Rick Pitino’s fight to prove his innocence revealed one key piece of information the general →
Basketball Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 18th, 2017 @ 12:37pm
Breaking scheduling news: sources tell KSR that Kentucky will play Morehead State in a special exhibition game on October 30 in Rupp Arena.
The game is NOT part of the season ticket package and all proceeds will go to charity. It will also NOT be televised, meaning the only way to see it will be to be at Rupp Arena.
Former Kentucky assistant Preston Spradlin took over the coaching job at Morehead State when Sean Woods was fired last season and was named the permanent head coach in March after leading the Eagles to a second place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Stay tuned for ticket information…
The SEC Basketball Tipoff is underway down in Nashville and the morning kicked off with the media poll for the upcoming basketball season.
And get this: Kentucky was picked to win the league! (Shocker, right?)
Joining in on the fun, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox were named to the first and second All-SEC teams, respectively.
First Team All-SEC
KeVaughn Allen – Florida, G, 6-2, 193, Jr., Little Rock, Ark.
Yante Maten – Georgia, F, 6-8, 243, Sr., Pontiac, Mich.
Hamidou Diallo – Kentucky, G, 6-5, 198, R-Fr., Queens, N.Y.
Michael Porter, Jr. – Missouri, F, 6-10, 215, Fr., Columbia, Mo.
Robert Williams – Texas A&M, F, 6-10, 241, So., Oil City, La.
Second Team All-SEC
Collin Sexton – Alabama, G, 6-3, 190, Fr., Mableton, Ga.
Kevin Knox – Kentucky, F, 6-9, 215, Fr., Tampa, Fla.
Terence Davis – Ole Miss, G, 6-4, 201, Jr., Southaven, Miss.
Deandre Burnett – Ole Miss, G, 6-2, 192, Sr., Miami Gardens, Fla.
Quinndary Weatherspoon – Mississippi St., G, 6-4, 205, Jr., Canton, Miss.
Tyler Davis – Texas A&M, C, 6-10, 266, Jr., Plano, Texas
Matthew Fisher-Davis – Vanderbilt, G/F, 6-5, 186, Sr., Charlotte, N.C.
SEC Player of the Year (tie)
Yante Maten – Georgia
Michael Porter, Jr. – Missouri
Robert Williams – Texas A&M
Preseason Media Poll
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
- South Carolina
- Mississippi State
By Aaron Torres on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 10:45pm
The NBA season tips off tonight and as part of the league’s preseason media tour, commissioner Adam Silver was on Mike and Mike yesterday morning to promote the 2017-2018 campaign. In the interview, the trio discussed a number of topics (or at least I assume they did. I haven’t listened to Mike & Mike in years), and as usual, one of the topics that was eventually discussed was the one-and-done rule.
Of course it was.
The removal of the one-and-done has become Silver’s pet project, his personal crusade, the number one thing on his to-do list, even as the league enters a season with its greatest imbalance ever (barring injury, there is only one team that can win the championship). After all, who cares about stars joining forces or NBA players sitting out big games, when we can instead worry about an 18-year-old point guard being forced to spend a single season in Lexington, Durham or Tucson, right? Won’t someone please think of the children?!
Silver is thinking about the children, and in a vacuum I have no problem with it. He’s the NBA commissioner. It’s his league and his rule and he has every right to alter the rules as he sees fit. If he wants the best players to be able to enter the NBA out of high school, or put them in some kind of developmental program at 5, 10 or 15-years-old, so be it.
No, that’s not where my issue with Silver lies. Instead, my issue with Silver is this: In the midst of trying to make the argument against the one-and-done rule, he continues to twist facts and make up lies to prove his points. If Silver just wants the rule gone (likely to help beef up the D-League, which the NBA has invested millions in) that’s fine. But just say it. Don’t twist facts and alter the truth to hammer home the point.
Only that’s exactly what he’s doing, which is why I decided to write today, because if no one will call Silver on his B.S., I will. If he’s going to implement a rule which will fundamentally alter every level of basketball, and eventually impact hundreds of families let’s at least get the facts out there. Since no one else is willing to do it, I will.
By KSR on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 4:30pm
Two weeks from today, John Calipari and Matthew Mitchell will take the stage at the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club Tip-Off Luncheon.
The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. on October 31 at the Galt House East (140 N. 4th St) in Louisville and will feature a silent auction for fans to bid on golf outings, hotel stays, restaurant dinners and more. The cost to attend is $50 for UK Alumni Association members and $55 for nonmembers. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $500. Attendees need to register by Tuesday, Oct. 24, at www.ukalumni.net/tipoff.
