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De’Aaron Fox asks team that drafts him to bring a visor, not a hat

De’Aaron Fox has one simple request for whichever team drafts him tonight: bring a visor, not a hat. In an interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated, Fox went into detail about his famous full-volume hairstyle, which is understandably difficult to stuff under a normal hat.

“I can try to squeeze it on,” Fox said of his draft hat. “I need — whoever is trying to draft me needs to make sure they bring a visor so it goes straight through. Even my graduation cap for high school I kind of just sat it on top of my head. I hope it’s a snapback so I can unsnap the whole thing and try to put it on.”

The more Fox thought about it, the more he liked the idea of being the first player in draft history to wear a visor, not a hat.

“Yeah, that would be cool because that would be funny to see my hair go straight through it. If they could do it, I would definitely do it. They should.”

Watch the video of Fox describing his famous hair at the link below. And then check out the amazing Gucci shoes he wore yesterday, which feature Wildcats:

[De’Aaron Fox’s predraft hair routine is wildly impressive]

 


Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington make Calipari’s U19 National Team

Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington make Calipari’s U19 National Team

Congratulations to Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington, who were just named to the USA Basketball U19 National Team, which will compete in the FIBA World Cup in Cairo, Egypt next month. Diallo and Washington were two of the 12 players selected by head coach John Calipari and his staff. The full roster is below:

  • Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky
  • PJ Washington, Kentucky
  • Immanuel Quickley
  • Cameron Reddish
  • Romeo Langford
  • Brandon McCoy, UNLV
  • Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech
  • Payton Pritchard, Oregon
  • Austin Wiley, Auburn
  • Carsen Edwards, Purdue
  • Kevin Huerter, Maryland
  • Louis King

The only UK target not to make the final team is 7’3″ Bol Bol. As we reported earlier, Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox had to withdraw from the team due to a tweaked hamstring.

The FIBA World Cup is July 1-9 in Cairo, Egypt. Check out some sights and sounds from training camp courtesy of USA Basketball below:

 


Barleycorn’s Thursday Top 10: Draft Day is finally here

A message from our friends at Barleycorn’s…

Looking for a place to hang out with other UK fans? Take your family and friends to Barleycorn’s!

Barleycorn’s has over 30 beers on tap, jumbo wings with 10 delicious sauces, sandwiches, salads, and our famous handcrafted burgers!

Barleycorn’s has three locations in Northern Kentucky – Cold Spring, Lakeside Park, and Florence – and is open seven days a week! For hours and information, follow them on Facebook or visit Barleycorns.com.

Get over here!


1. It’s Draft Day

Believe it or not, Draft Day is finally here, meaning that twelve hours from now, we should know the fates of at least three Wildcats. De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo are all expected to go in the first round, Fox and Monk certainly in the lottery. Of the remaining Cats that declared, Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries probably have the best chance of hearing their names in the second round, although that’s a long shot.

2. Where Fox, Monk, and Bam stand in the latest mock drafts

The best part about Draft Day? It’s the last day we have to deal with mock drafts for a while. Here’s where the Cats lie in the major mocks right now:

De’Aaron Fox Malik Monk Bam Adebayo
Draft Express  5. Sacramento  8. New York  18. Indiana
Chad Ford  4. Phoenix  11. Charlotte  17. Milwaukee
Sports Illustrated  5. Sacramento  8. New York  19. Atlanta

This is Jonathan Givony and Chad Ford’s Super Bowl, so expect those to be updated throughout the day as rumors fly.

3. Calipari will be there

Cal is taking a timeout from his head coaching duties in Colorado Springs to fly to New York to be a proud papa for the night. As you might expect, he’s scheduled to spend some time with ESPN’s team of analysts, which includes Rece Davis, Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon, and Jay Bilas. Don’t worry, I’m already preparing a Bingo board so you can keep track of all of the predictable things he’ll say.

