Basketball Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 20th, 2019 @ 1:15pm
Yesterday, Ralph Hacker ruffled some feathers on the Terry Meiners Show when he said he believes John Calipari is “shortchanging” Kentucky fans with his one-and-done approach. This morning, the former Voice of the Wildcats called into Kentucky Sports Radio to clarify those comments.
The subject originally came up when Meiners mentioned Kyle Macy’s recent comments about Calipari being too focused on the NBA. Hacker took up for his former broadcast partner, telling Meiners he doesn’t feel the program has the fans in mind anymore, comparing it to radio hosts booking a superstar slate of guests for ratings week and only average guests the rest of the time.
“Perhaps it was a bad analogy,” Hacker said on KSR this morning. “What I was saying was to this point: when you recruit one-and-dones — and maybe that’s the way it’s all gone now, is that you have to recruit those, and again, John knows more about this than I do — is that if you recruit just for just for this one season rather than look for three years, two years, four years down the road, where you’re trying to stack up national championships for the benefit of the university and the benefit of your fans, it’s like you working just for one ratings week and saying, ‘I’m going to put everything I’ve got here just for this week. Everything I’ve got is going into this week and the rest of the time I’m going to coast and see what happens.'”
When Matt asked if he was implying that Calipari is coasting, Hacker once again said he probably misspoke and is just used to the way things used to be.
“Just because he does that doesn’t make it wrong. He’s probably right. I’m just saying from Joe Blow fan who’s used to, over the years — see, I’m a lot older than you. I’m a lot older than Cal. I’m used to being able to go to University of Kentucky games and see great teams come in there and you see Kentucky play them and beat them most of the time, used to being able to know the players and take pride in those particular players — and I do take pride for the year that they’re there. I just forgot who they are after they’re not there.”
In fact, Hacker said most of his frustrations stem from the non-conference home schedule, which has gotten weaker as the program adds more neutral site games.
“Everybody has their own way of doing it. The way that John does it is fine. That’s the way John wants to do it. That’s the way the university wants to do it and John’s made a commitment to do that. What I was attempting to say was, I believe as far as a fan goes — I’m thinking as a Ralph B. Hacker as a fan, a guy who writes the checks every year and buys the basketball tickets that I’ve had since the day Rupp Arena opened — is that I feel that I’m getting shortchanged. I’m thinking as a fan that I want to see more quality teams come in there. I don’t want to — while I love Eastern Kentucky University, while I love Transylvania — I don’t want that to be the highlight of my November and December schedule.”
Hacker said he’d prefer some of the neutral site games that take place in New York or Las Vegas move closer to Lexington so fans can be within driving distance.
“My point is that we play a tough schedule. There’s no question about that. My argument is, we play that schedule is with most of the games being away from home where it costs Joe Blow fan another $2,000 to go to New York City and play. Or to go to Las Vegas and play. Or to go to Chicago and play. Some of those games, if they could be worked out, need to be played where Kentucky fans can get to those games and enjoy that as part of their regular season schedule.”
Listen to Hacker’s interview below. He comes on halfway through Hour 1:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 20th, 2019 @ 8:00am
This evening, UK broadcasting legend Ralph Hacker was inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.
Before that, though, the former Voice of the Wildcats ruffled feathers in a major way during his appearance on the Terry Meiners Show.
On the show, Hacker was asked about his legendary career with the UK Radio Network as a basketball and football analyst, breaking down some of the top sports moments he has had while on the job.
At the tail end of his segment, Meiners brought up John Calipari’s time in Lexington, along with Kyle Macy’s recent controversial comments about the current Kentucky head coach being too focused on the NBA and not enough about doing what is best for the program.
To start with, Hacker complimented Calipari, saying he developed a system and title formula similar to what Eddie Sutton tried during his time in Lexington.
But unlike Sutton, the broadcast legend believes Calipari has gotten the system to work in his favor at Kentucky, with multiple titles almost certainly coming through the program if those elite players stuck around for more than one season.
“What he has done, and people will probably have a hard time drawing this relation, he has recruited every year for an NCAA championship,” he said. “He says it’s for one-and-done, and perhaps it is. But you don’t go [for] one-and-done [guys] unless you have NCAA championship-type players on there. That’s what Sutton tried to do. He had it all planned out to where if he got this player this year, this player, and this player, he could build up a dynasty of where it was just a matter of getting one player the next year and win that NCAA championship many times. Cal has pretty much done that. And if they had stayed [as opposed to entering the draft], he certainly would have done it.”
He added that he likely learned the system during his time in the NBA, seeing the level of talent he would need to win titles at the college level.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Rick [Pitino], he figured it out in the pros. Basically said, if I go [recruit this way] in college, I can do this and get this caliber of player.”
The only issue, according to Hacker, is that the system hasn’t worked because those players are not staying in Lexington for multiple years. Thus, multiple championships haven’t come during Calipari’s time at Kentucky.
And because of that fact, and that fact alone, Hacker stood up for Macy, saying he believes the UK head coach is “shortchanging fans.”
“I know Kyle Macy took a lot of heat for what he said. But I [told him] “I think you’re right.” I said they’re shortchanging the fans by doing what we’re doing now,” he said. “Even though we’re proud of the University of Kentucky basketball team, we cheer for them, pay for the tickets, all that stuff, but in the end, you’re not doing right by the fan.”
To explain his point, he created a hypothetical for Meiners, telling him to imagine a scenario where he took a lazy approach to his radio show until the spotlight was on him when it came time for ratings.
And after a long-winded explanation, he tried to drive the point home that the diehard fans simply want to see more titles in Lexington.
“It’d be like if you decided you were going to come in here and not do your work to get your show done every day and you were going to do just enough to get by,” he said. “Like, “I’m going to have a good show today because it’s ratings week. But after ratings week, I’m not going to do anything.” And maybe that’s a bad analogy, but they’re working their butts off, they’re winning ball games, doing all this stuff, but I still think the people in Kentucky – the further you get from Lexington, the more rabid the fans are – I think they’d like to see championships.”
Long story short, he ultimately defended Macy’s comments, saying those around Lexington may be okay with settling for what we see at Kentucky now, but fans around the state aren’t content with Calipari’s one title in ten years as head coach.
