-Warriors series (which was basically the NBA Finals)? How there were times that outside of Kevin Durant (who is a once-in-a-generation, seven foot freak) no one on the floor was taller than 6’8 or 6’9? How everyone could handle the ball and shoot jumpers? How everyone needed to be able to defend multiple positions? How, to use a term John Calipari coined years ago, both those teams play “positionless basketball?”

To which I ask, name me one guy better suited for the “positionless” era in the NBA than Knox? There are a few who are equally as adept (Jaren Jackson, Michael Porter if healthy etc.). But nobody who can seamlessly handle things on the wing like Knox, who can score at all three levels and defend multiple positions.

Add it up and you can see why I’m so high on Knox. He’s the perfect player for the era we live in.

Admittedly there is still a long way to go and he has a lot of work to do, and no, Summer League isn’t always the be all, end all of a guy’s career.

Still, right now he looks fantastic.

He looks like the steal of the 2018 NBA Draft.


Aaron Torres Sports Podcast Ep. 59 – Summer League Fever + Texas Tech coach Chris Beard

It’s a post-holiday edition of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast and a big one at that! Summer League is underway and Nick Coffey and Aaron Torres have caught the fever, plus a visit from Texas Tech coach Chris Beard after he led the Red Raiders to the school’s first Elite Eight appearance in school history last March. The guys start in Summer League though, where they discuss:

Kevin Knox’s emergence as a star: It’s always tough to take too much out of Summer League, but is Kevin Knox emerging as a star in front of our eyes? Aaron and Nick think so, and wonder whether he ends up as the steal of this NBA Draft. The guys also explain why his game might be suited better for the NBA than it ever was for college.

Trae Young’s struggles: The guys also touch on the struggles of Trae Young early on in summer league. The guys explain why they’re annoyed that Young’s game hasn’t evolved at the NBA level, and wonder why he’s trying to take on so much. Also, at what point is it too early to start wondering if the Hawks made the wrong selection with Young?

Grayson Allen: Finally, the guys wrap up by talking about why they’re not only OK with Grayson Allen’s hard fouls, but how it might be the path to a long, professional career for him. They also talk the re-emergence of one player who skipped college basketball last year, and why they’re happy for a former star who has suffered one injury after another.

Next up, Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard joins the show. As you may remember, Beard led Texas Tech to one of the most remarkable seasons in college basketball last year. In just his second season at the school, the Red Raiders made the Elite Eight. He discusses all that and more starting with:

His unique path in coaching: Beard describes his wild ride through coaching, which includes stops as head coach at the JUCO and DII levels + the ABA. What did those experiences teach him that he takes with him today? Also, why being let go at Texas Tech as an assistant a decade ago led him to where he is today.

How he gets his players to buy in: Aaron asks the simple question: How does Beard have so much success so quickly, at every stop he goes to? Beard how he gets players to buy in and believe in his system. He also explains his personal philosophy of only “getting one shot” and taking advantage of it.

His torn ACL: Finally, Beard talks about his health, after suffering an ACL-tear mid-season. Beard never stopped coaching, and explains why recent lottery pick Zhaire Smith is to blame for the fact that he hasn’t gotten surgery yet.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Get to Know Fast-Rising 2019 Prospect Josh Green

Get to Know Fast-Rising 2019 Prospect Josh Green

We are officially just days away from the start of the July recruiting period, and as we get closer, Kentucky fans are starting to get a better sense for what their 2019 class might look like. The class is already off to a strong start with the commitments of Tyrese Maxey and D.J. Jeffries, but could become historic if James Wiseman, Cole Anthony, Vernon Carey (or some combination of the three) head to Lexington.

Still, there are other players who are quickly moving up the Wildcats’ radar and one name to keep an eye on heading into July is Josh Green. The combo guard who is originally from Australia and now plays at IMG Academy has had a monster six months, and after viewing him at the Nike Hoops Summit in April (where he scored 11 points as one of the youngest players in the event) I mentioned that I expected Kentucky to get into the mix before the summer was done. That appears to be the case as Rivals.com’s Corey Evans recently reported that in addition to the schools that were already recruiting him (Arizona, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Kansas) two blue bloods, Kentucky and North Carolina had begun to show interest. That interest coincides with Green rising into the Top 10 national rankings for both Rivals and ESPN’s recruiting services.

