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Would Tyler Ulis make Team USA’s roster?

Ulis-USAToday

Jeremy Woo of SI.com seems to think so.

In a trip down the rabbit hole to the Wonderland of basketball, Sports Illustrated questioned what Team USA would look like if NBA players were not allowed to participate.

Their selection criteria consisted of any American player not currently on an NBA roster and would not playing in the league by the time the 2016-17 season commences. Among his picks for reserve guards was, not surprisingly, our very own UK point guard Tyler Ulis.

Woo had this to say about his choice:

“After watching his ascent from unknown high schooler to Kentucky’s likely show-runner this season, I’ve learned better than to doubt Tyler Ulis, and there’s no college point guard I’d rather have on my team. He’s small, but as tough as it gets with an elite feel for the game, and he’ll be tasked with running the second unit for stretches and changing the pace. Ulis will distribute the ball, score when needed and pester opponents on the defensive end. There’d be an adjustment curve for the international game, but I’d expect him to rise to the challenge.”

Woo isn’t the only one that has noticed Ulis’s talents, former Houston Rockets player and former Head Coach for the Spurs and Cav’s Coach John Lucas tweeted this out today:

With Ex-Cats like John Wall, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins vying for a chance on Team USA’s roster in Las Vegas earlier this month, it makes sense to include a Wildcat in this fantasy roster. You know, for realism’s sake.

The full make-believe roster looks like this:

Starting Lineup

PG – Kris Dunn (Providence)

SG – Jordan Crawford (Free Agent, Former Indiana Hoosier)

SF – Dorell Wright (Free Agent, Former Utah Ute)

PF – Georges Niang (Iowa State)

C – Jameel McKay (Iowa State)

Reserves

Guards

  • Luke Ridnour (Free Agent, Former Oregon Duck)
  • Tyler Ulis (Kentucky)
  • Ray Allen (Because, why wouldn’t you?)

Forwards

  • Devin Smith (Former UVA player)
  • Carlos Boozer (Free Agent, Duke)
  • Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin)
  • Anthony Randolph  (Free Agent, Former LSU Tiger)

 


Check out the complete 2015-2016 basketball roster

Check out the complete 2015-2016 basketball roster

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 4.57.40 PM

With all the players back on campus, UK decided to throw fans a bone by releasing their complete 2015-2016 basketball roster this afternoon. Check it out all the updated heights and weights above, or on their website.

If you compare it to last year’s roster:

  • Alex Poythress has lost eight pounds
  • Tyler Ulis has gained five pounds
  • Marcus Lee has gained four pounds
  • Dominique Hawkins has gained five pounds
  • EJ Floreal has gained three pounds
  • Derek Willis is the same.

Your backcourt: Tyler Ulis (5’9″), Jamal Murray (6’4″), Isaiah Briscoe (6’3″), Mychal Mulder (6’4″), Charles Matthews (6’6″)

Your frontcourt: Skal (6’11”), Isaac Humphries (7′), Marcus Lee (6’9″), Alex Poythress (6’8″), Derek Willis (6’9″)

New numbers:

  • 1 – Labissiere
  • 4 – Matthews
  • 10 – David
  • 11 – Mulder
  • 13 – Briscoe
  • 15 – Humphries
  • 23 – Murray
  • 32 – Pulliam

I like how there’s a “Country” column now. Speaking of, they need to add “Canada” to Murray’s line. He wore the flag as a cape, after all.


Mitch Barnhart says UK needs to resolve arena issue “soon”

rupp

The Rupp Arena renovation crashed and burned last year, but the question of where Kentucky will play basketball longterm still remains. Earlier this summer, small updates were announced, such as replacing Big Bertha with a center-hung scoreboard, but the future of the building is still uncertain.

Yesterday, Mitch Barnhart touched on the subject when speaking to the Lexington Rotary Club. From LEX18:

I think we’ve got to get to a spot where we know what the definition of that looks like going forward. And we’ve got to do it soon. I think it’s caused enough angst among–it’s too much conversation,” said Barnhart. “We’ve got to get to a spot where we move on and get this thing figured out.”

“There are certain things that are important to us going forward that a part of–as I talked and the question was asked earlier, is–we’ve got to protect the next two to three generations of what we’re trying to do for Kentucky basketball. It’s not a one-year decision. It’s not a three-year decision. It’s a 15 to 20 to 25 year decision. Long after I’m gone. So those are the things that we’re obligated as the stewards of the basketball program to protect and make sure we look down the road.”