4. Watch the Draft with KSR

ESPN’s coverage of the Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET, but that will likely include at least 30 minutes of pre-draft coverage. We’ll start the KSR LIVE BLOG a few minutes before the real action begins. In the meantime, keep refreshing because we’ll have the latest rumors, mocks, pictures, videos, etc. as we continue the countdown.

Speaking of ESPN’s coverage, for some reason, they’ve got Rece Davis reporting from the bathroom at the Barclays Center:

Not sure what that’s all about.

5. Kevin Knox withdraws from the U19 Team

We were all looking forward to watching Kevin Knox play in the FIBA World Cup, but unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Yesterday, Calipari announced that Knox tweaked his hamstring in practice Wednesday morning and will withdraw from the U19 team and return to Lexington. It’ll be a bummer not to be able to see him play this summer, but as Cal pointed out, having him at full strength this fall is much more important.

6. Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington looked great last night

With Knox on his way back to Lexington, all eyes turn to Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington, and last night, the two Cats dominated Team USA’s scrimmage. Yesterday morning, it seemed like Washington might be headed home early too when he sat out practice with a sore back, but he rallied to put up 10 points and 7 rebounds last night. Diallo led all players in the scrimmage with 22 points off 8-10 shooting, 4-5 from the free throw line. Here are some highlights courtesy of Kyle Tucker:

7. Check out the latest OTT Podcast

ICYMI last night, Fake Barney and I fired up the ole podcasting machine to draft the best NBA cities. Citing a fear of natural disasters and murder, Barney drafted Miami, Manhattan, and Los Angeles with his first three picks, which is just as ironic as it sounds. Meanwhile, I took Denver, New Orleans, and Chicago because food and views. If you’re looking for a way to pass the time before the draft, listening to us debate which is better, Cleveland or Detroit, is certainly a way to do it.

While you’re at it, check out the latest Kentucky Thrones Radio podcast, along with the KSR Baseball Podcast and Freddie’s Depth Chart Podcast. All can be found on the KSR Podcast feed on iTunes/Podbay/Sitcher/Itcher/Etcher/Etc. Speaking of…

8. Did you see the latest “Game of Thrones” trailer?

Only 24 more days.

9. Katina Powell will be on “Hey Kentucky!” tonight

Matt tweeted out this sneak peek of their interview, and I must say, kudos to Katina for sporting red and black. Her troll game is strong.

10. KSR is in Henderson

Come on out to the Sleep Outfitters in Henderson to hear Matt, Ryan, and Drew talk about the draft, Matt’s interview with Katina, and Rick Pitino’s ridiculous letter to UofL supporters. Because it really was ridiculous.


Three Dreams Realized: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo’s Paths to the Draft

Three Dreams Realized: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo’s Paths to the Draft

Tomorrow night, at least three Kentucky Wildcats will hear their names called in the NBA Draft, a moment De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo have dreamed of their entire lives. Not only is being drafted the culmination of years of hard work for the players, it’s a testament to the countless sacrifices made by their families.

Every year on the night before the draft, I like to go back and revisit each player’s story to fully appreciate what the moment means. As Kentucky fans, we feel like we know these players better than anyone, but on the eve of the biggest night of their lives, let’s look at the blood, sweat, and tears that got them here.

De’Aaron Fox

Then…

In a way, De’Aaron Fox has his older brother Quentin to thank for getting him into basketball. Quentin is five years his senior and just before De’Aaron turned two, really got into basketball. The family was gathered at his grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving when De’Aaron noticed Quentin playing, and, like many little brothers do, De’Aaron picked up a plastic pumpkin bucket used for trick-or-treating to mimic him.

“It was just hilarious,” Lorraine Fox told Bleacher Report’s Reid Forgrave. “It was like, ‘OK, son, that’s not a basketball.'”

From there, Fox was hooked. He also played football when he was young (it was Texas, after all), but gave it up when he got tired of practicing outside in the unforgiving heat. Fox’s speed is undeniable, but his mind moves just as fast. Like many kids his age, Fox also loved video games, playing NBA2K as early as fourth grade for hours on end. Whereas gaming is often associated with lazy nerds, Fox and those around him credit the countless hours with controller in hand for sharpening his hand-eye coordination, concentration, and analytical thinking on the court.

