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LIVE: Kentucky’s returning players talk to the media

LIVE: Kentucky’s returning players talk to the media

Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery are about to meet with the media to discuss their decisions to return to Kentucky, the satellite camps across the state, and what they think of the newcomers so far. Watch live below via Facebook Live:

2019-20 Kentucky returning players speak to the media

Posted by Kentucky Sports Radio on Friday, June 7, 2019

 


Former McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown will transfer to Arizona

We finally have our answer regarding former McDonald’s All-American and Nevada transfer Jordan Brown.

Today, the 6-foot-11 forward announced on Twitter that he would be transferring to Arizona

In an interview with Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Brown said that his recent visit to Arizona put the Wildcats over the top.

“Some of the things I really liked about my time up there, was building a relationship with coach [Sean] Miller and the rest of the staff,” Brown said. “The weather out there was nice. I like the way he plays, and the freedom that he gives his bigs in the post and away from the post.”

He also added that he liked how close Arizona was to his hometown of Napa, CA and that his friends and family could now come visit and watch his games for the rest of his college career.

“It’s not too far from home, and is a good distance if my family and friends want to come up and make it to some games,” he added. “One thing I really noticed is Sean Miller’s passion for the game and just the drive that he has. I feel like it matches mine.”

Kentucky was involved early in the recruiting process and sources told KSR that Brown had significant interest in the program, but things went fairly quiet for several weeks. Brown made visits to Saint Mary’s and Arizona State, and there were also rumors that UK could also soon get a visit, but the former five-star prospect opted for Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats instead.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Brown will have to sit out a year before having three more years of eligibility.


Brad Calipari will officially visit Hartford next week

Last week, Kentucky walk-on guard Brad Calipari turned the college basketball world on its head by putting his name in the transfer portal.

Tonight, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports is reporting that the 6-foot-0 guard will take an official visit to Hartford starting next week.

Coached by John Gallagher, the Hartford Hawks play in the America East Conference at the Division I school level. In the 2018-19 season, Hartford finished with a final record of 18-15, including 10-6 in conference play.

On Tuesday, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said his son was still weighing his options, but acknowledged that he was absolutely looking for more playing time.

“He’s still walking through it,” Coach Cal said. “Do you blame him? All the work — he was in here three times yesterday working out. Do you blame him for wanting to play more and knowing who’s here? Has he gotten better? Absolutely he’s gotten better. But he’s, you know. So now he can look around.”

At the time, Calipari said he told his son that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider the Division II level, but also wouldn’t rule out a return for the redshirt sophomore.

“I even told him, look at Division II. What’s wrong with that? Where you’re well-coached, where you get a chance, a good league,” he said. “Division II basketball, they’re just a little smaller but you’ve got talented guys. He may end up coming back. He’s in the lodge and all the stuff and in classes. He may come back.”

As much as Calipari would love for Brad to return to school, he understands that he wants an opportunity to make a name for himself on the basketball floor. After seeing the countless hours he has put in at the Joe Craft Center, the Kentucky head coach says his son deserves that chance.

“The ideal thing would be for him to have more of an opportunity here,” he said. “I just — I’d love to do it but that’s my own son. Has to be earned and you have to deserve it.”

Will Brad find his new home in West Hartford, Connecticut?


Add more schools to the list for Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.

(Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

What was once considered a four-team race for Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. may now be an eight-team one.

According to college basketball insider Jeff Goodman, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Gonzaga may now in the mix for the 6-foot-11 forward, joining Florida, Kentucky, and Texas A&M, along with a potential return to Virginia Tech also on the table.

Blackshear Jr. visited Florida today, and though it has not been confirmed quite yet, it is widely expected that Kentucky receives a visit, as well.

Last season at Virginia Tech, Blackshear averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 29.9 minutes per game.

The 6-foot-11 big man announced he would be exploring his transfer options after withdrawing from the NBA Draft on May 29.


Kentucky will play Georgetown College, Kentucky State in exhibitions

Get out your calendars because Kentucky just released the exhibition schedule for the 2019-20 season.