So what do Wildcats fans need to know about Green? We spoke to Justin Downer, one of Green’s coaches with West Coast Elite, the Under Armour AAU team club he has played with the last several summers. And while Green’s mix tapes show a diverse athlete, able to throw down monstrous dunks, what separates him according to Downer is his ability to do everything else.

“What’s not on the highlight tape is the kind of defender he is,” Downer said. “He can lock down on the ball, and cut off passing lanes, block shots, he’s a really, really high-level defender. He’s [also] a willing passer.”

Downer continued.

“He’s always understood the team concept,” he said. “He’s always understood the team game, he’s always understood how to win.”
Downer credits Green’s upbringing for shaping his unique skill-set. His father Delmas Green played college basketball here in the United States and then eventually spent a few years playing professionally overseas, so Green and his older brother (who now plays at UNLV) always had a good base of knowledge and genetics to work off of. The fact that he grew up in Australia – where fundamentals are emphasized over actual game play – helped too. It also allowed him to slowly develop into the player he is today.

“The thing about Josh is that he has always been a freak competitor,” Downer said. “He always plays so hard. So everything else kind of caught up with him. His shot has gotten better every year. He’s an improved ball-handler. That’s why people now see him as more of a combo guard instead of a wing.”

Downer’s comments align with Green skyrocketing up the recruiting rankings in the last few years. After a strong summer playing for West Coast Elite last year, Green was a consensus Top 40 recruit, before he blew up even further thanks to great showings at both the “Basketball Without Borders” event at NBA All-Star weekend and the Nike Hoops Summit. Both are events where some of the best high school players in the world participated, and despite being one of the youngest players at each event, Green shined. He has parlayed that play into a strong spring these past few months with West Coast Elite, where he has averaged 20 points per game as one of the top players on the Under Armour circuit. His team also is sitting near the top of the standings with a 9-1 overall record.

Add it all together and Green is now one of the hottest commodities on the recruiting trail. As mentioned up top, he is now ranked in the Top 10 in the 2019 recruiting rankings by both ESPN and Rivals.com.

And as Green’s profile has continued to grow, so too has interest from colleges. At the Nike Hoops Summit, Green told KSR that he was hearing primarily from schools like UCLA, Kansas, USC and Virginia, but went out of his way to specify that no one school led in his recruitment. According to Downer that is still the case as some of the biggest names in college basketball – Kentucky and North Carolina specifically – have begun to call.

“I think he’s in a place where he really wants to focus on July,” Downer said. “He really wants to finish this thing strong. He doesn’t think he can make any sort of list until the end of July because he loves a lot of schools on the list, but also wants to look at the new ones coming in.”

While recruiting will pick up heading into the fall, it looks more and more like Green’s sole focus right now is becoming the best player in high school basketball.

“He’s ready to keep climbing, and keep pushing so that his hard work pays off,” Downer said. “He’s going to make sure he doesn’t take his foot off the gas.”


You Might Not Like WKU Hiring Charles Bassey’s Guardian – But There’s Nothing Illegal About It

Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the latest twist in the Charles Bassey to Western Kentucky saga unfolded. Although I’m not so sure you could call it a “twist” as much as an inevitability.

That’s because in what has been expected for a long time, Western Kentucky went ahead and hired Hennssy Auriantal, Bassey’s guardian, as an assistant coach. Understand that from the time that Bassey – a five-star player, ranked among the top high school prospects in the country – decided to reclassify and commit to Western – something like this felt inevitable. It wasn’t certain, but you could feel it coming. Like Rick Pitino swearing “I’ll never do another interview again” – only to do an interview a few minutes after that, this one seemed like an absolute certainty.

Of course as soon as the news became official, you know what happened next: The Twitter mob came out and attacked Western Kentucky. We got the typical “never bet against Rick Stansbury in recruiting” tweets from many. Others called the move everything ranging from sketchy to unethical to immoral.