Want to see Kentucky play UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic in New Orleans on December 23? Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. ET on Ticketmaster.
The fourth-annual doubleheader features Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, and UCLA. North Carolina will face Ohio State at 1:30 p.m. ET, followed by Kentucky and UCLA at approximately 4 p.m. ET. Tickets guarantee admission to both games, which will be televised on — you guessed it — CBS.
Want to sit near Kentucky fans? Here are the sections each school has blocked off (even though Kentucky fans will be everywhere):
|NORTH CAROLINA: Sections 101-106 and 301-308||KENTUCKY: Sections 107-112 and 308-316|
|OHIO STATE: Sections 113-118 and 316-324||UCLA: Sections 119-124 and 324-332|
After missing the 2012 National Championship game, I vowed never to miss a Kentucky game in New Orleans again, even if it happens two days before Christmas. See you there.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 1:30pm
Congratulations to Hamidou Diallo, one of 20 players named to the Jerry West Award watch list, which recognizes the country’s best shooting guard. Last season, fellow Cat Malik Monk took home the honor, which has been around since 2015.
After sitting out last semester, Diallo turned down the chance to go to the NBA Draft to return to Kentucky. This past summer, he played for Team USA under John Calipari at the FIBA U19 World Cup, averaging 10.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.4 minutes.
Here’s the complete list of players on the watch list, which will be narrowed to ten in mid-February and five in March:
|Jerome Robinson||Boston College|
|MJ Walker||Florida St.|
|Quinndary Weatherspoon||Mississippi St.|
|E.C. Matthews||Rhode Island|
|Khadeen Carrington||Seton Hall|
|Shamorie Ponds||St. John’s|
|Daxter Miles Jr.||West Virginia|
The winner will be announced at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 6. Between now and then, I have a feeling we’ll see plenty of Diallo dunks:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Today was supposed to be all about Matt’s interview with Karen Sypher, but last night, Sypher called it off. Alas, there are still plenty of reasons to make fun of Rick Pitino, who was officially fired by the University of Louisville yesterday.
Those text messages are clearly fake
Part of Rick Pitino’s defense yesterday was a text message thread with Jim Gatto, the adidas executive in the center of the bribery scandal, which Pitino’s lawyer Steve Pence presented as proof the two were texting about Terry Rozier’s shoe deal, NOT paying Brian Bowen. Those texts were sketchy enough — it’s obvious several had been deleted — but as Joe Sonka noted last night, the last came on September 28, two days AFTER Gatto was arrested:
Wait… Sept. 28? This broke on the 26th. pic.twitter.com/gICCBzo2dm
— Joe Sonka 😐 (@joesonka) October 17, 2017
Clearly, Pence should have paid more attention to the scandal’s timeline when he (or someone) doctored those texts. When Sonka asked him about it, he delivered this response:
Pence: “That's the date it was copied – not when it was sent. Obviously, there was no contact with Gatto after Sept 26.” (2/x)
— Joe Sonka 😐 (@joesonka) October 17, 2017
Obviously, Pence does not know how iPhones work. As with everything with the University of Louisville lately, just when you think it can’t get more ridiculous, it does.
In other news…
Eddie Gran talks about his offense
We’ll get an update on the offense from Eddie Gran after practice today as the Cats prepare to take on the Bulldogs in Starkville. ICYMI, Stoops told reporters that the bye week was good to his team, with several players recovering from minor injuries that piled up over the first half of the season. His presser was short and sweet, so check out Roush’s recap to catch up:
We’ll get Freddie’s Mississippi State scouting report
We know the Bulldogs have an impressive quarterback in Nick Fitzgerald, but what about the rest of the squad? Check the site around lunch for Freddie’s thorough scouting report.
It’s Opening Night in the NBA
It’s hard to believe, but the NBA season is already upon us. Tonight’s games: Boston at Cleveland at 8 p.m., followed by Houston at Golden State at 10:30 p.m. Both games will be on TNT for your viewing pleasure.
Did you see the end of the Titans/Colts game?