Now…

Fox is predicted to go anywhere from second to fifth in tomorrow night’s draft, his most likely landing spot being Sacramento at No. 5. In a draft not short on stars, he’s emerged as the media darling thanks to his thoughtful, candid personality. The more Fox talks, the more Kentucky fans miss him. Not only did he tug on our heartstrings with an emotional tribute to his teammates in the locker room after the loss to North Carolina, he’s not afraid to speak his mind when it comes to topics like LaVar Ball. He really endeared himself this afternoon when he said of Kentucky, “We actually go to class, not like some other places.” Oh, snap!

De’Aaron will probably always be the player we wish we had gotten to know better earlier, but he’ll also be one to make us proud for years to come.


Malik Monk

Then…

As the tattoo on his chest will tell you, Malik grew up in “The Woodz,” aka the basketball courts in Lepanto, Arkansas, a tiny town with a population of 1,893. There’s nothing flashy about Lepanto — its poverty rate is more than double the national average — but Malik considers it home, even after his mother decided to move them to Bentonville to be closer to his older brother Marcus and expand his opportunities.

“Escaping Lepanto was always the goal. Malik just did it early,” Ron Crawford, the longtime president of Malik’s AAU team Arkansas Wings Elite, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He would’ve been the hero of the town, but he wasn’t learning anything. I know a lot of people, it hurt their feelings when Malik left, but it changed his life. It changed his life as far as his vision.”

Malik’s vision prompted him to pick Kentucky over Arkansas despite relentless pressure from Razorback fans, who envisioned him following in his brother’s footsteps as a home state hero. But when Malik made his decision, his family stood behind him 100%. So did the Big Blue Nation, his new family.

“Kentucky fans made one thing crystal clear to me: They had my back,” Malik wrote in a letter in The Players’ Tribune. “No one made me wait until the fall, until I got to Lexington, to be accepted into Big Blue Nation. Man, it was just right off the bat: Like, Once you’re one of us, you’re one of us. And whether it was defending me on social media … or sending me messages about how excited they were for me to come play there … or alums getting in touch and letting me know what an amazing experience was in store for me in the fall … it really helped a lot. It helped turn an extremely tough situation into an extremely positive one. And it helped me realize that, just by committing to Kentucky, I was already a part of something special. And I’ll never forget that.”

Now…

Malik proved to be the most electric scorer in college basketball last year, lighting North Carolina up for 47 points back in December. Projected to go anywhere from sixth to eleventh, Malik will be a valuable asset for whichever team picks him, a player that can scorch opponents on almost any night. Most mock drafts have him going to the Knicks at No. 8, and even though New York City is a far cry from “The Woodz,” all you have to do is take one look at that tattoo to remember what got him there.


Bam Adebayo

Then…

Bam’s story has always centered around his mother, Marilyn. When Bam was seven, Marilyn moved them from the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey to the backwoods of North Carolina where she grew up. The two stayed with Marilyn’s sister until she got a job as a cashier at the Acre Station Meat Farm in Pinetown. Bam and Marilyn moved into a trailer nearby, and while she worked long hours, he played basketball. Bam was always a big kid — by now you know he earned his nickname by turning over a coffee table when he was one year old — but by age 13, he was already 6’6″. As Bam continued to draw attention for his size and power, his mother worked even harder to make sure he had what he needed.

“She fought for us,” Adebayo told Sports Illustrated’s Brian Hamilton. “She made it happen. She made it work. . . . Growing up in a trailer, you think everything you get is good. I always thought it was a gift from God, because some people are out here struggling and on the street. We had warmth. We had clothes. We had a roof over our head.”