But while this move feels grimy on the surface (and well, it is), it’s important to remember one important thing: Hiring Bassey’s guardian is completely legal under NCAA rules. It might not feel right, but that act alone doesn’t constitute any NCAA violations. And if anything, we should probably give Stansbury a little credit here. If all it took to get Bassey was to hire Auriantal, good for Western Kentucky for pulling it off. All 350+ Division I programs could have done the same thing. They all could have made the hire and landed a potentially program-changing, five-star recruit. Why should we be mad at Stansbury for actually pulling it off?

Now to be clear (and in defense of those other 350+ Division I teams) there are of course other reasons to question the legitimacy of Bassey’s recruitment. Let’s also get another thing clear: This isn’t me picking on an 18-year-old kid. These are simple facts that have been reported through the media.

For starters, questions have surrounded Bassey since he left his first high school in Texas, and the local media in Kentucky have done an incredible job of looking into the credentials of Bassey’s new high school, Aspire Academy (which ran in conjunction with DeSales High School in Louisville). Add in the fact that Bassey was able to graduate a year early by reclassifying and that even Aspire Academy admitted that they had no idea whether or not he has a degree from the school, and it’s understandable why some are questioning the merits of the Bassey-to-Western Kentucky thing. Especially when you remember that no major college basketball powers seriously recruited Bassey outside of Western Kentucky, even despite the fact that he was a Top 10 recruit and played within driving distance of several schools that in theory should have been recruiting him (Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana).

Again, it’s OK to be skeptical. But again, if all we’re talking about is Western Kentucky choosing to hire Bassey’s guardian as an assistant coach? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

As a matter of fact, it’s actually more common than you might think. Remember, both Missouri and Washington hired Michael Porter Jr.’s dad in the last two years, with the hopes of landing his two sons (Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay). USC recently hired a guy named Eric Mobley, whose younger son is the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2020 and older son is a Top 15 prospect in the class of 2019. Again, nothing wrong there. Just like there was nothing wrong with Memphis hiring a guy named Keelon Lawson to land his two sons a few years ago (a pair of players who have since transferred to Kansas) or when Bill Self hired Mario Chalmers’ dad to bring along his son. Heck, if you want to go historic, Larry Brown hired Danny Manning’s dad back in the early 1980’s to land Danny Manning, who eventually led the Jayhawks to the 1988 national championship. Think Brown regrets making that move? I bet not.

Put simply, hiring people to land star recruits is a practice as old as time. Understand that as long as coaches get hired and fired based on how many games they win, they will always do whatever they can within the rules (and sometimes outside the rules) to get players. That includes hiring parents, guardians and AAU and high school coaches if it helps them get star players. Heck, the NCAA even tried to step in and slow down the practice, by putting in a new rule a few years ago that said that if a school is going to hire a parent or guardian to land a recruit, they have to hire them as a true assistant coach (as opposed to a non-sense operations position). And you know what? It hasn’t slowed up the practice at all.

That’s also why the more I dig into the Bassey situation, the more angry I’ve become with the media coverage. For one, the media is smearing the name of an 18-year-old kid and his guardian (even if it is fair to raise other questions about eligibility etc.). Furthermore, why is it OK for Missouri, Washington or Kansas to hire someone affiliated with a big-time recruit, but not Western Kentucky? Because it’s Western Kentucky and they’re not supposed to get a player of Bassey’s caliber? Get out of here.

At the end of the day, every Division I program had a chance to hire Auriantal and every Division I program had a chance to land Bassey because of it. Western Kentucky is the one who actually got it done.

Therefore, go ahead and dislike the move by Bassey, Auriantal and Western Kentucky.

But just remember: They didn’t actually do anything wrong.


Recruiting Expert on Tyrese Maxey: “Big Blue Nation Will Love This Kid”

We’re still a full four months away from the start of the 2018-2019 college basketball season, but at Kentucky, it’s never too early to look ahead to what’s next. The simple reality is that as talented as next year’s team is capable of being, the task of having to replace them in 2019-2020 is never far from John Calipari’s mind. With so many future NBA stars on the roster, it can’t be.

The good news for Coach Cal is that in a weird way, he’ll almost have an extra recruiter on the road this summer. That “recruiter” is actually Tyrese Maxey, the five-star guard from Texas who committed to the Wildcats back in May.