It’s been an up and down season for my Titans so far, but last night, they pulled off a huge win over the Colts thanks to Marcus Mariota, who was back from injury; field goal kicker extraordinaire Ryan Succop; and former Cat Wesley Woodyard, who had this huge stop on 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter:
— #TitanUp (@TitanUp247) October 17, 2017
That earned him this praise from his teammates:
— David Scott (@Finna_Go_HAM) October 17, 2017
Radio in an hour. Without Sypher, maybe they’ll even get to the restaurant bracket.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 8:00pm
Following Louisville’s latest FBI scandal, the NCAA’s decision on whether to approve or deny the program’s appeal for the penalties handed down from the stripper scandal should be relatively simple.
Louisville’s 2013 National Championship banner will be coming down, leaving an empty space in the record books for the winner of that year’s NCAA Tournament.
Taylor Eldridge of the Wichita Eagle reports Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall has an idea to declare a proper champion for 2013.
His pitch? Bring back all of the members of the 2013 Wichita State and Michigan teams for a replay of the National Championship.
As you may remember, the Shockers fell to UofL in the Final Four, and the Wolverines did the same in the title game. With Louisville technically cheating to raise a banner that year, Marshall believes someone else should have the opportunity to put one up at their facilities.
“Our lives are altered by that,” Marshall said. “That negatively affected my life, Ron Baker’s life, Carl Hall’s life, Fred Van Vleet’s life. It affects lives.”
“Maybe I need to contact (Michigan) coach (John) Beilein and we can get together,” Marshall said. “Maybe we need to have a 2013 national championship game next year. See if we can bring back Trey Burke and Cleanthony Early and Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker.”
And where would the game be played?
“It’s got to be a neutral site,” Marshall said. “Maybe we’ll go back to Atlanta. Maybe they’ll let us have the Georgia Dome for a game.”
Aside from his crazy idea for a rematch, Marshall said he’s hopeful the FBI investigations will help clean up the sport and even the playing field.
“I’d like to see the playing field evened and hopefully this is what we’re trying do,” Marshall said. “Hopefully we’re establishing that the things that have been going on at certain places are no longer acceptable. We’re not going to turn a blind eye and continue to let it negatively affect the state of college basketball.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 5:15pm
Tom Crean is coming to a TV screen near you.
ESPN just announced it has hired Crean as an analyst for the upcoming season, along with former Georgetown coach John Thompson III. Crean will be a studio analyst on ESPN and ESPN2 throughout the year and a game analyst on select games, while Thompson will help call games on on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU.
The potential for awkward Crean moments is thrilling, but I was much more excited to hear that ESPN is bringing back Jimmy Dykes! That’s right, after three years of coaching the Arkansas women’s basketball team, Jimmy is returning to the Worldwide Leader, where he will have a recurring role on the SEC Network. It sounds like he will mostly be in studio, so we won’t get to see the Shoulder Cam:
But you better believe “Jimmy’s Jet” will be back:
Honestly, I kind of missed it.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 3:45pm
NBA commissioner Adam Silver went on “Mike and Mike” this morning and once again called for the end of the one-and-done rule.
In the wake of the college basketball bribery scandal, Silver said it’s “clear a change will come” to the current rule, which requires players to be at least 19 years old or one year past high school to be eligible for the draft. Obviously, the bribery scandal exposed one of the many flaws of the current system, but Silver also noted that in recent years, it’s become clear that more and more one-and-done players care less about where they go to college/if their team is winning than the draft itself, using Ben Simmons (LSU) and Markelle Fultz (Washington) as examples.
“What’s really interesting to me is the last two No. 1 picks in the NBA draft, Ben Simmons two years ago and Markelle Fultz last year, both played with teams that did not make the NCAA tournament. And I think not enough people are talking about that. That seems to be a sea change in the development of players coming into the NBA.
“It’s become common knowledge that these so-called one-and-done players are, maybe understandably, are almost entirely focused on where they are going to go in the draft lottery. Not to say they don’t badly care about winning but the stakes are so high in terms of their placement in the draft lottery, the stakes are so high in terms of the amount of money they can make over a long NBA career as a star player, that that’s front and center, what they’re focused on as college players.”
Silver’s remarks suggest that after 12 years of the one-and-done rule, programs like Kentucky are the only ones where it still serves its original purpose. Players who come to Lexington compete against the best and therefore develop, whereas those who go to less competitive programs merely bide their time until the draft.
“From our standpoint, if the players in that one year of college aren’t getting the kind of development we’d like to see them get coming into the NBA, aren’t playing in the NCAA tournament, aren’t competing against top-notch competition, I think we have to take a step back and figure out whether we are better off taking those players at a younger age and working on their training and development full time.”