UK’s current lease with Rupp Arena expires after the 2017-2018 season, which will be here before you know it. Hopefully Barnhart’s comments mean the university is inching towards a resolution, whether it be a renovated Rupp or new on-campus arena.

[LEX18]


The Sacramento Kings just signed Marshall Henderson

With Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein, and endless front office drama, the Sacramento Kings were already primed to be the most entertaining team in the league this season. Now they’ve gone and added Marshall Henderson.

Oh yes, according to Yahoo’s Marc Spears, the former Ole Miss guard has signed a make-good contract with the Kings after stints on pro teams in Iraq, Qatar, and Italy this past season. He will participate in the Kings’ training camp, which starts late next month.

“Hard Knocks: Sacramento Kings”???? Please?????

Requisite Marshall Henderson GIF:


NBA.com/Pelicans

Anthony Davis’ New Diet has Transformed his Body

NBA.com/Pelicans

NBA.com/Pelicansren

If you’ve seen recent pictures of Anthony Davis, it’s impossible to ignore his increased stature.  Not long ago, he was lanky string-bean.  He’s since transformed into a monster, poised to make a potential run for MVP, all thanks to a strenuous offseason workout and diet plan.

Over eight weeks of working out in LA with new Pelicans strength coach, Jason Sumerlin, Davis has packed on 12 pounds while maintaining 10% body fat.  The primary reason he’s up to 253 pounds is a new diet, explained by Sumerlin to the Pelicans’ official website.

“I wanted Anthony to eat more than he does, actually, because that’s the only way to gain weight. You have to get more protein, more calories. He’s never going to cut out pizza, but I finally got him to eat seafood, for the first time ever. He had salmon. He also has a chef now, so he’s become more adventurous when it comes to food and his diet. Changing his diet is a huge thing and probably half the battle.”

The 2015 first team All-NBA selection was amazing in his third season, averaging 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.  Despite the amazing output, Davis still has plenty of room to improve, most notably against bigger, stronger post-players who often out-muscled him.

Sumerlin already sees an improvement without having seen against an opponent, ““He’s going to be stronger, faster, quicker and more explosive this year,” said Sumerlin.  “He talks about it all the time.  He feels it.”

If he’s feeling it, I have a feeling we still haven’t seen the best from The Brow.

[NBA.com/Pelicans/]


Skal Labissiere named preseason All-American First Team by Blue Ribbon

Believe it or not, college basketball preview magazines are already coming out, and our very own Skal Labissiere is on the cover of Blue Ribbon’s College Basketball Yearbook as a Preseason All-American.

Skal and LSU’s Ben Simmons are the only two freshmen on the First Team, which Blue Ribbon editor Chris Dortch says is a sign of the times.

“For a long time, the criteria we primarily used to select our All-America teams was past accomplishment in college basketball,” said Blue Ribbon editor Chris Dortch, who has been in charge of the book’s direction for the last 18 editions and was a Blue Ribbon writer and co-editor for years before that. “But in recent years I’ve been fortunate to assist NBA.com and NBA TV with their coverage of and preparation for the NBA Draft, and I’ve realized that NBA potential, especially when you’re talking about lottery picks, has to be used as a criteria if you’re choosing a team of the five best college players in the country.

“Kentucky has proven many times over in the John Calipari era, with players such as John Wall, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, etc., that freshmen can impact the college game to a first-team All-America level, and then move on to become the first pick in the NBA Draft.”

Congrats, Skal. The first of many preseason accolades, I’m sure.


Seth Greenberg calls Isaac Humphries “a potential difference maker”

Seth Greenberg and Andy Katz released a new episode of their ESPNU College Hoops podcast yesterday, and, predictably, UK was a popular topic. There have been a lot of developments with the Cats in recent weeks, namely Jamal Murray arriving on campus and the addition of Aussie big man Isaac Humphries. I feel like I’ve heard about Murray turning down Team Canada a billion times, so I was most interested in Seth Greenberg’s comments about Humphries. Simply put, he’s impressed.

“I really like Isaac Humphries. He’s a 7-footer. This is a skilled 7-foot player. He can step out and make shots. He’s got very good hands. He’s going to have to continue to get stronger. He’s a guy that really has a chance to be a terrific player. When you have a 7-footer that is skilled, has terrific hands and can pass, another guy with a high basketball IQ, you’re talking about a potential difference maker.”