Recruiting insider Corey Evans of Rivals.com believes that Maxey could be Calipari’s best recruiter this spring and summer.

 “He is one of the most infectious, outgoing kids I’ve ever dealt with,” Evans told Kentucky Sports Radio this morning. “You don’t think he’s going to sell Kentucky basketball? Big Blue Nation will love this kid. He is outgoing, charismatic, loves the game.”

He continued.

“You always worry about these elite level guys,” Evans said. “Do they really love the game? You know what I mean? And if they don’t [love the game] they might be able to fake it until now, or maybe even into college. But the NBA level? The reason that these guys don’t pan out is because they don’t have the extra drive, they don’t love the game as much. Tyrese Maxey loves the game, and that’s one thing Kentucky fans will see from the get-go, if they haven’t seen it already. He loves the game. He’s going to be a Day 1 leader for John Calipari.”

In addition to speaking about Maxey, Evans also weighed in on the great white whale in recruiting in 2019: James Wiseman. The 6’11 forward from Memphis is the consensus best player in the class of 2019. But if you feel like you haven’t heard much about Wiseman’s recruitment in the last few months, you’re not alone.

Here’s what Evans had to say on Wiseman.

“There’s not much shaking right now,” Evans said. “It’s kind of been in a stall pattern a little bit. Let’s face it man, it’s dog versus dog, Kentucky versus Memphis. What’s going to happen? Everyone is waiting for the shoe to drop. Nothing has happened lately.”

“It’s like, Penny Hardaway gets hired in April and this giant snowball gets rolling down the hill, all these guys he coached and all the top kids in Memphis start committing to Memphis. And then of course [James] Wiseman [is] the last guy standing in a way, and nothing has happened for two months. We’re all in a stall pattern right now.”

To see what Corey said about this year’s freshmen, click here.

And to listen to Corey’s entire interview on Kentucky Sports Radio, click on Hour No. 2 below:


Ep. 57: Aaron Torres Sports Podcast – T.J. Walker and Arnie Spanier

Ep. 57: Aaron Torres Sports Podcast – T.J. Walker and Arnie Spanier

It’s a little bit of a different episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast this week. Nick Coffey is still away, and Aaron welcomes two guests to the show. First, Aaron is joined by KSR’s T.J. Walker to talk all things college hoops. Then, Aaron’s radio partner on Fox Sports Radio Arnie Spanier hops on to tell old-school radio stories. Starting with T.J., he and Aaron discuss:

The Wendell Carter Drama at Duke: How did Duke get themselves in this mess, and how likely is it that Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t honest with the Carter’s during the recruiting process? Also, Aaron explains why John Calipari never seems to find himself in these messes. Plus, how much will Duke miss Jeff Capel now that he’s gone?

The Charles Bassey Drama at Western Kentucky: The latest on Charles Bassey at Western Kentucky, after his own high school principal questioned whether Bassey ever even received a diploma or not. T.J. explains the details of what went on behind the scenes at Aspire Academy, and the guys agree that the real victim here is actually Bassey himself.

Finally, what’s the buzz at Kentucky with the addition of Reid Travis: Finally Aaron asks T.J. his thoughts on Kentucky now that Reid Travis is on campus. How good can this team be? And is it fair for Aaron to state that the Wildcats are the title favorites entering 2018-2019?

Next up, it’s story time, as Aaron is joined by Arnie Spanier. Arnie hosts Fox Sports Radio with Aaron every Saturday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET, and they discuss the following:

Arnie’s beginnings in radio: Arnie explains how a trip to watch his brother play high school basketball started his career. Also, how he got offered his first job in Vegas, and where he has worked since.

Some of his craziest stories from his time on air: How Bryan Colangelo (yes, that Bryan Colangelo) convinced him to go bungee jumping and why the Lakers were furious with him for joking about a Kobe Bryant injury. Also, how he met his wife doing a segment for his show.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Why the 2018-2019 Season Might be the Most Important of the Calipari Era

When Reid Travis committed to play his final season at Kentucky last week, I made a statement that day that frankly, I didn’t think was all too controversial: With the addition of Travis, Kentucky was officially the team to be in college basketball entering the 2018-2019 season.