“They don’t see Coach Cal every day, they don’t run into him at Wheeler’s Drug Store,” he said. “They don’t do these things, they don’t get to see Coach Cal. These people, they’d like to see championships. People in [Lexington], maybe they can say, “Coach, you’re doing a really good job and maybe it’s okay if you don’t win them.” Maybe it’s okay? Maybe that’s the way the people of Lexington feel, but I think Macy was right.”
To finish off the segment, he added that despite all of the criticism Macy has received over the last several weeks, he knows that the Kentucky basketball legend is just as passionate about his Wildcats as the rest of us.
“And he loves the Wildcats, he loves the University of Kentucky,” he said. “His children go there. One of them graduated, the other is in school there. Does he love them? He pays the tuition.”
You can listen to Hacker’s entire interview on the Terry Meiners Show here:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 19th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
Kentucky just sent out the prospectus for the 2019-20 season, which includes a complete roster with each player’s heights and weights. The numbers are unofficial, but let’s take a look:
Again, the numbers are unofficial, but that’s not stopping me from diving right in. Some takeaways:
— Ashton Hagans is up to 198 lbs. from 190 last summer. Based on the pictures of him in summer workouts, that’s not surprising. Nick Richards and Immanuel Quickley both added three pounds, redshirt freshman Zan Payne added ten pounds, and EJ Montgomery’s numbers stayed the same.
— Going by Bucknell’s 2018-19 roster, Nate Sestina has dropped eleven pounds since last season, down to 234 from 245.
— All of the freshmen have put on weight compared to their numbers in 247 Sports’ recruiting database:
- Tyrese Maxey: Up to 198 from 185 lbs.
- Dontaie Allen: Up to 200 from 185 lbs.
- Johnny Juzang: Up to 214 from 200 lbs.
- Keion Brooks: Up to 205 from 185 lbs.
- Kahlil Whitney: Up to 210 from 190 lbs.
After seeing this picture from last week, it’s clear Whitney’s 20 lbs. weight gain is all muscle:
— Freshman walk-on Riley Welch will wear No. 13.
I like my team.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 19th, 2019 @ 11:15am
Kentucky Basketball’s ‘Meet the Wildcats’ series continues today with a look at Keion Brooks.
The 6’7″ small forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana opens up about his love for the game, which started with his father, who played basketball at Wright State and professionally for a few years. He also talks about what drew him to John Calipari and Kentucky.
“Coach Cal was 100% genuine. He never told me a lie. He told me it was going to be hard, which it is. He just made sure that if I came here, he’s going to push me everyday to be the best player I can be, which is really going to help me achieve my dreams.”
"I can promise you I'm going to go out and play hard every possession."
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 19, 2019
To see profiles of Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney, Johnny Juzang, Brennan Canada, Nate Sestina, and Dontaie Allen, visit KyWildcatsTV’s YouTube channel.
By Bryan the Intern on ©August 19th, 2019 @ 10:00am
As you tune in to KSR this morning for a show that likely has nothing to talk about, why not get your work week off to an exciting start by watching these highlights from the 1992 Unforgettables squad. I put this video together years ago from archived highlights from a station in Louisville and rewatching the style of play of that team, and all Pitino squads, that is something that just can’t be replicated anymore. We will look back on the 1992-97 era as one of the most dominant in UK history but also one of the most unique to watch in terms of style of play on the floor.
By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
In the last few weeks, two programs in the ACC have announced some throwback ideas for courts and uniforms. We all saw the Louisville court design that was teased a while back. Now, Pittsburgh is getting on the train. They released a new court design at the Petersen Events Center where their home games are played. The new court design harkens back to the old bright blue and yellow that the Panthers used to rock.
I hate to say it about Louisville, but their court design looks pretty good and the new Pitt court, while not as dramatic as the Yum! Center, looks really pleasing to the eye and much better than the navy and gold they had been using.
Everyone talks about UK football going back to the Power K, which would be amazing! What about some throwbacks for basketball? At the very least it would be nice if Kentucky could do a couple of nights a year at Rupp or Kroger Field with some throwbacks, right? Personally, I would love to see the Power K come back like many in BBN, and doing a 90s throwback jersey for basketball would be AWESOME, even if it is the denim jerseys. Break out one of the old Wildcat logos and put it down at halfcourt! Many fans think that because we’re Kentucky, the best and most historic program in the NCAA, that we shouldn’t do things like this. I disagree. Our fans deserve to revel in the days of yesteryear like other fans across the country. We have a richer history to celebrate than any school out there, so why don’t we celebrate our history with a few throwback nights a year?
Anyone who has been following the Team USA saga this season leading up to the FIBA World Cup knows that things have not been going well for the Red, White, and Blue hoops. Especially when it comes to keeping players on the roster. Player after player has left the team or declined an invite, typically stating that it is due to wanting to get ready for the upcoming NBA season, which is a fair excuse. The long 82 game regular-season of the NBA can be grueling, but it is clear many players just don’t feel the motivation to suit up for Team USA this summer, and really the last few summers.
There is a lack of star power that could possibly get Team USA in some trouble as they attempt to reclaim gold in the FIBA World Cup. Now, the USA has been very dominant internationally, even when the team was unable to acquire star power, but it should still leave fans worried. Out of the 11 American players to make an All-NBA team this season only one is going to be participating for Team USA in the World Cup – Kemba Walker. Out of 20 NBA All-Stars this season only two remain on the USA team: Walker and Khris Middleton.
If you look at the roster, it just doesn’t look like a typical World Cup team, and heading into the Olympics next year, will we see the same trend continue? Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all time and Steve Kerr is one of his assistants. Two of the most liked coaches in the NBA can’t convince a couple more stars to play in this tournament? While many are thinking that it is an off-year since the Olympics aren’t until 2020, this will be the easiest way to qualify for the Olympics next year. If Team USA finishes top two among teams in the Western Hemisphere they will have their ticket punched. This way, over the next year, Team USA won’t have to waste time putting together another random roster and playing in qualifying games.
Not to mention since De’Aaron Fox left the team, there aren’t any more Kentucky players on the roster. For a couple of weeks during the summer, it looked like the National team and Select team would be loaded with BBNBA players, but alas there won’t be a single Wildcat on this year’s roster. This actually has me curious if an All-USA BBN team could win the World Cup or Olympics. A roster of the top 12 guys from Kentucky that are playing in the NBA right now would be a really solid team. Sadly, with guys like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins injured for the foreseeable future, the team wouldn’t pack quite the same punch as a healthy roster would.