I’ll take it. While the newcomers are garnering a lot of attention, Greenberg maintains that Alex Poythress will be Kentucky’s “x-factor”:

“To me, he is the X-factor for Kentucky this year. If he can come in and play the 4, and use his athleticism, and play with a high motor and be hard to keep of the glass and be a physical, athletic, hard-playing, mature forward, now all of a sudden, you’ve really got some tough matchups, especially when you think about this backcourt.”

Click here to check out the rest of the podcast. Greenberg and Katz talk about the Cats right at the start.


Poythress and Ulis on Athlon’s College Basketball Preview

Poythress and Ulis on Athlon’s College Basketball Preview

athlon-cover

Excellent shot here by Matt Hernandez of Athlon Sports for this year’s 2015-16 College Basketball Preview. The magazine will feature Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis on its cover, with a teaser for an exclusive Q & A with Ulis inside.

I know it’s football season, but this is pretty exciting for the other sport in town.


ESPN announces Big 12/SEC Challenge TV schedule

ESPN announced the TV destinations and start times for its third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge, scheduled for Saturday, January 30, 2016.

The only game you care about– Kentucky at Kansas– will tip off at “no earlier than 2 p.m. ET, no later than 7 p.m. ET.”

So, basically, we have no idea when that game will be.

However, we do know it will be televised on ESPN; before, between or after the Oklahoma-LSU and Iowa State-Texas A&M games.

Here are the other seven matchups with concrete times:

West Virginia at Florida | ESPN2 | Noon ET
Vanderbilt at Texas | ESPN2 | Noon ET
Tennessee at TCU | ESPN2 | 2 p.m. ET
Ole Miss at Kansas State | ESPNU | 2 p.m. ET
Texas Tech at Arkansas |ESPNU | 4 p.m. ET
Georgia at Baylor | ESPN2 | 6 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State at Auburn |ESPN2 | 8 p.m. ET

College GameDay will air that Saturday morning and evening from one of the sites. The smart money is on Lawrence, Kansas.


Jonny David and Dillon Pulliam are your new walk-ons

We already knew the Cats were adding Pennsylvania guard Jonny David to the roster this season, but this morning, UK announced another walk-on: Dillon Pulliam from Harrison County. Pulliam played at Transy last season and will have to sit out this season.

Some details on Pulliam, from UK:

The 6-3 sophomore guard played in 25 games for the Pioneers, averaging 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. At Harrison County High School, Pulliam was a five-year member of the varsity basketball team. During his career, he made the All-10th Region Team three times, was named the district tournament MVP and was a member of the school’s 1,000-point club.

Pulliam finished his career at Harrison County fifth in career scoring, third in career 3-point field goals and set a school record for most 3-point field goals made in a game with nine.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Pulliam will have to sit out the 2015-16 season. He will be eligible starting in the fall of 2016.

“I’m excited to be a part of the UK basketball program and have the opportunity to play with other talented players under a great coaching staff,” Pulliam said. “Growing up in the state of Kentucky, I know how awesome Big Blue Nation is and I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Welcome aboard, boys.


BigBlueHistory.net

Rest In Peace Lou Tsioropoulos

BigBlueHistory.net

BigBlueHistory.net

One of UK’s all-time greats is no longer with us.  Six days before his 85th birthday Lou Tsioropoulos passed away, according to Oscar Combs.  The All-SEC performer starred alongside Cliff Hagan and Frank Ramsey on UK’s only undefeated team in 1954.

The team was not eligible for postseason play because the three stars of the team were graduate students, violating a stupid NCAA rule at the time.  The year before, the Cats were under a death penalty,forbidden to play in any games at all.  The only way to use their fourth year of eligibility was via grad school.  Since they weren’t allowed to play in the postseason, the ’54 team treated the regular season as a tournament, defeating Bob Petit’s undefeated LSU team in a playoff, 63-56, to finish 25-0.

Lou was one of the best.  Even though you may not know how to pronounce his name, you will forever see it hanging in the rafters of Rupp Arena.


Jamal Murray Has Made It To Campus

jamalbiggame

It’s the moment we’ve all been patiently waiting for – Jamal Murray has made it to campus.  247’s Chris Fisher spoke with Murray’s father, who said Murray made it into town yesterday, just in time to start class tomorrow.