Again, I didn’t find that comment to be all too controversial. With Travis now in the fold, UK simply possessed the best combination of skill, athleticism, depth and experience of anyone in the country. And apparently I wasn’t alone in thinking that. Within the next 24 hours of my initial comment, ESPN tabbed the Wildcats the favorites in 2019. So too did CBS. And within the last 24 hours, Vegas came full-circle and named Kentucky the team to beat next season.

So yeah, the Wildcats are going to be good. Realllllllly good.

Of course, as you might imagine not everyone agreed. Just as soon as I sent out the tweet below, stating that the Wildcats were the best team in college basketball entering next season, I got brush-back from fans from all sorts of other fan-bases across college basketball. They all basically shared the same sentiment, which went a little something like this: “Oh, you media guys are all the same. Of course you love Kentucky. You overhype them every off-season, and they still only have one national championship to show for it.”
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Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E56: Jim Calhoun

It’s another edition of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast – and woooooo is it a doozy, as Aaron is joined by the Hall of Fame, former head coach of UConn basketball Jim Calhoun. As a UConn alum, Aaron went bonkers, reliving Calhoun’s glory days, his best players and teams, as well as his new job as a head coach. Plus, the wild story of how Bob Knight convinced Calhoun to take the UConn job instead of Northwestern nearly 40 years ago.
First however, Aaron hits on some of the biggest topics and in and around basketball, including:
Reid Travis’ Arrival at KentuckyAfter briefly hitting on the topic last week, Aaron takes a deep dive into the Reid Travis commitment at UK. He explains why Travis now makes Kentucky complete, as well as the team to beat in college basketball in 2018-2019. Aaron also explains why the hype surrounding this year’s team is different than in years past.
Turmoil at UConnAaron looks at the tricky, legal situation involving Kevin Ollie and his buyout at UConn. Aaron also explains why the situation might be a bit more complicated than many have made it out to be.
Johnny Jones gets Another Job: How? 
NBA Awards Show: The dumb Ben Simmons vs. Donovan Mitchell debate, and Bill Russell gave the middle finger to all of America.
Next up, Aaron does a deep dive with the Hall of Famer, Jim Calhoun. The pair hit on a number of topics, including:
 
Calhoun’s New Job at a DIII SchoolCalhoun explains why he shockingly took the job at St. Joseph’s College, a Division III school in Aaron’s hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut. Calhoun also explains the differences between building a program at the DIII vs. DI level, and how coaching at a former all-girls college helps recruiting.
The Rise of UConn BasketballCalhoun takes listeners behind the scenes of how he built UConn basketball from a program with no resources and facilities into a Big East power. What was it like walking into a league where six coaches became future Hall of Famers? And when did he know he had the program on the right track?
Calhoun Discusses his Best Players and Teams: Finally Calhoun wraps up by talking about the best players and teams from his time in Storrs. Why the 2004 team – featuring Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor – was his most talented, but not necessarily the “best.” And why he readily admits we’ll never see anything like what Kemba Walker pulled off in 2011.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E55: NBA Draft Night Special

The NBA Draft is over and the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is your home for the most comprehensive post-draft coverage anywhere. Aaron is joined by Nick Coffey and they chat for over an hour on the draft’s biggest storylines.
Mikal Bridges’ MomBridges and his mom, a 76ers employee, were the story of the draft… right up until Bridges got traded from Philadelphia to Phoenix. Was this an even ploy by Philly? And how can Philly even make trades without a GM.
Michael Porter Jr’s FallThe guys do a deep dive on Michael Porter Jr’s fall, and why it might be the best thing for him. Did the Nuggets actually get the best player in the draft? And is it really a risk even if he is injured?
How Good is Luka Doncic? The guys debate the third overall pick Luka Doncic and whether we should actually buy the hype. Aaron explains why Sacramento didn’t make a mistake passing on him, and the guys wonder why so many draft snobs are obsessed with European prospects. Also, how many top European prospects actually work out at the NBA level?
Why Kevin Knox to the Knicks is a Perfect Fit: Aaron explains why he believes that Knox was the steal of the draft with the Knicks. The guys also talk about why they hate Mo Bamba to the Magic and give a big shout out to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Plus, stay til the end for a conversation on Reid Travis, and why John Calipari shook up all of college basketball with his decision to attend Kentucky.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Today’s episode is brought to you by IMAC:


Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 NBA Draft

After months of rumors, innuendo, lies, leaks, gossip and #fakenews media reports, we’ve finally made it. It’s draft night, people! The night where we can push aside the crap your favorite team has been peddling for months – and find out where your favorite player will actually play his professional basketball next year. What a time to be alive!