There was no greater joy this season than watching Bam’s mother watch her son play. Marilyn, decked out in her custom “Yabba Dabba Blue” shirt, lit up every time Bam had the ball, and when there was a bad call, she made everyone in the stands aware. Who could forget her reaction to Kentucky’s win over Wichita State, in which her son “shut up” the Shockers’ Darral Willis, Jr., who had talked trash about Bam the day before:

Now…

Projected as a late first round/early second round pick a few months ago, Bam went home to North Carolina to think about his decision. After consulting with his mother and family members, he decided to keep his name in the draft. Now, after impressing teams with his shooting, he’s projected to go anywhere from the late lottery to the mid-20’s. Most mocks have him going to Indiana at No. 18 or Portland at No. 20, but after a recent workout with the Hornets, there were rumblings that Charlotte may be interested in taking him at No. 11. I think the folks in Pinetown would be pretty happy with that.

No matter the scenario, can you imagine a better “thank you” than the hug Bam will give his mother once his name is called tomorrow night?


Diallo Dominates Team USA Scrimmage

@USABasketball

There was one less Wildcat on the court after Kevin Knox left training camp with a tweaked hamstring, but it didn’t prevent the others from dominating the field.

Hamidou Diallo made 8-of-10 field goals to score 22 points in Team USA’s first scrimmage.  Most of those came in only 12 minutes and in a variety of forms.  Tonight his preferred method of scoring was the “And One.”

John Calipari was pleased with the play from both of his players, especially Diallo.  Knox and P.J. Washington are often praised for their versatility, but don’t sleep on Hami.

“He’s playing the one, the two, the three, that’s what he is.  He can play any of those positions,” Cal told reporters after practice.  “You see him around the rim.  You saw we posted him.  There’s a lot of stuff we can do with him.”

His other Wildcat teammate wasn’t too shabby either.  Questionable to return after tweaking his back in the morning session, Washington put together a complete performance with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

For more content from Colorado Springs, Kyle Tucker has you covered.

 


Malik Monk tells Finebaum: “I don’t think there is a better place than Kentucky.”

Malik Monk tells Finebaum: “I don’t think there is a better place than Kentucky.”

Malik Monk wrapped up his pre-NBA Draft media blitz by making an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show.  Monk’s already dished out a few compliments for the Cats today, but he saved the best for last.

“I don’t think there is a better place than Kentucky,” Monk said.  “The experience was great.  The best experience of my life so far, of course.  I learned a lot there.  I learned a lot about the NBA.  We basically were the NBA of college, the NBA team of college basketball.”

A quote that can be used as a recruiting pitch for John Calipari, he also shared Cal’s recruiting pitch.  It’s pretty simple; Cal tells it like it is.

“Whatever he tells you when he comes to your house for in-home visits, or however he recruits you, that’s exactly how it’s going to be.”

The appeal of Kentucky drew him away from his home state of Arkansas.  The younger brother of a Razorback legend, Marcus Monk, Arkansas fans did not hide their hate for Monk once he committed to Kentucky.  The criticism does not bother him.

“If they stay mad their whole life I can’t do nothin about that.  I’m going to continue to be Malik Monk and focus on my future,” Monk said.  “I know the Arkansas fans are being loyal to Arkansas so there’s no hard feelings.”

There were a few other noteworthy media appearances throughout the day.  For The Crossover, Monk selected a starting five of former Wildcats to take on the Golden State Warriors.  You’ll be surprised to see who he initially left off his list.

If you want to hear more from Monk, he previewed the NBA Draft for 30 minutes on the Hang Time Podcast.


Three former Wildcats join many others with Nike

Nike has three new Kentucky Wildcats to represent the swoosh now that UK’s top three NBA draft entrants have signed with the brand.

Darren Rovell reported De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo all signed their first shoe contracts with Nike. We told you about Adebayo’s deal last week, but I think this is the first we’ve heard of Fox and Monk joining the team.

Other NBA Wildcats with Nike sponsorships include DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson and Julius Randle, among others.

Jamal Murray and Brandon Knight are the lone Adidas endorsers, while John Wall remains a free agent in the shoe game.