What’s the solution? Silver praised the budding “G-League,” which the NBA has been pouring more and more money into recently. If the one-and-done rule goes away, a likely scenario could be players having the option of going to the pros (or G-League) directly from high school or spending two years in college.
When will change come? Silver said he doesn’t want to wait until 2024, when the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the Players Association is up, suggesting that meetings on the matter could happen as soon as this season.
Listen to Silver’s remarks below, starting around the 20-minute mark:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 11:44am
Wednesday is SEC Basketball Tipoff, aka SEC Basketball Media Day. Who will join John Calipari in Nashville to represent Kentucky? Wenyen Gabriel and Hamidou Diallo.
I’ll be there as well, so leave your questions for Cal, Wenyen, and Hami in the comments. (No, Jerry, no more FBI questions.)
They sold this picture on shirts…I forgot to get one and I need one
I miss writing as much as I used to. Radio is the purest form of media in my mind, because the immediacy and live nature leads to the most genuine and real interaction one can get from hosts and public figures. But I do miss the days when I would sit down every evening around 9 pm and blast out a post about UK news and whatever other random things were on my mind. One of my favorite parts of what we used to call “the Night Post” was the introductory paragraph, which usually featured something in the state or pop culture that I wanted to highlight and give publicity. I thought of that Thursday night when I saw Tyler Childers perform at The Burl in Lexington. If you listen to the radio show, you know I have become a big fan of Tyler and I ended up seeing him twice this weekend in Lexington. However on Thursday, his opening act was a man from the mountains called The Laid Back Country Picker. His music was terrific, his band better (including his wife playing in curlers and a bath robe) but the highlight of the entire proceeding was my introduction to his hit, “Magoffin County Cadillac.” As he explained it from stage, when police departments turn in their old Crown Victoria patrol cars, they often end up getting sold at an auction in Magoffin County. Local folks often buy them and thus we get the “Magoffin County Cadillac.” You owe it to yourself to watch the video, hear the song (which will get stuck in your head) and learn more about the Laid Back Country Picker. He actually taught Tyler in high school and now as Childers blows up, he had the opportunity to be his opening act and play his hit “Whitehouse Road” with him on stage. It was a cool scene, a better story and sharing it is part of the reason I miss writing as much as I did in the old days.
Now to some nuggets of news:
— The biggest news of the weekend is in the basketball recruiting world where after the visits of the weekend, the UK recruiting class is starting to take shape. We know Immanuel Quickley is on board but after the visit this weekend, I feel very good about three other UK recruits and their likelihood of signing with Kentucky. Zion Williamson and Bol Bol both made their visit and from talking to a couple of sources after, I would put Kentucky now as leading with both. This has probably been the case with Zion for a bit, but with the issues at Arizona and the reconnection with Calipari and his staff, I now think Bol is likely to be a part of the final class as well. In addition, I can confirm the speculation online today that Keldon Johnson has become a definitive UK lean and could end up as a commitment in the very near future. The 6’6″ wing is the sleeper of the class in my view and I think he ends up as final Top 10 recruit by the end of the year.
In my view, Kentucky is going to take 5 kids in this class. If that is the case, I am predicting the UK class as of this moment as Quickley, Williamson, Bol, Johnson and Quentin Grimes. That would give UK a starting lineup just with these five and combined with whoever returns, a potential monster 2018-2019 team. This group doesn’t include RJ Barrett, who I think the staff is still recruiting but has lost some confidence on in the past week. The increased likelihood of getting Johnson and the emergence of Bol Bol as a real option, I think makes Barrett (who in my view is still the best player in the class) less of a necessity, as good as he is. The Cats would of course still take him and will still recruit him…but I am moving him out of my predicted class and inserting Bol/Johnson. As always, things can change, but I like where UK is right now quite a bit…potentially 4 Top 10 guys and one Top 20…not too shabby.
— The story of the early practice buzz I am hearing is the tremendous defensive play consistently and the way it is affecting what the ultimate style of play will be. Defense wins every practice at this point, and that is something Calipari really likes. One person close to the program said to me, “we don’t know right know whether our offense is really struggling or our defense is just that good…but it sure has been good.” The issue for Kentucky (no surprise) will be shooting, but they like their ability to get in passing lanes and I think you will see this team have a TON of pressure…even if its not a full-court press. This group will not sit back and they feel good about having rim protectors to help fix any errors on the perimeter. I am told coaches feel the loss of Vanderbilt early matters more than most media have suggested, but long term this is a group they believe plays well in March.