And when Adam Silver does step to that podium this evening, oh what a night it will be. Understand that while this event is always marred by chaos, tonight could be extra chaotic. After DeAndre Ayton goes No. 1, it feels like Sacramento could go two or three different ways, which could ultimately shake up what everyone does from there. Add in the fact that a major NBA star is potentially on the trading block (Kawhi Leonard) and an NBA title contender has a Top 10 pick which they could possibly move (Cleveland) and woooooah buddy could tonight get wonky.

Therefore who better than to do a little draft preview than your favorite resident college basketball insider. I’ve been watching most of these guys for three or four years dating back to their high school days and know more about them, than some of my own family members. Sorry Aunt Millie, it’s true.

It’s time to preview the draft and talk some of the biggest names and most overrated players available tonight.
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With Reid Travis There is No Doubt: Kentucky is the Favorite in College Basketball Next Season

Back a few weeks ago I released my “Way Too Early Top 25” for the 2018-2019 college basketball season after the NBA Draft deadline. At the time I had Kentucky sitting at No. 2, thanks to UK’s phenomenal blend of talent, skill and experience heading into next year.  The only team I had ahead of the Wildcats was Gonzaga, a club which returns basically everyone, including two players I believe could have been first round picks had they entered this year’s draft (Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura).

However when that Top 25 did come out a month or so ago, I did have one addendum on my section about the Wildcats: If Kentucky were able to add Stanford graduate transfer Reid Travis, a former McDonald’s All-American and two-time Pac-12 All-Conference First Team member to its club, I’d have no choice but to move Kentucky to No. 1 in my poll.

Well on Wednesday that addendum became official: Reid Travis has committed to Kentucky. And with that, there’s no other way to put it: The Wildcats are the unquestioned top team in the country heading into the 2018-2019 season.

That’s right, it’s time to move over Gonzaga. Step aside, Kansas. Adios to Duke and your big-time recruiting class. See ya Virginia and your boring offense which will produce an ACC regular season title and first weekend NCAA Tournament loss next year. The Kentucky Wildcats are the team to beat heading into 2018-2019.
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Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E54: NBA Draft Preview

It’s draft week and this episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is dedicated almost exclusively to the NBA Draft. Aaron is joined by Nick Coffey, where they begin the show by talking about Ashton Hagans’ arrival at Kentucky, before turning their full attention to draft week. Among the topics they discuss include:

Should DeAndre Ayton be the ‘lock’ to go No. 1? It seems as though we’ve hit a consensus that Ayton will go No. 1, but the guys must ask: is there a better option out there? Aaron calls into question Ayton’s questionable motor in college, but also says that Ayton not only has the most skill in the draft, but the most upside. Should that lock him into No. 1?

Is Marvin Bagley the safest pick in the draft? The guys think so, as they both rave about the skill of the Duke forward. Nick calls Bagley ‘can’t miss’ while Aaron says that even in a draft full of potential, Bagley is the closest thing to a finished product. Also, the guys wonder — how good can Bagley immediately be next season?

Does Trae Young have bust potential? One of the guys thinks so, as it’s fair to ask if the highest-profile player in this draft might not reach expectations. Also, Aaron explains why he believes that Kevin Knox is the player who is mostly to be better than where he’s projected to be drafted — plus thoughts on Jaren Jackson, Mo Bamba and Michael Porter Jr.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Today’s episode is brought to you by IMAC:


What Kind of Impact Can Reid Travis Have Next Season? We Asked Pac-12 Coaches

It’s no secret that former Stanford forward Reid Travis is the biggest name left on the college basketball transfer market – and it doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say that he might be one of the most coveted grad transfers in the history of the sport. After all, it’s not often that former McDonald’s All-American’s who earn All-Conference honors in a league like the Pac-12 make it to their senior years period,  let alone decide to transfer following the season. That’s also why some of the biggest names in college basketball – most notably Kentucky and Villanova – are hoping to have the 6’8 forward on their rosters next year.