With that being said, Team USA is hardly in trouble in regards to winning the World Cup this year. The roster issues that have been hurting Coach Popovich and his staff are also hurting teams across the globe. Many European teams have experienced issues with getting star players to join rosters, and Canada has been hit especially hard. In the last eight to ten years, Canada has had an influx of NBA talent. For our neighbors to the north, they have lost out on RJ Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and even players like Shai’s cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Trey Lyles, and Nik Stauskas have passed on suiting up for their home country.
Team USA shouldn’t be too worried about this year’s World Cup and next year’s 2020 Olympic roster. However, the amount of star power in the NBA right now is ridiculous. You have freaks of nature like LeBron, KD, and Anthony Davis to pair with unreal playmakers and shooters like Curry and Klay, but I’m not sure if we will see a true “Dream Team,” for awhile. Perhaps if the NBA season were shorter more players would be willing to suit up in the summer for these tournaments, or maybe there needs to be more incentive for the players. It’s hard to compete with the monster-sized contracts that are being given in the NBA nowadays, and why would anyone want to risk injury like PJ Tucker this summer, or even worse the Paul George injury from 2014.
As fewer star players suit up for Team USA, the product just isn’t the same. Even if Kemba, Myles Turner, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, and Harrison Barnes win gold this year, does that sound like exciting basketball? Not nearly as exciting as what could have been. These international tournaments are one of the few times we get to see players from different teams get together on the same team outside of All-Star Weekend. Hopefully, 2020 goes smoother for Team USA and its roster issues.
By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
For those of us who may like to put a little action on the Cats, last season’s against the spread stats were mixed. The 2018-19 Wildcats covered the spread 20 times out of 37 games. If you bet on the Cats every game to cover the spread, you would have come out on top more than 50% of the time, which is pretty reliable. However, the Cats did go on some lengthy streaks of not being able to cover.
The Cats had three losing streaks against the spread of three games or longer during the season. The longest dry spell came between February 26th with the Arkansas game and ended when the Cats defeated Alabama at home on March 15th, 73-55. There were also three winning streaks against the spread with a long win streak of eight games between Jan. 15th at Georgia and ended when the Cats took an L to LSU at home on Feb. 12th. Basically, betting on the Cats was a rollercoaster last season that thankfully ended in a positive record covering the spread.
This season’s team is relatively young with five freshmen making up the 2nd ranked recruiting class in the country, a grad transfer, plus two new walk-ons. The Cats are going to have to fit a lot of things together quickly. Will they be able to beat last year’s record of 20-17 when it comes to the spread?
Sound off in the comments with your takes!
By Nick Wheatley on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Believe it or not, Sacha Killeya-Jones played a pivotal role in the Virginia Cavaliers winning their first men’s basketball National Championship in 2019.
According to SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell, SKJ’s recruitment helped bring in arguably the most important player in the Cavaliers’ title run: De’Andre Hunter.
Back in 2016, Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett was busy putting together what ended up being a legendary recruiting class. The Cavs had four scholarships. One went to Kyle Guy. Another went to Ty Jerome. A third went to Jay Huff. And the fourth was set to go to… Sacha Killeya-Jones.
SKJ was Bennett’s highest-ranked recruit at No. 23 overall, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. The soon-to-be McDonald’s All-American was from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended Virginia Episcopal School.
The Cavaliers had offered SKJ back in September 2014 and he committed on the first day of 2015. Meanwhile, a four-star recruit ranked No. 91 overall by the name of De’Andre Hunter was quietly hoping for an offer.
SKJ would eventually de-commit on June 2, 2015, before receiving a Kentucky offer on June 12 and committing to the Cats in August. This opened up a scholarship for the Cavs, which was offered to Hunter in July 2015, and the rest is history.
Killeya-Jones only ended up playing two years in Lexington before transferring to NC State, only to then leave the Wolfpack program abruptly for unknown reasons. On the other hand, Hunter would help catapult Virginia to its first National Championship, tallying 27 points, nine rebounds, and locking up future top-10 pick Jarrett Culver on defense.
The performance not only helped the Cavs win it all, but it also helped Hunter become the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
John Calipari and Kentucky fans alike hoped SKJ would help influence a national title run, but I’m not sure they envisioned it would happen this way. Nevertheless, it’s a fun story of what could have been.
Follow me on Twitter: @nickwheatley23
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
The dirt surrounding college basketball recruiting and popular shoe and apparel companies continues to pile up.
On Friday evening, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel, and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports released yet another bombshell report, filled with the various exhibitions submitted to federal court by controversial lawyer Michael Avenatti.
His goal? To support his claims from earlier in the week that Nike has engaged in corruption and illegal payments to high-level basketball recruits.
As we’ve seen in some of the past breaking news stories over the last year or so, multiple big-name athletes and schools were included in Friday’s report.
And as we discussed on the site last night, Kentucky was one of the schools named in the documents, sparking a sense of uneasiness throughout the Big Blue Nation.
But what does it all mean, specifically for the Kentucky program? Do UK fans have any reason to be worried?
Let’s take a look.
Deandre Ayton, Zion Williamson, and Romeo Langford
While Kentucky fans were most interested in UK’s involvement, the biggest aspect of the story had to do with former Arizona center Deandre Ayton, among with fellow former prized recruits Zion Williamson (Duke) and Romeo Langford (Indiana).
For Ayton, the evidence was rather damning. According to the official court documents, Nike EYBL director Carlton DeBose received an email on his official Nike corporate account from Mel McDonald, a known middleman and handler for Ayton and former five-star big man Bol Bol, along with other associates.
The email had a subject line of “Numbers,” with in-depth details on the money spent on Ayton and those close to him.
The expenses revealed in the report covered travel, cell phone, and immigration costs, among other things, totaling $65,840.
In the same email, a long list of payouts were listed, including:
- Nov. 3rd – $5K
- Nov. 24th – $5K
- Dec. 2nd – $5K
- Dec. 12th – 5K in Kentucky (3 cells 2K cash)
- Dec. 15th – $5K Xmas Gifts
- Dec. 15th – $4K (loan) (Met mom about Larnelle)
- Jan. 8th – $2940 mom $600 auntie
- Feb. 9th – $5,000 for March to mom $3,500 for Bahamas to dad.