— As you may have heard we will be having Karen Sypher as a guest on KSR Radio on Tuesday morning. This is someone we have wanted to have for some time and this will be her first interviewing since serving out her 7 year federal prison sentence. Sypher has never really gotten a chance to tell her story since the trial and she didn’t testify there as to the events that occurred. As with the Katina Powell interview, we will provide her a forum to talk, but will also challenge her on the events and what happened. Some have said this is “old news” and “why would you have her on”, but I respectfully disagree. There is much to this story that still hasn’t been told and the events that began that night at Porcini’s were the start to the downfall of a coaching legend. It will certainly be quite a morning to listen on Tuesday.
— Finally, A housekeeping note….we will be starting in 2018 a part of KSR called “KSR Voices”….it will basically be a section of KSR that will allow people in the state of all different walks of life to write about issues that are important to Kentucky. They will range from culture to economics to politics to the arts. The goal is to bring in diverse people from all backgrounds and belief systems, including those that we may not agree with so that voices are given a platform that can be seen by many. My reason for this is simple…there is a lot to be proud of in Kentucky and a lot of great minds and leaders out there that need a spotlight and a forum. I have a forum and I want to use it to better this state. As with everything on the site, feel free to ignore what you aren’t interested in…but as with my Matt Jones Podcast with Ricky Jones (which you can listen to here), you might find you like things you didn’t original think you would.
One of these topics will also be religion and along those lines, a pastor friend of mine Robert Cunningham from the Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington will have his first post on here tomorrow evening. He wrote today about why he decided to accept my invitation to write and you can see his thoughtful comments here. If you have people you believe would be good to consider for this long-term project, feel free to email me at Matt.Jones@KentuckySportsRadio.com
CONGRATS TO UK VOLLEYBALL ON BEATING #1 FLORIDA!!!! The win was on the road and is huge for the program. This may be the best UK Volleyball team ever, so go out and check them out. Until tomorrow….
By Sam Gormley on ©October 15th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
Even though he was here for just one season, Jamal Murray became a fan favorite. Whether it was his quick release on his shot or firing an “arrow” at EJ Floral, Murray captured the heart of Kentucky fans.
In his first season in the NBA, the former Cat averaged 9.9 points in just a little over 25 minutes per game. This was all while battling two Sports Hernias through the majority of the season. Per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a sports hernia is a painful, soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area. Personally, I can’t imagine playing basketball with one hernia let alone two.
Today, the Denver Post published an article about the now healthy Jamal Murray. On the hernias, the article said:
“The pain began as soon as Jamal Murray moved to get out of bed.
It persisted during light pregame stretches. It reached a level Murray “couldn’t explain” when he’d slide laterally on defense or barrel through traffic for a layup.”
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said that Murray never said a word about the injury, which shows his mental toughness.
The article goes more in depth about Murray and how he has dealt with past injuries. You can find it in its’ entirety by clicking HERE.
Worst case scenario, we won’t get to see Jarred Vanderbilt take the floor for the Cats until January. Word is he could return earlier than expected, but for now, we have to assume UK will suit up for the first two months of the season without one of their most versatile players.
At 6’9″, 213 lbs., Jarred has a lethal combo of strength and speed, and his ability to guard 4-5 positions on the court make him invaluable if the Cats want to make a deep March run. While I’m sure we’re all glad JV will return with plenty of time to prepare for the postseason, there are still several critical matchups Vanderbilt is at risk of missing.
November 14: Kansas (United Center, Chicago)
Like Kentucky has plenty of depth at the forward spot, if you include Vanderbilt, KU is loaded with wings. Returning guards Devonte Graham (6’2″) and Lagerald Vick (6’5″) will form the backbone of Kansas’ backcourt, leaving former 5-star guard and Mississippi St. Bulldog Malik Newman (6’3″) to try to assert himself on the perimeter.
But maybe the most intriguing factor for the Jayhawks is returning forward Sviatoslav “Svi” Mykhailiuk, a 6’8″ deadeye shooter who despite his size prefers to stick to the 3-point line. Svi was left alone on the outside far too often last season, making opponents pay again and again with deep 3’s. Mykailiuk doesn’t play much of a factor in the post. He’s a subpar rebounder for his size, so having a guy like Jarred Vanderbilt who is athletic enough to move inside-out, finding the open shooter or the loose rebound when needed, would be sorely missed against Kansas.