Still, despite being such a big name, the combination of injuries early in his career and playing at a low-profile Pac-12 school means that quite a few fans still don’t know much about him. That’s why KSR decided to reach out to those who do know him best – two Pac-12 assistant coaches who spent the last four years scouting and game-planning against him.

Because Travis is still a transfer in the middle of the recruiting process, neither could speak publicly about him, and agreed to these interviews on the condition of anonymity. But both coaches shared virtually the same sentiment when discussing the former first-team All-Pac 12 performer.

It was summed up succinctly by the first coach.

“I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I’m glad he’s out of our league,” the first Pac-12 assistant said laughing.

Both coaches remember Travis dating back to his days as a high school star, with one of the coaches saying he believed the Minnesota native was “the best power forward” in his high school class. And once Travis arrived in college he had an immediate impact, before a string of injuries kept him off the court for a big stretch of time. 

“His freshman year in particular in the non-conference as we were watching him, he was amazing,” the second coach said. “He was aaaaaaaamazing. And he was somebody that we were majorly, majorly concerned about. But what was unfortunate is that he had all these injuries and he was never able to show what he could do [until recently].”

Sadly, that was the reality of Travis’ career arc at Stanford, and why he is even eligible to transfer right now, period: The poor kid simply couldn’t stay healthy for his first few years on campus. He missed nine games his freshman year with a stress fracture in his left leg, then played in just eight games total his sophomore year with a stress reaction in the same leg. That lost sophomore season also allowed him to apply for a medical redshirt, which gave him a fifth-year of eligibility he will use next season.

As the second coach pointed out, it wasn’t really until this past season that Travis was able to show what he was able to do when fully healthy. He played in every Stanford game for the first time in his career this winter, averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds, playing some of his best games against the Cardinal’s best competition. That included 18 points and 11 rebounds in a win over UCLA, and 20 and 10 in a two-point loss to Arizona at home.

All the skills that Travis displayed as a high school standout finally came out for a college audience to see last year.

“His hands, his athleticism, the way that he attacked the basket, his relentless pursuit of rebounds,” the second coach said, when asked what makes Travis so special on the court.

Now the question becomes what’s next.

While neither coach is privy to Travis’ decision-making process, both understood his decision to pursue options outside of Stanford. The coaching staff which initially recruited Travis to Palo Alto was replaced following his sophomore year, and while the Cardinal are full of young talent (sophomores Daejon Davis and Kezie Okpala might have futures in the NBA) it still feels like they’re a ways away from competing with the elite in college basketball.

So after spending four years at Stanford and locking in a college degree from one of America’s most prestigious universities, why not try and play for one of the elite programs in the country?

“He’s been there a long time,” one coach said. “And you have to think that man, if you’re going to be in college that long and play at that level, and be that good of a player, why not try to win a national championship?”

He continued.

“And he’s got a Stanford degree? He’s golden.”

Looking ahead, both coaches said that regardless of where Travis ends up, he still has things to work on. Each coach mentioned that he still favors going over his left shoulder in the post (playing predominately with his right hand) and needs to develop the other hand to reach his full potential. One coach added that to truly reach his NBA potential, Travis will need to work on his mid-range game too. A 17-foot jumper is a must.

Still, both coaches believe that wherever Travis ends up he’ll have an immediate impact. He isn’t simply a good player who put big numbers on a bad team. He’s a difference-maker wherever he lands next season.

“I think he can put up monster numbers wherever he goes,” the first coach said. “He’s a talent.”

The second coach agreed. While it’s uncertain whether Travis will choose Kentucky, Villanova or somewhere else, the coach is already having nightmares of what Travis could look like alongside another talented Kentucky team.

“They [Kentucky] have a bunch of young kids, but you throw Reid Travis in that group?” the coach said. “Oh my gosh. I just hope we don’t meet them until the Final Four.”