As far as the “Kentucky” line is concerned, this is likely in reference to the location of the payment, not the UK basketball program. Hillcrest Prep (AZ), Ayton’s high school, played in Lexington back on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, 2015 for a tournament called the Bluegrass Showcase. While the document doesn’t clarify what the money was used for in Kentucky, the timeline certainly adds up.
Back in April, Avenatti accused Nike of making $83,000 worth of payments to those close to Ayton, providing documents to back up his accusations, as well.
On February 25, 2018, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach also reported that FBI wiretaps showed that Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussed a $100,000 payment to secure a commitment from Ayton.
Outside of Ayton, Avenatti also provided a series of text messages from February 2017 between DeBose, Nike recruiting coordinator John Stovall, and Nike EYBL manager Jamal James, where the trio discussed a plan to pay Williamson, Langford, and another undisclosed player from Michigan.
In one of the exhibits, James wrote to DeBose in a group text message trying to figure out what they would be able to swing financially for all three players.
“Remember that the Romeo and Zion deals are NOT done yet! We are still in it. Just want u to remember that possible financial obligation also,” James said in a text on February 11.
“We’re still in there for Zion and Langford?!?! I thought that ship had sailed,” DeBose later responded.
“Are we willing to do the additional 30K for this (California) [kid] along with whatever may be needed for the Zion/Romeo situations as well as the money we’re not going to do for the kid in Michigan?” James wrote back.
In one group text, James wrote to DeBose seeking to find out if they would be “willing to do … whatever may be needed for the Zion/Romeo situations as well as the money we’re now going to do for the [minor] kid in Michigan.”
“Langford — 20 (thousand), Zion — 35-plus (thousand), [Michigan kid] – 15 (thousand),” Stovall responded.
Later, DeBose added that he was okay with spending “70” if it meant they could “cripple adidas,” saying that those involved needed to “stay aggressive.”
“The other 70 listed I’m willing to spend to cripple adidas,” he said. “The amount of work that you guys are doing is more than worth me spinning the approximate 100K to support the efforts. I will have to get creative elsewhere in the budget but I’m encouraging you all to stay aggressive and I will figure out the money part.”
On February 28, Stovall then said a “new offer” for Williamson had not been presented, but they “hinted at it.”
“[No update on Williamson] yet,” he said. “[A third party] had not talked to them directly in a couple of days. Still has not presented our new offer. Only hinted at it. He did not want to put it in print which I agreed with.”
“What moved Langford?” DeBose responded.
“$$ is my guess,” Stovall said. “They claim “a chance to start a new path.” I’m not buying it. They admitted [Indiana] will stink and said “it’s not about wins and losses” lol.”
Unlike Ayton’s situation, the text messages did not indicate any money explicitly exchanged hands or whether or not any offers were officially presented.
Nonetheless, if you believe the documents, the discussions happened.
Kenny Payne’s “involvement”
As you guys read last night, Kenny Payne participated in a text message exchange with Carlton DeBose in the early hours of July 6, 2017.
According to the official exhibits in Avenatti’s case, Payne – listed by his initials and nickname of “KP” in the messages – had a conversation with DeBose, who told the Kentucky assistant which Nike EYBL coaches he supplied money to in order to help families of players on the popular shoe circuit.
“Do [you] help people like Webster and speedy every year and how many more people asked you to help them,” Payne asked DeBose. “They both are happy [you] are helping them. How many more are [there?]”
“Those two [Nike coaches]. And about 10 other brothers,” DeBose responded, adding nine more names to the list. “About 10 coaches who are helping families to the total of about [$200,000] annually and I still have to meet budget.”
“Wow,” Payne responded.
“You’re the only one that knows about it [because] so many of these dudes are selfish and would want more [because] they would argue that someone else don’t deserve the help more than they do,” DeBose said. “It’s a stressful balancing act.”
“Damn man, can it come back [and] hurt you?” Payne responded.
“Not really. Have to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good, but it’s enough to where Lynn [Merritt, Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball] and Nico [Harrison, Nike’s vice president of North American Basketball Operations] don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses,” DeBose said. “So it’s a risk but my every day job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”
“Watch your back bro,” Payne responded, his final message in the exhibits.
Should Kentucky fans be worried?
Now that you know who DeBose is and what Payne said to him in the text exchange, is there any reason to sweat if you’re a Kentucky basketball fan?
In short, not really.
While it’s never a “good” thing to have your name associated with any scandal, Payne’s text exchange seemed to indicate he and the Kentucky program had seemingly minimal involvement in the entire process and that he was simply telling an individual he had known for quite some time to be careful.
Diving into the assistant’s quotes alone, while it’s obvious he’s not ignorant to the shadiness going on in the world of AAU basketball – he did acknowledge “Webster” and “Speedy” by name and was aware that they appreciated DeBose’s help – he was admittedly surprised at the number of EYBL coaches involved, the dollar figure attached to the process, and seemed to be unaware of the logistics of it all.
Looking at Kentucky’s recruiting track record, especially as of late, with players of questionable backgrounds and those rumored to be looking for handouts, John Calipari and his staff have backed off on multiple occasions.
Ayton, a player who publicly listed Kentucky as one of his favorite schools and was the first in the class of 2016 to receive a scholarship offer from UK, was outspoken about how his recruitment hadn’t gone the way he had hoped and wanted more schools to reach out. For a player who was deemed the most dominant and NBA-ready big man in his class, why would Kentucky randomly cut off all communication during the home stretch of his recruitment, especially when they likely could have reeled him in?
And with Langford, you may recall, Kentucky’s interest and communication dropped off almost completely in the spring of 2018. At the time, Langford’s father, Tim, told the Courier Journal about his disagreements with John Calipari during his time coaching the former five-star prospect with USA Basketball at the U19 FIBA World Cup in Egypt. He also added that Langford called Calipari in hopes of taking an official visit to Lexington in hopes of potentially solving their issues and rebuild burnt bridges.
Bol Bol’s contact dropped off, Terrance Ferguson essentially begged for an offer, Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t prioritized, Josh Jackson’s recruitment drew red flags, Anthony Bennett went from Kentucky lean to minimal interest, etc.
