(Ed. Note: The Emmys were last night, and the Funkhouser crew was unhand to soak →
Basketball Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:00 pm
During his second interview with John Calipari during the Fantasy Camp, ESPN’s Seth Greenberg asked him about the team’s performance in the Bahamas and where they go from here. Cal said he’s taking a few days off (hence the sunbathing we saw yesterday) and that he’s given his team three tasks while he’s gone: 1) take conditioning and training to another level, 2) work on your skills, and 3) play pick-up games.
Cal also talked a little bit about his work with charity and the frantic schedule that comes with being UK’s head coach. As you know, his son Brad is headed up north to prep school, and Cal admitted that he’s having a little trouble adjusting to the empty nest. “For the last two months, I’ve been in a dead sprint, so last night I sit in the chair and I look at my house and it’s empty and I’m thinking this is how it’s going to be and I get emotional. I haven’t had time to think of my son, my last child, leaving the house. My wife did tell me we’re going to be wearing matching sweaters and she’s going on recruiting trips and road games, so I think we’ll get a lot closer now,” Cal quipped.
Is this the next Calipari Christmas card?
While in town for the Calipari Fantasy Camp, ESPN’s Seth Greenberg sat down with Cal to film a few short interviews for ESPN, and couldn’t help but ask about LeBron and the Cavaliers. Cal is a bit exasperated with the question, but played along, telling Greenberg that “fate intervened” for him when four players decided to return to Kentucky in lieu of entering the draft, which made his decision to come back simple.
“Fate intervened for me,” Cal said. “Whatever happened after the season with any teams, at the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be. And you know a big part of it is we had four guys stay, and they didn’t have the chance to say ‘well if you leave, we’ll leave.’ No, you already made a decision to stay. So that weighed on me more than anything else.”
Cal only mentioned four, but I’ll mention six. Thank you, Andrew, Aaron, Alex, Willie, Dakari, and Marcus.
Where in the world is John Calipari today? On a rooftop working on his tan. This afternoon, someone named Ryan Lattanzio posted this picture of himself and John Calipari on Twitter, which shows that Cal is clearly not afraid to sun the guns. Actually, considering he couldn’t work out for an extended period of time because of his hip replacement surgery, Cal’s looking pretty good. I’ll stop there before I creep myself out.
H/t to Busted Coverage
The last few weeks have been pretty good for Kentucky fans, nothing beats getting a sneak preview of this year’s basketball team for 6 games in August. Following the 9-day trip to the Bahamas, this weekend the John Calipari Fantasy Camp was held and although Alex Poythress appeared exhausted…
…Karl-Anthony Towns was the exact opposite…
So with most of the offseason activities coming to a close and school starting up Coach Cal spoke to the media today with a wrap up of everything from the past few weeks, and Kyle Tucker from the Courier-Journal was there with the story.
“When I get back, we’re not going to do team stuff. It will be individual. It will be conditioning, training, and they’ll play pickup games. That’s enough,” Calipari said, adding that injured star Willie Cauley-Stein (ankle) will participate in those activities. “I think what everybody saw (in the Bahamas) was, ‘Wow, when he has some veteran guys back, it looks different.”
It’s also nice to hear Calipari is going to take a few days away from everything after the busy last few weeks, even if it is to drop his son Brad off at school in Massachusetts.
By Ally Tucker on ©4:00 pm
It may not seem like ground breaking news, but Bruce Pearl’s NCAA-sanctioned “show clause” penalty ended at midnight. At 12:01 a.m., Pearl immediately got to work by contacting Findlay Prep’s Horace Spencer, a 6-8 power forward and Top 100 prospect in the 2015 class. Within hours, Spencer had already committed to be an Auburn Tiger and play for Bruce Pearl.
Four-star commit Horace Spencer joins another 4-star guard in Danjel Purifoy, who also committed to Auburn in the last 3 days. Without any restrictions left to work through, Pearl seems to have things rolling in the right direction at Auburn. Within the next 2-3 years, I think it’s safe to assume that Pearl might have Auburn back into the top echelon of the SEC.
By all accounts, all of the Kentucky basketball players have shown a great presence this week at Camp Cal’s fantasy camp. To no surprise however, Karl Anthony Towns has perhaps been the most enthusiastic over the course of this weekend. The Big KAT’s team had a triple overtime game this afternoon, and a few of KSR’s writers were able to capture just some of his excitement for his adopted team this week. The excitement is genuine, and you have to love seeing a Kentucky basketball player care that much to help make this Fantasy Camp experience that much better for the participants. If you couldn’t tell already, I think we are really going to love this guy.
Thanks to Wilder Treadway and JC Ausmus for the great pictures and videos of Towns getting into the game…
(Footage from JC Ausumus of Karl Town’s reaction to the triple overtime game winning shot….)
The trade sending Kevin Love to Cleveland became official today as the 30 day no trade period following the Cavs signing of top pick Andrew Wiggins elapsed, allowing for the trade to be completed.
The three team deal between Minnesota, Cleveland, and Philadelphia will send the 2013 and 2014 top picks Anthony Bennett and Wiggins to the Timberwolves along with Thaddeus Young and a $6.3 million trade exception from the 76ers who will get Alexey Shved, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and a 2015 first-round pick from Minnesota.