The Cats will host Georgetown College on Sunday, October 27 at 5 p.m. and Kentucky State on Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m. Both games will take place at Rupp Arena and be televised on the SEC Network. Additionally, UK announced that Big Blue Madness will take place Friday, October 11 at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network and the Blue-White Game will be Friday, October 18 at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Here’s the schedule as we know it:

Friday, October 11 Big Blue Madness Rupp Arena Lexington, KY SEC Network
Friday, October 18 Blue-White Game Rupp Arena Lexington, KY SEC Network
Sunday, October 27 Georgetown College Rupp Arena Lexington, KY SEC Network
Friday, November 1 Kentucky State Rupp Arena Lexington, KY SEC Network
Tuesday, November 5 Michigan State (Champions Classic) Madison Square Garden New York, NY ESPN
Friday, November 8 Eastern Kentucky Rupp Arena Lexington, KY TBD
Tuesday, November 12 Evansville Rupp Arena Lexington, KY TBD
Wednesday, December 18 Utah T-Mobile Arena Las Vegas, NV TBD
Saturday, December 21 Ohio State (CBS Sports Classic) T-Mobile Arena Las Vegas, NV CBS

Kentucky has played both Georgetown College and Kentucky State before. The Cats are 2-0 in exhibition games vs. Georgetown College with the most recent meeting taking place Nov. 9, 2014. Kentucky beat Kentucky State in their lone exhibition meeting on Nov. 6, 2015 and played them once in the regular season back in Dec. 15, 2001, winning 118-63.

Of course, Georgetown College is coming off its third NAIA Division I national championship last season. The Tigers have appeared in three NAIA national championship games under current head coach and two-time NAIA Coach of the Year Chris Briggs, who is a former student manager of the Wildcat program from 2001-04 and a graduate assistant from 2004-06.

Go Cats. Go in-state exhibitions.


Kerry Blackshear Jr. will take an official visit to Florida

Glenn Beil | USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. has chosen his first official visit, but it won’t be to Kentucky.

According to Corey Evans of Rivals.com, the 6-foot-11 forward will be visiting Florida starting tomorrow.

Blackshear, an Orlando, FL native, is rumored to have interest in Florida, Kentucky, Texas A&M as a transfer, along with the possibility of returning to Virginia Tech next season.

Following his trip to Gainesville, Kentucky is widely expected to also receive a visit from the former Second-Team All-ACC forward.

Let’s hope Blackshear Jr. is big on final impressions…


College basketball going international with 3-point line

College basketball going international with 3-point line

College basketball will scoot its shooters back almost a foot and a half for that extra point. Beginning this upcoming season, the college 3-point line will match that of international basketball, moving from 20 feet, nine inches, to 22 feet, 1¾ inches.

Yesterday, Coach Cal had this to say about the potential change: “The 3-point line going back, well, it’ll open up the lane maybe. I mean, I don’t know. The idea may be that they want everybody on the same plane from FIBA to whatever. That may be the reason. Either way it doesn’t matter to me, but there are other things that I think would be important.”

The NCAA also approved a change to the shot clock on Wednesday. It will now reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound, in hopes of speeding up pace of play.

Coaches will be excited to know they can call live-ball timeouts in the final two minutes of games too.

For more on the changes, check out the NCAA’s release here.


Top 2020 Prospect Cade Cunningham Talks Recruitment, Interest in Kentucky

To say last week served as a busy few days for Cade Cunningham, one of the top high school basketball prospects in the class of 2020, would be an understatement.

The 6’7 wing who is originally from Texas and played at Montverde Academy last year, just finished up school last Wednesday. He then flew back to Texas for a single night, before coming to Los Angeles for last weekend’s Pangos All-American Camp, where he competed against a slew of the best prospects in high school basketball. That included some of the top prospects in the class of 2020 (including a couple Kentucky targets) like Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, Isaiah Todd and Dashien Nix, as well as some of the top players in the class of 2021, including Terrence Clarke, Paolo Banchero and others.

Yet despite the quick turnaround from finishing finals to one of the most competitive All-American camps in the country, Cunningham was taking it all in stride when he spoke to Kentucky Sports Radio on Friday night.

“It’s just good to be out for the summer,” Cunningham said with a smile. “Great to be here.”

It certainly appeared that way over the weekend, as Cunningham thrived against the elite competition at Pangos. Cunningham ended up winning Co-MVP of the event, as he showed off a versatile offensive game and ability to score from all three levels on the court, in addition to innate passing ability and court awareness. In the process, his play also solidified a quickly growing narrative on Cunningham: Even though he is ranked among the Top 10 prospects nationally, many recruiting analysts believe Cunningham is actually under-valued in some of their recruiting rankings. The hot talk right now is that if Cunningham continues on this upward trajectory throughout the summer, he will be ranked in the Top 5 by the end of the summer, and potentially as high as No. 2 behind Mobley, a center from California.

In terms of his recruitment, Cunningham recently cut his list down to a final 10 schools. He told KSR that he did that because he thought it was unfair to lead on schools that he had no interest in, and didn’t want to be “disrespectful” to coaches or waste their time.