You go down the list, and it’s no secret that Kentucky has mostly stayed away from the prospects – especially late in their respective recruitments – that could have caused them potential headaches with the NCAA. This case only seems to be more of the same.
Going back to Payne’s text messages, there’s always the possibility – a very real one – that the Kentucky assistant used DeBose to find out which AAU programs, coaches, and prospects to avoid on the recruiting trail, not who to go after. If you need a safety blanket to know who will get you in trouble and who will keep you out of it, why not go to the direct source?
Considering the program’s recent track record and the fact that the NCAA has been watching Calipari like a hawk from the day he arrived in Lexington, it’d be far-fetched to think that Payne was using DeBose to find out which prospects were looking for handouts and use that information for more bad than good, to say the least. National analysts and rival fans may jump on this and assume guilt based on name recognition alone, but there is little-to-no substance here that should make Kentucky fans sweat.
Friday’s report didn’t completely clear Payne or the Kentucky basketball program of any wrongdoing, but it certainly didn’t implicate them in any way, either.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 16th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Michael Avenatti was back in court today to continue his War On Nike and this time he brought more texts and e-mails as his ammunition.
One of the texts, Avenatti claims, identifies Kenny Payne as the previously unnamed “assistant coach at the University of Kentucky’ from Avenatti’s first batch of allegations.
Here’s the Kentucky-related excerpt from Yahoo’s new story on the day’s events with Avenatti:
DeBose also participated in a text message exchange on July 6, 2017, with an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, according to the motion. In the exhibits, the initials “KP” are attached to one non-DeBose number. Kentucky has an assistant basketball coach named Kenny Payne.In the exchange with “KP,” DeBose explains that he provides money to “about 10 [Nike EYBL] coaches who are helping families to the total of about 200K annually.”
He names the coaches using first names and nicknames that couldn’t immediately be identified by Yahoo Sports. DeBose declares the business is “stressful” because he has “to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good but it’s enough to where Lynn and Nico don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses.”
Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball is Lynn Merritt, who has been a longtime fixture at the company.
“So it’s a risk,” DeBose wrote, “but my everyday job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”
“Watch your back, bro,” KP wrote back. [Yahoo!]
The rest of Yahoo’s lengthy report is full of more alleged dirt on Nike and its Nike EYBL circuit, including more suspicious behavior around the very suspicious recruitment of DeAndre Ayton, as well as the recruitments of Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford.
You can read it all here on Yahoo.com. For now, just find peace in knowing the one mention of Kentucky isn’t anywhere near the accusations around Arizona, Duke and Indiana. We don’t love reading Kenny Payne’s name in the report, but it is a minor detail in this overall story of Avenatti V. Nike.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 16th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
We all know the quick facts about Kentucky freshman wing Dontaie Allen: Falmouth, KY native, 6-foot-7 scorer, Pendleton County star, averaged over 40 points per game as a senior, Kentucky Mr. Basketball, etc.
After his recent “Meet the Wildcats” feature released by KY Wildcats TV, we also found out a little more about Allen as a person, including the fact that Anthony Davis was a major reason why he grew up wanting to play at Kentucky.
“I remember the 2012 team with Anthony Davis,” Allen said. “I would even go out in my backyard, and I would be like practicing shots they would shoot or the way Anthony Davis would block someone.”
And if you read last week’s edition of Pilgrim’s Insider Notes, you’d also know that Allen was actually Kentucky’s best shooter – even better than Tyrese Maxey and Johnny Juzang – during summer workouts and that one high-major Division I assistant coach felt the former Pendleton County star was going to be “the next Kyle Korver.”
But this afternoon, UK Athletics released another interesting tidbit on Allen that has slid under the radar until now.
In another fun-fact post by the Kentucky basketball social media team, we found out today that Allen is actually cousins with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Can you see the resemblance?
Outside of that interesting bit of knowledge, they also said that Allen is the 18th Kentucky player in program history to win Kentucky Mr. Basketball honors, the Wildcat freshman chose No. 11 because it’s his favorite number, twice, his nickname is D-Tay, and his most prized possession is his shoe collection.
The more you know.
While we’re at it, let’s take a look at some of Allen’s best highlights from his short, yet very, very sweet senior season at Pendleton County.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 16th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
It’s Friday and John Calipari’s feeling good. Heading into his eleventh season at Kentucky, Cal picked up the ole Twitter device to tell fans he’s looking forward to his ‘second tour’ as head coach.
“Spending a little time today thinking back but spending more time looking ahead,” Cal tweeted. “THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF MY SECOND TOUR AS THE HEAD COACH AT KENTUCKY!!! It’s exciting starting over! The last 10 years were a ball and I want the next 10 to be even better. Let’s go!!!!”
Fifty-six days until Big Blue Madness.
By Aaron Torres on ©August 15th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
It’s mid-August, and while the world has turned its attention to football (as it should) what gets lost in the shuffle is that we are, believe it or not, right around 80 days until the start of the college hoops season. Opening night on November 6 may seem like a lifetime from now, but make no mistake, it will get here before you know it.
So with such a short time between now and the start of the season it’s never too early to look ahead. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing the last few weeks here at KSR. A few weeks ago I looked at a Way Too Early SEC basketball projection, and this week I decided to bring it a little closer to home with Kentucky. Specifically, I wondered to myself, “for Kentucky to have a successful season next year” what needs to happen? More importantly, who needs to play well?
With that, it brings me to this article today: Ranking the most important Kentucky basketball players heading into next season.
Now before we get started, a few disclaimers: This is a ranking of the guys who will be most important specifically to next season, as the Wildcats pursue a potential national title. This isn’t who was good in high school, who is the best NBA prospect, or who could evolve down the line into a star in Lexington. It is specifically about next season and the impact they will have.
With that, who are the most important Wildcats next year? Let’s take a look, as I rank all the scholarship players.
10) Dontaie Allen, F (Freshman)
This is just about the only “easy” ranking on this list.
That’s because while the reports out of summer camp are that Allen could be ready to go for the start of the season and could have an instant impact, we just don’t know for sure. Not after Allen sat out all of summer workouts while recovering from a car crash.
The good news is that the crash seems like it will have little impact on Allen’s future on the court. But until we know for sure when he will be back, it’s tough to put him any higher on this list.