ESPN raised some eyebrows yesterday when they reported that the Phoenix Suns made a late sign and trade offer for Love with former Cat Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, and the Suns still remain far apart on a long term deal. Bledsoe wants a max contract (five years, $85 million or four years, $64 million in a sign and trade).
Bledsoe has already rejected a four year, $48 million offer from the Suns and will likely just sign a $3.7 million qualifying offer for the upcoming season and become a unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Love deal makes the Cavs the prohibitive favorite in the Eastern Conference and for the NBA Title and likely ensures that rookie head coach David Blatt’s will be spending more than just this year in Cleveland.
It isn’t uncommon for freshmen Calipari guards to be mistake-prone early in the season. When the Harrisons started slow, something seemed different. After much speculation and KSR investigation, we determined that the twins were squinting too much to be successful on the floor (see above) and needed to see an optometrist.
However, about halfway through the year the twins’ squinting problem was gone. It translated to success on the court, but was it really the squinting or was it Cal’s tweak? KSR’s Dean Bowling reported that one of John Robic’s many jobs during games is to make sure the Harrisons wear their contacts.
Turns out that we’re a lot smarter than we look.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©8:23 am
Some great news to start your morning: both Anthony Davis AND DeMarcus Cousins have been named to Team USA’s final roster as the group heads to Spain for the FIBA World Cup. The announcement was made this morning, and despite some concern that Coach K was going to be a butthead and pick Mason Plumlee over Boogie, it looks like he wised up and put both big men on the roster. Who didn’t make the cut? Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, and Chandler Parsons.
Here’s the final roster:
DeMarcus seems pretty pleased about the news:
Usually it’s hard to make grand proclamations (or any proclamation for that matter) about a college basketball team in August. It’s still probably dangerous to do such things. Yet after 10 days of watching this team play games, hearing stories about the team from those who were as close to them as anyone in the Bahamas, and noting comments by the coaching staff and players– we probably know more about this team in August than we’ve known about any other team at the same time of year since John Calipari has been at Kentucky.
This team has a long way to go before it can be compared to the likes of the 2010 or 2012 team– arguably Calipari’s two best teams (not from a results standpoint necessarily, but from an overall talent/chemistry standpoint). With that said, after watching 6 games and hearing a two platoons worth of stories (see what I did there?), this team might just combine some of the best aspects of the 2010 and 2012 teams. And if that holds true throughout the entire season, I really, really like this team’s chances.
What resembles the 2010 team?: An extremely tight knit group
I think it’s a bit of a myth that a team has to be extremely close in order to succeed. A few of Kentucky’s teams who have all performed well in the past haven’t necessarily been the tightest knit group of players. If a team can figure out how to put it together on the court though AND then you add on to that the fact that the team is extremely close– it’s an incredible combination. Teams that are close tend to have a more evident and easily achieved sense of success based upon the group. There’s a drive that teams like that bring out in each other that sometimes teams not as close have to find within themselves as individuals.
That 2010 team was as close as they come. Those guys were a unit on and off the court and the desire to be excellent and the competitive drive that team had as a group was sensational. Judging by the opinions of the coaching staff, the players, the fans who were around them all week, commentators, etc…. This year’s team is similar in that sense– spending every moment together and showing a great collective sense of closeness and pride.
What resembles the 2012 team? An extremely unselfish group… “Anthony Davis takes the 5th most shots”
Anthony Davis was undoubtedly the star and best player on that 2012 team. So to say that this team lacks a true star or all-american, and then to say that the 2012 team was equally balanced would be a bit of a mistake. Anthony Davis was an all-american and the best player on that team. There’s no denying that. But even though Davis was that caliber of player, as Calipari likes to remind us all the time– he took the 5th most shots of any player on the team. What exactly does that mean? Even though that team had a star, and this year’s team might not have the same level of star in one particular player, the balance of contributions (especially offensively) on that 2012 was very spread out. On any given night, 4-5 players could easily lead the team in scoring. That seems to be the case with this year’s team as well.
In the Bahamas this year’s team traded off duties as the leading scorer, with all different combinations of 2-3 players hitting double digits depending on the game. One of the most entertaining questions to ponder with a friend in the off-season remains: Who will be the leading scorer on this team? An argument could be made for 5-6 different players. The truth of the matter is, much like the 2012 team… instead of one standout leading scorer, the team will probably have a handful of guys who average anywhere from 10-15 points per game.
Matt and Drew are hanging out at the Calipari Fantasy Camp this afternoon, and passed along these pictures to share. Check out the team above, including Brian Long and Sam Malone, who must have finally finished those very important internships.
Tod Lanter, Trey Lyles (finally in a UK uniform!), Derek Willis, and EJ Floreal:
Seth Greenberg shared this picture of himself, the awesome Marie Dzuris, Sam Malone, and Alex Poythress:
Kudos to Pierce, who pointed out that the two on Karl’s jersey is totally different than the twos on the other players’ jerseys:
I can already tell this is going to drive me crazy, like the loose string on Julius Randle’s jersey last season.