By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 07th, 2018 @ 9:59pm
Step aside for the night, Sydney McLaughlin. Kentucky’s Tim Duckworth won the men’s decathlon at the NCAA Championships tonight with 8,336 points, the fifth best score in meet history. He’s just the second man in NCAA history to win the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon in the same year.
The decathlon is the ultimate test of strength and stamina. Over two days, athletes must complete the 100-meter sprint, 110-meter hurdles, 400 meters, 1,500 meters, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus throw, javelin throw and pole vault.
Some footage of his performances:
— UK Track & Field (@KentuckyTrack) June 7, 2018
— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) June 7, 2018
We found out Kentucky’s conference opponents for the 2018-19 season yesterday, and although we don’t know the dates of each game yet, we’re gonna do what we do and rank them from hardest to easiest.
After examining the list, let me tell you, it is one tough slate.
1. at Tennessee
Not only has Kentucky lost their last four games at Thompson-Boling Arena, the Vols are ranked as high as third in some preseason lists. With their top six scorers back, including Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, Rick Barnes’ squad will once again be a formidable foe.
2. at Auburn
Similarly, Kentucky’s lost at Auburn the last two seasons. Mustapha Heron may be transferring but Bryce Brown and Jared Harper will be back, along with Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, who had to sit out last season due to the FBI investigation.
The Vols’ win in Rupp Arena last season proved they are no longer scared of the Cats; however, I am scared of them.
4. at Mississippi State
This is not your typical Mississippi State team. Ben Howland has his top six scorers back, including the Weatherspoon brothers, and a Top 25 recruiting class coming in. The Bulldogs are a preseason top 15 team according to CBS Sports and NBC Sports, and the Hump will be rocking.
Bruce Pearl is desperate to win in Rupp Arena. The Tigers didn’t come to Lexington last season, so this could be his best shot.
6. at Florida
Chorizo Chiozza is gone, but Jalen Hudson and Kevaughn Allen aren’t, and the O’Dome is a notoriously tough place to play; in fact, Kentucky’s lost there the last two years.
7. at Vanderbilt
Five-star freshmen Simi Shittu and Darius Garland won’t make Vanderbilt a title contender, but they could help them knock off Kentucky in that bizarre ass gym.
Kentucky was lucky to leave Baton Rouge with a win last year; this year’s game may be in Rupp, but a sophomore Tremont Waters is scary and he’ll be joined by five-stars Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams, along with Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams. If this game was at LSU, Kentucky would lose.
9. Mississippi State
I think Kentucky splits the series with Mississippi State. Obviously, this is the easier one to win.
10. at Alabama
Collin Sexton is off to the NBA, but Alabama has everyone else back and adds Tevin Mack, a transfer from Texas. Avery Johnson will do everything in his power to make sure Coleman Coliseum is packed and loud when the Cats come to town.
Florida was one of two SEC teams to beat Kentucky in Rupp last year and they did it while shooting an uncharacteristic 20% from three. Who knows what the Gators will be like without Chiozza, but they won’t be scared of the bright lights at Rupp.
12. at Missouri
Kentucky lost at Missouri last year by nine points; the Tigers lost a lot of players and only have two point guards — one a true freshman — but they do have Jontay Porter, the SEC’s co-Sixth Man of the Year, back from the NBA Draft.
13. at Georgia
Tom Crean has a heck of a rebuilding project ahead of him, but what better way to make a splash in your first year than beating Kentucky? With former Georgia commit Ashton Hagans and fellow in-state star EJ Montgomery coming to town wearing Kentucky blue, the crowd at Stegeman Coliseum could get nasty.
Both Darius Garland and Simi Shittu were recruited by Kentucky; they will be eager to prove themselves at Rupp.
I don’t think there’s anything Mike Anderson wants more in this world than to beat John Calipari…except maybe another pocket square.
16. at Ole Miss
Kermit Davis takes over for Andy Kennedy — let me pour one out for my homie — and has his work cut out for him, but at least the Rebel Black Bear Land Sharks got Terence Davis back from the draft.
17. South Carolina
Why did we lose at South Carolina last year again? Oh yeah, because Chris Silva scored a career-high 27 points. He’s back, but this game’s at Rupp, so I’m not concerned.
18. Texas A&M
Robert Williams, Tyler Davis, and DJ Hogg are all off to the NBA, making the Aggies a shell of their former selves. Admon Gilder’s still there, but not even Billy Kennedy can coach a team that returns two of its top eight scorers to a win at Rupp.
Let’s hear your predictions for Kentucky’s conference record next season.
By TJ Walker on ©June 07th, 2018 @ 11:57am
Kentucky target Scottie Lewis had something interesting quotes about UK’s basketball program that will surely rub some folks the wrong way.
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound shooting guard from New Jersey isn’t nearing a decision, but what he said about Kentucky was somewhat bittersweet.
“That is Kentucky. If I choose to be one of those players that is a one-and-done, basketball only type of guy, Kentucky is definitely the school that I will be headed to. All of the schools we have talked about, they will hopefully be in that list of schools that I get down to once I make a cut list, but they are always texting me and giving me pointers about what I can do better.”
So, on the one hand Lewis sees a window where he ends up in Lexington, but on the other hand that certainly seems like the words of a college coach negatively recruiting against UK.
John Calipari isn’t shy about wanting to turn kids into pros as soon as possible, so he won’t have any issues with recruits boasting about UK’s one-and-done success, but there seems to be something off-putting about saying UK players are basketball only type of guys.
Is that to say UK players aren’t students? Regular college kids? I’m not sure, and it’s probably smart to not read too much into the quotes, but it’s clear the Cats are still an option.