With those 10 schools Cunningham claims he has no leader, although most recruiting experts seem to believe that while it’s early, Oklahoma State is in the driver’s seat. Which leads to the question most fans are asking: With offers from schools like Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas, what is it about Oklahoma State that has them at the top of Cunningham’s list? The answer is simple: Loyalty.

“Coach [Mike] Boynton, he was the first coach to offer me when he was an assistant,” said of Boynton, who is now the Cowboys’ head coach. “So we’ve had a good connection, relationship since then.”

Most experts believe that right behind Oklahoma State is Kentucky, the blue blood of all blue bloods. Cunningham has long been an admirer of Kentucky’s, dating all the way back to the John Wall, “One and Fun” days of 2010.

“That’s the first team I remember,” Cunningham said of his history with Kentucky.

For the Wildcats, the biggest sell remains that Kentucky is a pathway to the NBA. The staff itself has sold Cunningham that he could have a similar impact as Keldon Johnson, who just completed his freshman season and may end up as a lottery pick this spring.

“Coach Cal is great,” he said. “It’s hard not to take a look at that track record and take them seriously.”

Again however, it’s early and Cunningham went on to admit that a lot of other big-time schools are in the mix. He said that he likes Florida because one of his best friends, Omar Payne (another Montverde product) recently enrolled there. He added that Washington head coach Mike Hopkins is a “genuine guy” and the two hit it off right away. Cunningham also described Texas as “the home state school.”

But again, it’s early and don’t look for much movement in Cunningham’s recruitment for a bit.

For those looking to catch Cunningham in action, he is one of 34 players who was invited to try out for the Team USA U-19 team which will compete in Greece later this summer. Training camp will take place June 15th through 18th, with games tipping off on June 24th.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Is Marquis Teague the Cal Guy Who Could Have Used a 2nd Year Most?

(Joe Murphy / NBAE / Getty Images)

I think fans were in agreement that if Nick Richards or EJ Montgomery had left UK this offseason, they would be taking a huge risk and the odds would be they would have flamed out in the NBA.  Luckily, they decided to return and avoid that possibility for now.  But it also got me thinking about the multitude of guys who didn’t make that decision and one guy always comes to mind: Marquis Teague.  In 2 seasons on 2 different teams, Teague played in 88 NBA games, starting just 3 of them.  He averaged 2.3 ppg and 1.4 apg in his career.  All told, Teague is one of the few UK guys under Calipari that have had no success in the NBA.  But did he make the biggest mistake of all the players who left early in these 10 years?  It probably all depends on what you consider successful.

On the one hand, Teague did make 2.1 million dollars in those 2 years.  There is never FAILURE when you make that much money.  But at the same time, you have to wonder if another year of college would have improved Teague’s draft stock, thus garnering him more money in his initial rookie contract, likely putting him on a worse team and thus giving him more playing time earlier.  Plus, the point guard class in the following NBA Draft (2013) was not exactly strong.  The first point guard taken was 9th and that was Trey Burke.  CJ McCollum and Michael Carter-Williams followed right after.  Shane Larkin was taken just outside of the lottery.  If Teague had stayed for the 2012-13 college season, he would have likely flirted with the lottery.  Because let’s not forget what a train wreck that team was, with Ryan Harrow running the point.  But for Teague that would have meant more of a chance to truly lead an offense, something he didn’t get a chance to do in 2011-12.

I think very few people could argue that Marquis Teague couldn’t have used another year of college ball.  But was his early departure the worst decision of the Cal era?  I would think that along with Teague there are really only 2 other options: Daniel Orton and Jared Vanderbilt.  For Orton, I think a good argument can be made he is answer here.  I wouldn’t agree though for 2 reasons.  First, his relationship with Calipari has been said to have been fairly poor.  Continuing that relationship could have been toxic for everybody involved.  But secondly and most importantly, the NBA loves big men.  The fact Daniel Orton was taken in the 1st round of the draft after the freshman year he had at Kentucky proves that more than ever.  And despite the fact he hasn’t made any impact in the league, he did stay on a roster through this season, racking up 2.8 million in earnings in the process.  He was able to stay in the NBA 2 years longer than Teague despite being a worse player.  That tells you all you need to know about how much the NBA loves centers.  The jury is still out on what kind of impact Jared Vanderbilt might make in the NBA but his departure left many UK fans sour.

It’a hard to feel bad for a guy that is a millionaire.  But I feel bad for Marquis Teague.  He won a national title in 1 year as the starter, saw his entire team leave for the NBA and bolted with them.  And that is why he came to Kentucky in the first place was for 1 season of college basketball.  But in retrospect, Teague would have benefited so much from an extra year of college more than any other player in the Calipari era.