December 23: UCLA (Smoothie King Center, New Orleans)
When this modern rivalry is renewed at the CBS Sports Classic this year, all eyes are gonna be on Thomas Welsh for UCLA. The 7-foot senior promises to be an absolute load in the paint for the Bruins. If you care to recall UK’s first matchup with UCLA from last season, the Cats struggled to stop Welsh. He played only 19 minutes, yet he scored 14 points on 5/7 shooting to go along with 8 boards.
Nick Richards is a solid defender, no doubt, but Welsh has about 15 pounds on him, and undoubtedly has a bit more offensive finesse. It’s gonna take some help defense, as well as rebounding support, to nullify Welsh.
And even if Richards can handle Welsh on his own, it’d still be fun to watch Jarred Vanderbilt harass LiAngelo Ball a little bit. Did you forget LiAngelo was a Bruin now? I sure did!
December 29: Louisville (Rupp Arena)
Not to rub salt in any wounds here but… Louisville is not the team they were just a few weeks ago.
Brian Bowen is effectively gone from the program, leaving the likely scrambling David Padgett to come up with some sort of formidable lineup to face UK. They still have some weapons, though, that could give the young Cats fits, especially without JV.
6’7″ Deng Adel jumps out as the likeliest adversary should Vanderbilt return to the court in time for this game. Adel was a long shot to get drafted over the summer, so he decided to return to UofL with hopes of becoming a lottery pick.
Adel was unpolished but athletic in his first two years at Louisville. He averaged about 12 points and 4.5 rebounds per game his sophomore season while developing his 3-point game. This year, he’ll start off as a much more well rounded player, assuming the offseason program tumult has stunted anybody’s progress. If Padgett hopes to field a decent team, Adel is likely their star, and Vanderbilt matches up with him exceedingly well.
Also, true 7-footer Anas Mahmoud will still be the tallest guy on the court, so Jarred’s rebounding prowess would come in handy as well.
In the wake of Vanderbilt’s injury, Coach Cal has had nothing but praise for the freshman forward. He sees a ton of potential in his young star. And it’s clear his absence will throw off Cal’s plans for any opponent. So let’s hope for a speedy recovery, because the Cats could use an all-purpose star like JV as soon as possible.
It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind. Want more? Reminisce with me as we look back on the recruitments of John Wall, Terrence Jones, Nerlens Noel, Karl-Anthony Towns, Brandon Knight, and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Does Big Blue Madness signal the official beginning of the basketball season? I always thought it was the first non-exhibition game, but if it means I get to say the season is truly underway almost 4 weeks early, I’ll take it.
So to celebrate the “official” start of the season, we’re rewinding to 2010, when Coach Cal landed the eventual alpha of the 2012 National Championship team, The Brow himself, Anthony Davis.
The go-to fun tid-bit regarding Davis is his remarkable high school growth spurt. Over the course of 4 years, he grew nearly a foot, transforming from a potential Cleveland State point guard to the number 1 overall player in the 2011 class.
By the time his evolution was complete, his opponents didn’t stand a chance.
The word “unfair” comes to mind.
The final race for AD’s services came down to UK, DePaul, Syracuse and Ohio State.
Davis committed to Kentucky in August of 2010, over a year before he would debut for the Cats. Kentucky dodged a bit of a bullet, though, because of allegations that came out hot on the heels of his impending decision.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Davis’ father, Anthony Davis Sr., had requested upwards of $200,000 for his sons’ services. After a swift response from Lexington lawyers, The Sun-Times was forced to amend their piece, now calling the pay-for-play request “rumors”, before eventually citing sources from multiple universities from whom Davis Sr. had requested money.
Nothing would come of the reports, and Davis and his family publicly denied any under the table dealings. They also threatened to sue the Sun-Times, but both sides slowly dropped the issue.
As the hype for Davis continued to build, preseason accolades began to roll in. He was lauded as the potential no. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, as well as being a potential All-American.
But Davis would receive only one vote for preseason AP All-American team.
Man, I bet those folks wish they could cast that ballot again.
Averaging 32 minutes played in each of the team’s 40 games, Davis was assembly line levels of efficient. He averaged a double-double, with 14.2 points and 10.4 boards a game to go along with 4.7 blocks. He broke records left and right, taking a backseat only when someone else was carrying the team.
I mean, the guy was a big play machine.
And where does making plays like that on a weekly basis take you?