9) Nick Richards, C (Junior)
It’s impossible to put together a list like this without someone feeling slighted. And in this case, that burden falls on Richards. Which is a shame. Because make no mistake: He will have a major impact on this year’s team.
The problem is, it’s hard to see him having a larger impact than anyone below him on this list.
That’s because while Richards does provide a skill-set that is completely unique to him (rim protection), defense is only part of basketball. And the early returns out of summer workouts are that his offensive repertoire hasn’t improved significantly enough where he will make a major leap in 2019-2020.
So, with that it seems fair to ask: If Richards hasn’t improved dramatically on offense, just how much will Kentucky play him? Especially on a roster that has all the pieces to run really good and effective small ball lineups.
Truth be told, I hope Richards proves me wrong. But right now, it just seems hard to put him any higher on this list.
8) Nate Sestina, F (Redshirt Senior)
Full disclosure: I’ve said since the day Nate Sestina committed that I wonder just how much he’ll be able to contribute this season. Yes, I know it’d be easy to look at Sestina as a grad transfer, see the impact that Reid Travis had last year, and assume that Sestina will be able to put up similar numbers. If only it were that easy. Remember, Travis came from a Power 5 conference, where he earned All-Conference honors, and played against a slew of future NBA players in the frontcourt. Sestina came from the Patriot League, and it’s just hard to know how a player will transition from playing against Lehigh and Lafayette every night, to now facing LSU, Tennessee and Florida.
But while I do have concerns about Sestina’s ability to transition from low major to high major, I also can’t deny this: He brings things to the table that no one else on this roster does. Specifically, he should provide size, bulk, physicality and toughness around the rim that the younger players on this roster simply won’t be able to.
The fact that he also has the ability to step out, hit jumpers and space the floor makes him that much more valuable, and because of it, Sestina should still see big-time playing time in 2019-2020.
7) Johnny Juzang, G/F (Freshman)
If you read to the end of this article the one thing you’ll notice is that I drop the word “versatility” about as often as Rick Pitino drops excuses when talking about Stripper-Gate. When it comes to this roster, there is no avoiding it.
And there may be no player that epitomizes Kentucky’s move to versatile, position-less basketball quite like Juzang.
Put simply, Juzang can just do so…many… things on the basketball court. He’s a guy who can handle the ball in a pinch, create off the dribble, and as his AAU coach told me this spring, score on all three levels. Maybe most importantly, he and Tyrese Maxey will likely be the Wildcats most consistent three-point shooters this season. You simply can’t put a price on the floor-spacing that he will provide for this team, and the fact that he can probably guard anywhere from the 2 to 4 positions (depending on the opponent) certainly won’t hurt either.
In the end, I have no idea how many points he’ll score or minutes he’ll play. But to me, Juzang is one of the sneaky big keys to success for the Wildcats this season.
6) Tyrese Maxey, G (Freshman)
Again, to be clear, this isn’t a list of the best long-term NBA prospects at Kentucky this season. If it were, Maxey may be No.1. It also isn’t a list of pure output. Maxey may end up being the team’s leading scorer. Instead, it’s about value and while Maxey is really, insanely, extremely valuable, it is one person’s opinion (mine) that he isn’t more valuable than the guys below him on this list.
But with that said, he is still again, extremely, EXTREMELY valuable.
The reason being, that he can do just about everything on the floor that you could ever want from a guard. He can handle the ball, create for others, play off the ball, score off the dribble and just might be the best three-point shooter on this roster. He’s also a dog on defense. Again, there isn’t a single thing you’d want from a guard on your roster that Maxey isn’t capable of doing.
The only thing that Maxey is lacking at this point is experience, which will come by March.
This kid is going to be a stud. And clearly has insane value to this roster.
5) Immanuel Quickley, G (Sophomore)
Again, it’s all about experience, which is why I have Quickley slightly ahead of Maxey on this list. Not because I’m comparing them as NBA prospects. But because experience wins in March. Just ask Virginia. Or Villanova. Or North Carolina a few years ago. And Quickley does have major experience, as he played in all 37 games for Kentucky last season and got major burn during their run in March. You think that won’t help him when things get tight on the road, or in the NCAA Tournament next March?
But more than just experience what I love about Quickley is his toughness. Remember, this was a guy who began the year as the starter at point guard, moved off the ball, and then eventually to the bench as Ashton Hagans’ backup. Yet despite it, you never heard him complain (at least publicly) and instead, this summer he just got back into the lab (as the kids say) and go to work. And the early returns are that he has been awesome in the Wildcats’ summer workouts.
Furthermore, let’s never forget, this is a kid who came to Kentucky as a McDonald’s All-American and as a recruit that everyone in college basketball wanted. He can play. And I fully expect 2019-2020 to be a breakout season for Quickley.
4) Keion Brooks, F (Freshman)
3) Kahlil Whitney, F (Freshman)
So, I kind of just lumped these guys together because the bottom-line is that they both kind of bring the same thing. Each is a big wing, who can step out, handle the ball, shoot from downtown and also play in and around the rim. They also bring versatility – there’s that buzz word again! – to this team. With each of them in the lineup, Kentucky can either play really small with Brooks/Whitney playing the “four” or they can play big, with one of these two wings playing at the three, with EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards (or potentially Nate Sestina) on the court at the same time.
Now, why are they lumped together? Because it’s just impossible to know who will actually contribute more once the season starts. While Whitney came in with more high school buzz, the early returns (including from KSR’s own Jack Pilgrim) are that both were impressive in summer workouts, and each could contribute in a big way.
My hunch is that Whitney – coming off a big weekend at the Nike Skills Academy in LA – will probably have the upper-hand to start the season. But don’t sleep on Brooks coming along as the season goes on.
2) Ashton Hagans, G (Sophomore)
I’ve already written at length about Hagans this spring, as a player who I believe could be a breakout guy not just at Kentucky, but nationally. Two months after I wrote that article, I still stand by it.
The bottom line is that Hagans has already proven to be one of the elite, on-ball defenders in all of college basketball. The question now is, can his offense catch up? Can he be more consistent getting to the rim, more consistent shooting, and do it all while setting up others?
It’s a question only he can answer. But, if Hagans can evolve on offense to go with his elite on-ball defense, he could be one of the best guards in college basketball. And Kentucky’s ceiling as a team will completely change.