P.J. Washington injured in USA training camp

First it was Kevin Knox, now it is P.J. Washington who has gone down to injury at the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team training camp in Colorado.

According to Kyle Tucker, who made a special guest appearance on this morning’s show, Washington “vanished” from the floor before the team’s Wednesday morning practice. He has since reappeared and was spotted courtside with a trainer  working out his left leg:

Hot take here: With Knox and Washington both dealing with minor injuries, any chance this is their out to avoid the trip to Egypt?

I’ll hang up and listen.

And hopefully neither injury will linger on into the summer.

 

UPDATE

Washington told Fletcher Page his lower back got tight in shooting drills and he probably won’t practice tonight.

https://twitter.com/FletcherPage/status/877592495709863936


Malik Monk says go to Kentucky if you want to go to the NBA

The good people over at Sports Illustrated shared an interview one of its NBA writers, Andrew Sharp, had with Malik Monk recently as Monk gets ready for the draft.

Monk’s responses were short and sweet (if you heard his interview with KSR, you know he’s not a big talker) but he dropped some nice lines in there about his time at Kentucky, his relationship with other Wildcats, playing for John Calipari, what he expects in the NBA, wearing JCPenney, and more.

Maybe the best of Monk’s quotes came when he was asked about his one year at UK, to which he said, “If you want to go to the NBA and you want a career as a basketball player, if you’re getting recruited by Kentucky, go there.”

I’m also a fan of his answer when asked who he patterns his game after: “Malik Monk.”

For more from Monk, including Trump vs. LaVar Ball and Twitter vs. Instagram, check out SI.com’s Q&A here.


Kevin Knox pulls out of USA training camp with minor injury

Kevin Knox is on his way back to Lexington, his head coach, John Calipari, announced Wednesday morning.

According to Calipari, Knox tweaked his hamstring out in Colorado, so he is pulling out of training camp and going back to UK to rest up; therefore he will not be on the U19 World Cup team.

“My suggestion was that he go back to Lexington to rest it and focus on class, which he is,” Cal tweeted. “But he was great this week at USA Basketball training camp. Proud of him.”


VIDEO: Portrait time at the NBA Draft for Monk and Fox

VIDEO: Portrait time at the NBA Draft for Monk and Fox

While you and I are chugging coffee and trying to overcome another Wednesday morning, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk are taking their portraits for tomorrow night’s NBA draft.

The draft’s Twitter account shared some behind-the-scenes shots of the Wildcats’ photoshoot this morning and it looks like they’re having lots of fun today, the last day before they become millionaires.


The Top 10 NBA Draft Moments of the Calipari Era

The Top 10 NBA Draft Moments of the Calipari Era

On June 24, 2010, five Kentucky players were drafted in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft, a night Calipari dubbed the greatest in the history of Kentucky Basketball. That statement raised plenty of eyebrows at the time, and seven years later, it continues to rub some fans the wrong way; however, there’s no denying that the draft has taken on a whole new meaning in the Calipari era. Over seven seasons, Kentucky has produced 28 NBA Draft picks, more than double any other school. All 18 of Kentucky’s one-and-done players have been drafted in the first round. The milestones continue to mount: three number one picks (all freshmen), the first and second picks in 2012, fourteen lottery picks, four players in the lottery in 2015. When you sit back and reflect on it all, in less than a decade, Calipari has put more players in the league than most programs will in their entire existence.

With three more players expected to join the ranks on Thursday night in De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the best draft moments since Cal came on board. There are certainly plenty to choose from.

In chronological order…

2010: John Wall goes #1

Wall was Kentucky’s first ever #1 draft pick, a fitting end to the program’s meteoric rise from the ashes in Cal’s first year. Wall was a huge part of making Kentucky Basketball cool again, and when his name was called first, you couldn’t help but swell with pride.