It was expected after we discovered that he will not be playing in the Olympic qualifying with the Canadian National team, but nonetheless, I’m sure there are many in the BBN letting out a sigh of relief.

Just stay away from those cheesy tots at Tolly Ho Jamal, they’re addicting.


New NBA Mock Draft projects Labissiere to Minnesota with Towns

Chad Ford’s NBA Mock Draft 1.0 hit internet shelves today and the University of Kentucky is heavily represented, because of course it is.

Up first from UK: Skal Labissiere to the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 2, behind Ben Simmons to Philly.

“Labissiere has size, athleticism and a game that allows him to play both in the paint and on the perimeter,” writes Ford. “He looked great at the Nike Hoop Summit and John Calipari knows how to get the best out of his players. If anyone challenges Simmons for the No. 1 pick, it will be Labissiere. He and Towns would create an imposing front line in Minnesota if the Wolves land him at No. 2.”

Jamal Murray is next to go from Kentucky with the fourth overall pick to Philadelphia.

Ford projects Isaiah Briscoe to go 26th to the Los Angeles Clippers, wrapping up the Wildcats in the first round.

See Ford’s entire mock draft here.


When he isn't watching international basketball, he's improving his ventriloquism skills.

Fran Fraschilla has Jamal Murray Fever

When he isn't watching international basketball, he's improving his ventriloquism skills.

When he isn’t watching international basketball, he’s improving his ventriloquism skills.

It wasn’t too long ago that nobody in the BBN had heard of Jamal Murray.  Or Skal Labissiere.  Or Isaac Humphries.  Or Tai Wynyard.  The man who had probably watched them all play before their Big Blue stardom was Fran Fraschilla.

ESPN’s resident guru of all things international basketball spoke highly of Jamal Murray on Adam Zagoria’s podcaststating that this year’s Kentucky team will revolve around Skal and Murray.  

“I think the kid’s gonna average 17 points a game. I think you’ll see scoring come from guys like Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray, first and foremost, and everybody else is gonna play around those guys. He can shoot the ball, he’s deceptively athletic and quick, he gets fouled a lot, has good passing vision to play point, can play off the ball. I think the kid has a bright future.”

He went on to say that he believes Cal will work predominantly in a three-guard lineup, featuring Ulis and Briscoe alongside Murray.  Don’t froget about Mychal Mulder though, we hear he’s giving Briscoe a run for his money.

[ZagsBlog]


Alex Poythress Makes ESPN’s Top Players Ready For a Return

One of the greatest what-ifs in Kentucky basketball history is going to be “What if Alex Poythress had never torn his ACL?”. The Cats were clearly still fine without him last season as they steamrolled their way to 38-0. But Poythress’ absence was crucial in the Final Four game against Wisconsin as Sam Dekker had his way with the Kentucky defense play after play and the Cats lost the rebound war 34-22. Before Alex went down Kentucky had been a defensive juggernaut that absolutely suffocated opponents, after they were still elite but it always seemed like they were missing that fifth gear. We will never know what might’ve been last season but we do know that next year Poy could prove to be the difference.

With all the hype of a returning Tyler Ulis, a number one pick in Skal, and a potential superstar in Jamal Murray, Poythress’ return often feels overlooked. In fact ESPN felt the same way as they counted off their forgotten five today which are guys returning from injury or transfer that could have a major impact. Here’s what they wrote about Alex:

The Wildcats’ season won’t rest on how well Poythress recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee — they’ve got many other skilled players such as freshman center Skal Labissiere. But Poythress could return to the numbers he put up as a freshmen, when he averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Last year, Poythress started the first eight games before suffering his injury during practice and averaged just 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as coach John Calipari cut minutes while tapping into his deep roster. UK won’t be quite as deep this season, meaning if Poythress proves to be fully healthy he can make an impact. To that end, Calipari said last month that he’d use Poythress his natural position of power forward rather than at small forward, where he’s been most of his career

[ESPN: The forgotten ones: Five players we’ll be glad to see back in action]

Provided that Alex is able to regain his explosiveness he could be one of the three most important players on next year’s team. He’s got defensive intensity to shut down a team’s power forward. Offensive ability to make the plays that nobody else could make. And the senior leadership that has seen the depths of NITs all the way to undefeated seasons. HE could very well end up being the X-factor on a national championship run.