1) EJ Montgomery, F (Sophomore)
It’s interesting because had you asked me to rank these players a week ago or a month ago I would have told you that Hagans was the most important player.
However, I was reading Kyle Tucker’s really good piece from a few weeks ago on the returning players next season and one line jumped out at me. In it, someone was discussing last season’s team, and specifically PJ Washington and Reid Travis and how many “free throws and layups” they created last season. That line really did stick with me, and made me realize just how many easy baskets, within five feet from the rim Kentucky was able to get a year ago. It also made me realize how different is it for a team when they know they can count on 20-30 easy points right around the rim every night.
Which brings us back to Montgomery.
Yes, he’s a completely different player from Washington and Travis and more of a hybrid forward who is comfortable playing away from the basket.
Still, you simply replicate the value of a guy who can get you points at the rim, and Montgomery should do that better than everyone else next season.
Add in the overall improvement in his game, and to me, it’s little debate: EJ Montgomery is the most important player to Kentucky’s success next year.
The Kentucky basketball team announced the addition of another player to its roster today, a walk-on who previously played at UC Irvine.
Riley Welch has enrolled at UK and will be a junior for the 2019-20 season with immediate eligibility. He joins freshman Brennan Canada and sophomore Zan Payne as the three walk-ons on Coach Cal’s bench.
“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be joining the greatest program in the history of college basketball,” Welch said in the press release from UK. “There is nothing better than University of Kentucky basketball and I still can’t believe how fortunate I am to be able to learn every day from a Hall of Fame coach as well as compete against the best players in the country day in and day out.”
At UC Irvine, Welsh appeared in 27 games as a true freshman and scored 14 points. He transferred to College of the Desert, the one-time home of former UK quarterback Stephen Johnson, for his sophomore season, in which he averaged 8.2 points 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Fun Fact: His father is John Welch, a longtime NBA assistant who has been with the Clippers since 2016.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 14th, 2019 @ 10:11pm
Michael Avenatti is following through with his claims that he knows about the college hoops scandal.
According to Yahoo Sports, a motion was filed in federal court on behalf of Avenatti that claims Nike EYBL director Carlton DeBose discussed several deals for players, including Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford. Kentucky was mentioned, although it’s important to note that there is no direct link between the staff and paying players:
DeBose, according to the motion, also “acknowledged in an exchange of text messages with an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky that Nike was funneling payments to high school players through at least ten different EYBL coaches.”
For more, go to Yahoo Sports.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 14th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
N’Faly Dante’s decision to reclassify and go to Oregon could be the final domino to fall ahead of the 2019-20 college basketball season. In turn, outlets across the internet updated their preseason rankings. Here’s where your University of Kentucky Wildcats stand with 83 days until the season opener:
1. Michigan State
1. Michigan State
1. Michigan State
1. Michigan State
To summarize my thoughts on Rothstein putting Louisville ahead of Kentucky, here’s 14 seconds of Kahlil Whitney hitting a tire with a sledgehammer:
On Tuesday, the news that several college basketball fan-bases have been waiting for, finally became official. And for the sake of the fan-base that most closely monitors this website, it didn’t work out in their favor.
That’s because on Tuesday, N’Faly Dante, a 6-11 center, who is originally from Mali, but played his last few years of high school ball in Kansas made his college decision. After a long, winding recruitment in which Dante began as a part of the 2020 class, he announced that he would be reclassifying to 2019, and that he would sign with Oregon. He chose the Ducks over Kentucky, LSU and a handful of other schools.
So with that, the final unknown puzzle piece of the 2019-2020 season has found his home. Oregon got a nice, last minute addition to 2019-2020 roster and the teams that missed out can look ahead to next season for certain, without the possibility of adding any new players.
Yet while so many prognosticators, so-called “experts” and fans have deemed this as a “devastating loss” for Kentucky, I just don’t see it that way. Yes, Dante is talented. Yes, in general, when you have a chance to add a talented piece, you want to do it.
But no, this is not a crushing loss for Kentucky going into next season.
Now before we got further, let’s get a few disclaimers out of the way. To be clear, no this article is not meant to tear down an 18-year-old kid. Everyone reading this hopefully knows that isn’t my intention. My intention is solely to talk about him as a college basketball player, and the impact which I believe he will or won’t have next season.
I’m also not only writing this because Dante chose Oregon over Kentucky, and this is a Kentucky-based outlet. That’s not the reasoning at all.
As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite. If you follow my work at all – either on Twitter, writing or my podcast – you know that that I’ve said for months that Dante is a work in progress. That even if he did reclassify and play college basketball this season, his impact, in my opinion, would be minimal.
That has been my stance all spring and summer, and didn’t change with today’s decision. If you have any doubts, here is a tweet I sent out on the subject back in June. Two months ago.
Interesting development. Have seen N'Faly Dante a few times the past year, including at Hoops Summit a few months ago. Even if he does reclassify, Id temper expectations as a fan. He's still got a ways to go to be a major contributor in college (think Nick Richards freshman year) https://t.co/EMcmbq25NH
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) June 26, 2019
Therefore this isn’t about tearing down a player, but instead, being realistic about the impact which he can have on college basketball this season.
And for starters, let’s begin with some simple facts on Dante. It’s important to remember that he isn’t just relatively new to the sport of basketball, but new to the United States and new to the English language, after growing up in Mali and speaking French for most of his childhood (By the way, if we can step away from basketball for a second, let’s give him some credit: This dude just made up a full year of high school over the summer, and got necessary test scores, and English isn’t even his first language!!! Shout out to him. What he did the last six months is so much harder than most people realize)
But from a basketball perspective? Again, there will be a learning curve.
Keep in mind that for all the time we spend hyping freshmen in college, the number of guys who actually have a major impact on the sport is minimal at best. For every Zion Williamson who bursts onto the scene, there is a Nassir Little who is crazy hyped and has trouble adjusting to the college game. Heck, just last season, how many freshmen really had a major impact in college basketball? Zion, RJ Barrett, Coby White, Tyler Herro, and maybe I’m missing a guy or two. But it isn’t many. Now, how about the guys who came in with a lot of hype and didn’t live up to it? Well, there was Little, Romeo Langford, Keldon Johnson, Kevin Porter at USC, Jahvon Quinerly, you could go on, and on.