2010: Five players drafted in the first round

After Wall went #1, the night just got better. DeMarcus Cousins was drafted 5th by the Kings, Patrick Patterson 14th by the Rockets, Eric Bledsoe 18th by the Thunder/Clippers, and Daniel Orton 29th by the Magic. That’s five players in the first round, which, of course, was an NBA record. Watch all five picks below:


2011: Jorts and DeAndre Liggins drafted

Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter being drafted wasn’t surprising, but the Big Blue Nation jumped for joy when Josh Harrellson’s name was called at #45. Through a trade with New Orleans, Jorts became a New York Knick, proving to boys and girls around the world that with a lot of hard work and some serious denim, anything is possible. Another cool moment came minutes later when DeAndre Liggins was drafted 53rd by the Orlando Magic. Under Calipari, Liggins found his role as a lockdown defender and left school early due to his family’s financial situation. After some ups and downs, he continues to find opportunities thanks to his hard-nosed defense, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, and now, the Dallas Mavericks.


2012: Anthony Davis and MKG go 1-2

Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went 1-2 in the 2012 NBA Draft, the first time in draft history two players from the same school have done so. Everyone knew Anthony Davis would go first, but MKG was a bit of a surprise at #2, making the shock and emotion on his face once his name was called even more moving:


2012: Six players drafted

Six Kentucky players ended up being selected in the 2012 Draft, the most from one school in NBA history. Sadly, Darius Miller didn’t make the photoshoot above, but his selection at #46 by New Orleans was heartwarming in its own right.


2013: Nerlens Noel’s suit

It was tough to see Nerlens, the projected number one pick, slide to sixth, but he took it in stride, proudly showing off the Kentucky jersey sewn inside of his jacket lining when his name was called by the New Orleans Pelicans. For a brief moment, fans rejoiced at the thought of Nerlens and Anthony Davis teaming up to make Nola Block City, but the Pelicans quickly traded Nerlens to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday. Unfortunately, Nerlens never really clicked in Philly, but now he’s getting a fresh start with the Dallas Mavericks.

Speaking of Nerlens, this GIF of him waving at the camera at the 2013 Draft Lottery is still a classic:


2014: Julius Randle vows to make teams that passed on him regret it

Amid rumors about his foot, Randle slipped to the Los Angeles Lakers at seventh, and afterwards, vowed to make the six teams that passed on him regret it; with the exception of Cleveland (who traded #1 pick Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota), Milwaukee (#2 – Jabari Parker), and Philly (#3 – Joel Embiid), I’m sure they do.


2015: Karl Towns goes #1

By 2015, two Kentucky players had been picked first in the draft in John Wall and Anthony Davis. That didn’t make it any less awesome when Karl Towns heard his name called first on draft night. The months following Kentucky’s loss to Wisconsin weren’t easy for Cats fans, but watching one of the program’s most likable players go first was a sweet, sweet moment. Even Karlito got to come:

Counting Karl, Calipari has coached four number one draft picks, twice as many as any other coach.


2015: Four players drafted in the lottery

Six Cats were drafted in 2012, tying the record Kentucky set back in 2012. The program made more history with four lottery picks: Karl Towns at #1, Willie Cauley-Stein at #6, Trey Lyles at #12, and Devin Booker at #13. The only downside to the 2015 Draft was Aaron Harrison not hearing his name called, but by the next morning, word broke that Aaron had signed with the Charlotte Hornets, making it an incredibly sweet night for the program.


2016: Tyler Ulis reunites with Devin Booker

The 2016 Draft wasn’t the most memorable, but one sweet moment came when Tyler Ulis finally heard his name called at #34 by the Phoenix Suns. Ulis slid out of the first round after rumors circulated about a hip injury, but teaming up with his best friend Devin Booker was a great consolation prize. The video of his family’s reaction is still one of my favorites.


BONUS: Joel Embiid’s non-reaction in 2014

This has nothing to do with Kentucky, but I can’t think of the draft without thinking of it. Due to a delay in the broadcast, ESPN’s cameras failed to capture Joel Embiid’s reaction in real time, producing one of the most awkward videos in draft history. That’s probably one reason why Embiid’s reaction to Philly’s draw in this year’s draft lottery was so exaggerated:

Either that or he’s just a goofball. Probably just that.


Calipari Dishes on Diallo’s Decision, P.J. Washington and More at Team USA Training Camp

@USABasketball

The big story from John Calipari’s time as Team USA’s FIBA U19 head coach are the seemingly endless advantages to this opportunity.  A topic once again today, to nobody’s surprise Calipari said he enjoys getting to coach three of his players in June.

“You get a chance to see and learn about your guys before the season starts, which is pretty good,” Calipari told reporters following day three at Team USA Training Camp in Colorado Springs.  “It’s good, just the challenge of it is — I have to be patient.”

It paid off today.  P.J. Washington struggled on the first day of camp.  Stuck playing like a traditional power forward, Calipari wanted to see him do what he recruited him to do: play position-less basketball.

“You think about how we play and how the game where it’s going; we’re position-less.  Play basketball.  Take somebody on the bounce,” he told P.J.  “Get in the lane.  Don’t short-dribble and spin, it doesn’t work.  It might’ve worked in high school, it doesn’t work in college.  It doesn’t work anywhere.  You gotta get by people.  Shoot jump shots.  Go play.”

John Calipari also shared what he told Hamidou Diallo on the day he decided to stay at Kentucky instead of head to the NBA Draft.  They spoke three times, and Cal made sure to point out that Diallo called him twice.

“If there was somebody who would’ve committed to us earlier, he would’ve gone.”  Cal told Hami: “I’m with you, whatever you want to do, but the later you are in that first round or second round, you take all the risk and they take none.

Now Cal is making sure Diallo uses this year to make sure he’s ready to make a big jump into the draft.  So far, Diallo is doing everything Calipari asks.

“He’s got work to do,” Cal said.  “He’s not a finished product and that’s why I love the fact he’s here.  I walk in, he’s out there early working on stuff.”

It appears to be working for his jump shot.  This is one of many Hami hit from long range today.

Cal didn’t spend much time talking about his recruits, but he did briefly mention Bol Bol.  “The first day was ridiculous.  He got a little winded, but he was still good, and I thought this morning he was good. ”

The following USA Basketball video was supposed to feature Cal’s thoughts on his cuts, but I can’t stop watching Bol’s ability to effortlessly dunk.


The Louisville scandal won’t affect Romeo Langford’s decision

Louisville’s troubled history of turning its men’s basketball dormitory into a whorehouse will not weigh on Romeo Langford’s final college decision.

Langford told Ben Roberts he wasn’t surprised by last week’s NCAA sanctions because everyone knew it was coming, and that he loves Rick Pitino for the way he uses his guards and develops his players. (Note: Someone should tell Romeo that Rick is slow to develop players.)

The five-star guard also said he plans to trim his list at the end of the summer. He aims to narrow that list to seven schools and there are no leaders at this stage of his recruitment.

As for Kentucky, Langford told Roberts, “Coach Calipari, everybody knows him, big time coach. I just like the way he develops his players. He gets his players where they want to go.”

For more on Langford’s recruitment, read Roberts’ story from Colorado here. He has been one of the stars at U19 training camp so far.


Bucks impressed by Dominique Hawkins

Dominique Hawkins worked out with the Bucks on Monday and he caught the eye of the organization’s VP of scouting, Billy McKinney, while in Milwaukee.

Alec Lewis of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel fame tweeted, “Milwaukee Bucks VP scouting Billy McKinney said he was very impressed with #BBN’s Dominique Hawkins, who worked out with the team today.”

It’s still unlikely Dom will hear his name called at any point Thursday night, but catching the eye of people like Billy McKinney will go a long way in landing a spot in the summer league, where he can further prove himself against other hopefuls like himself. He’s also shown out in front of organizations like the Lakers, Bulls, Kings and Pacers, among others.

Go Dom.