It’s a major transition, even for kids who spent their whole lives playing basketball. It will be that much more for Dante because of his unique background. Not to mention, it’s not even like he has the benefit of playing a whole summer at the college level. He will show up in late August or early September and be expected to acclimate at the college level in time for November. That won’t be easy.
You know what else the reality is on Dante? While he has looked good against his peer group this summer (yes, for everyone in my timeline, I know he won Peach Jam MVP. I also won the Sixth Grade Geography Bee. Who cares?), when he actually played up in competition earlier this spring he struggled. Trust me, I was at the Nike Hoops Summit in April, where Dante went up against an American team featuring James Wiseman, Isaiah Stewart and Vernon Carey (who did only play for a small segment because of injury). And Dante looked like just another guy going against those guys.
Now I know Dante got better over the summer. But I also know that he will be going up against guys just as good as Wiseman and Stewart regularly in college basketball, and sometimes players two, three and four years older. You think those guys care about his credentials? Heck, you think his own teammates, who are fighting for playing time with him care about what he did at the high school level? OF course not.
(As a matter of fact, here is a quick prediction for you: Shakur Juiston, a rugged senior for Oregon will average more points and rebounds this season for the Ducks than Dante does. Not because Dante is a bad player. But because the adjustment to college is REALLY hard)
And finally, as it pertains to Kentucky, as I’ve argued for months, this may be a blessing in disguise. Dante is a true low post (and a good one at that) but one whose skillset doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the pieces that John Calipari has accumulated, for a hyper-athletic, position-less team in 2019-2020. As I’ve said all along, heading into 2019-2020, I like the versatility of Kentucky’s roster. I like how their bigs can do a little bit of everything. I like that Kahlil Whitney and Keion Brooks can be part of small or big lineups. I like that they can play two, three or in some cases even four guards (if you count Johnny Juzang as a guard).
So in the end, I wish N’Faly Dante nothing but luck.
Maybe I’ll be wrong on his impact on college basketball, only time will tell.
But one thing I do know is that Kentucky will move on without him. And be just fine.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 13th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
This afternoon, 2020 five-star center N’Faly Dante may have forced Kentucky’s hand to go small-ball this coming season by committing to the Oregon Ducks over the Wildcats.
With only three scholarship frontcourt players on the roster in EJ Montgomery, Nick Richards, and Nate Sestina, along with Kentucky head coach John Calipari experimenting with Keldon Johnson at the four during the NCAA Tournament last season, it only make sense that freshmen wings Kahlil Whitney and Keion Brooks Jr. are seen as prime candidates to do the same this season.
Oddly enough, this morning, Corey Evans of Rivals.com broke down some of the top performers this past weekend at the Nike Skills Academy and singled out Whitney for the versatility he showed off at the event.
That versatility included spending a solid bit of time at the power forward spot against some of the top players in the nation.
After watching him in action, Evans went as far as to say that Whitney may actually be Kentucky’s best option at the four in 2019-20.
“The Wildcats struck out too many times to recall last year whenever it came to chasing the best post prospects nationally,” he said. “This may have forced the hand of John Calipari going the small ball route, and placing the five best bodies on the court has become the dominant theme in Lexington. Whitney didn’t shoot it great in California, but he was all over the place on the defensive end and was at his best as downhill attacker off of the perimeter. Whitney at the four might not be what he wants to hear right now, but it could also be the game-changing type of move that raises the Wildcats’ ceiling next season.”
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony had similar praise for Whitney, saying the 6-foot-7 forward has “ample strength and length” to thrive at power forward.
“It will be intriguing to see how Whitney is utilized at Kentucky,” Givony wrote. “He has ample strength and length for a power forward, and he likely would benefit from the added spacing of being guarded by slower defenders and surrounded by additional shooting. John Calipari has traditionally used players of Whitney’s mold on the wing, however. That could make for some ugly moments offensively but likely will prove very difficult to score against on the other end of the floor.”
Givony added that Whitney was one of the most impressive players on the very first night of camp,
“Whitney was arguably the most impressive player in the first evening of scrimmages, and though his performance tapered off afterward, he still had an eye-opening weekend,” he said. “Part of that is due to his 207-pound physique, which boasts measurements similar to those of Andre Roberson and Thaddeus Young. Whitney’s athleticism stood out consistently. He put his ahead above the rim on numerous occasions, both finishing lobs and creating shots himself. At this stage, his physical tools are best utilized on the defensive end. He has the strength to put a body on almost any big man, but the length and mobility to slide with perimeter players using rangy strides affords him the type of multipositional versatility NBA teams covet.”
While his defensive skills and instincts are already there, Givony did admit that Whitney remains a work in progress on the offensive end.
“Offensively, Whitney likely will be somewhat of a mixed bag as a freshman,” he said. “His ballhandling skills aren’t very functional in the half-court — he can’t always generate good looks operating out of pick-and-roll or isolation situations — and he had a difficult time bringing the ball up against pressure. He did show flashes of getting low with his dribble and changing speeds powerfully, using his strong frame to get to his spots in the midrange or bouncing off opponents en route to the rim. His jumper is a work in progress. He is capable of throwing in pull-ups inside the arc, but he has a somewhat slow and mechanical release that makes him fairly inconsistent from 3-point range. Nevertheless, his solid mechanics and a bit of touch leave room for optimism.”
While no highlight videos have emerged from Whitney’s time at the Nike Skills Academy, we did get one clip of the Kentucky freshman unleashing his inner dragon.
— Hoop Vibez (@HoopVibes) August 12, 2019
We also got this image of Whitney, who certainly looks the part of a small ball four.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 12th, 2019 @ 3:43pm
John Calipari is currently vacationing in Boston, but when he wakes up from that nap, he may have a few words for his daughter Megan. The youngest Calipari girl just posted this picture of her father sunning by the pool with an A+ caption:
— Megan Calipari (@MeganteCalipari) August 12, 2019
Brad immediately responded with the hashtag #TanMan, the family’s new nickname for Cal that Ellen debuted on Instagram yesterday:
I don’t know which picture is more epic: Cal tanning or Cal pushing his dogs in the stroller.
Either way, I’m all here for the Calipari social media prank wars.
UPDATE: That didn’t take long.
SMH. Can't trust anyone these days. First it was the Princess, now one of my daughters. https://t.co/W0dRaEiBi1
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 12, 2019