Lewis also talks about Villanova, St. John’s, Duke, Florida, Stanford and Notre Dame. Clearly with that list it would appear that academics will be a factor for Lewis. Lewis’ AAU and high school teammate, Bryan Antoine , is also considering UK, but Lewis did only mention Duke as a school they both could play together.
Duke is considered to be the leader for Antoine.
My guess is he doesn’t end up at UK, but the Cats may have a logjam at the guard position for 2019-2020.
Remember, UK will have 2019 guard Kira Lewis Jr. on campus this weekend.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 06th, 2018 @ 8:10pm
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the NCAA did something today that proved its incompetency.
Well, it was more what they DIDN’T do, but you get the point.
Oklahoma quarterback and dual-sport athlete Kyler Murray was selected No. 9 overall by the Oakland Athletics in the MLB Draft on Monday night. Oklahoma baseball coach Skip Johnson said Murray has MLB All-Star potential, with skills similar to star outfielder Andrew McCutchen. ESPN college baseball analyst Kyle Peterson said Murray has the potential to eventually become “a premier defender in center field because he has the speed most people don’t have.” He’s a star.
Considered the favorite for the starting quarterback job in Oklahoma to replace No. 1 overall pick and Heisman-winner Baker Mayfield, it’s obvious Murray has a tough choice to make, right? College football or MLB?
Actually, that decision won’t be too difficult, as Murray will be allowed to do both for a full season.
According to NCAA rules, athletes are allowed to play professional baseball (and make money doing so), all while maintaining amateur status in football. All Murray will have to do is keep contracts and agent conversations baseball-specific and avoid endorsement deals, and he will be able to retain his college football eligibility. We saw Russell Wilson do something similar in the past, though he was selected in the fourth round, not the top-ten.
This afternoon, Murray agreed to a deal with the A’s that guarantees him close to $5 million as a college athlete.
Kyler Murray and the A's have a deal that guarantees him close to $5M and allows him to play football (he's a QB and could be Baker Mayfield's replacement) at Oklahoma for 1 year.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 6, 2018
So Murray will be able to compete for an NCAA championship as a millionaire next season. Not a bad way to live, right? Good for him.
That is until you look at all of the other ridiculous rulings and violations the NCAA has dealt over the years.
Back in 2004, the NCAA ruled against Colorado receiver Jeremy Bloom for receiving endorsements as an Olympic skier, effectively ending his college football career. He was a world champion freestyle skier and a 2002 Olympian, and accepted endorsements so he could afford to prepare for the 2006 Torino Olympics. Without the financial aid, he couldn’t afford the training necessary to compete and represent the United States in the Olympics, but the NCAA fought him for two years on it and turned down his final appeal.
In 2011, the NCAA ruled former Kentucky Wildcat Enes Kanter permanently ineligible for receiving a $33,000 salary while playing for the Turkish professional team Fenerbahçe Ülker. $20,000 of it was used for tutoring, which the NCAA said was okay, but because the remaining $13,000 was unaccounted for, the book was thrown at him. Kanter had the money sitting in a bank account and was willing to return every cent to the professional team, but the NCAA wanted no part of it. Kanter never played a minute of college basketball as a result.
And, to this day, the NCAA believes they wholeheartedly made the correct decision.
“The final decision of the reinstatement committee is completely compatible with the collegiate model of sports our members have developed, since he received a significant amount of money, above his actual expenses, from a professional team prior to coming to college,” Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, told ESPN.
Back in 2013, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was suspended for a half of a regular season game against Rice for allegedly signing autographs for money.
And it wasn’t even proven that money changed hands.
The NCAA and A&M agreed on the one-half suspension because Manziel violated NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124, an NCAA representative confirmed. The rule says student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes, including to advertise, recommend or promote sales of commercial products, or accept payment for the use of their names or likenesses.
“NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign, and based on information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case.”
Other past violations?
In 2013, three Oklahoma student-athletes, “received food in excess of NCAA regulation at a graduation banquet. The three had graduated from the school but returned for an additional season of competition. The players were provided pasta in excess of the permissible amount allowed.”
As a result, each player was required by the NCAA to donate $3.83 (price of the pasta) each to a charity of their choice. If not, they would be not be reinstated.
South Carolina self-reported secondary violations in 2014 for decorated a cookie cake with too much icing.
The official AP report was hilarious, with the official violation being: “Impermissible iced decorations on a cookie cakes given to prospects.”
But $5 million for a baseball player? No problem at all.
Way to go, NCAA.
Yesterday, Rick Pitino told Terry Meiners he plans to release a new book this fall documenting the events leading up to his firing from Louisville. Because we’re such big fans of Pitino here at Kentucky Sports Radio and always willing to lend a hand, I came up with some suggestions for book titles and covers.
We now know UK’s Southeastern Conference opponents for the upcoming 2018-19 basketball season.
Beginning with the three permanent home-and-away opponents, Kentucky will get two games against Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, as is tradition. Defending SEC co-champ Auburn and Mississippi State will join those three teams with two games against UK this year.
The Cats will also host Arkansas, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena, but with no road game in return.
UK’s away games will come at Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Ole Miss; in addition to Auburn, Mississippi State and the three permanent home-and-away opponents.
2018-19 SEC Home Games
2018-19 SEC Road Games
The actual dates of each game will be released at a later time.
By TJ Walker on ©June 06th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
Kira Lewis Jr. didn’t make the USA U18 team coached by Bill Self so the visit to UK this weekend will happen, he tells Kentucky Sports Radio.
UK commit Tyrese Maxey made the final cut and Kentucky targets Matthew Hurt and Cole Anthony were also included. Lewis Jr. will arrive to UK over the weekend for an unofficial visit and will likely travel to the NBA Top 100 Camp in Virginia following the visit. It’s expected that Kentuckian Dontaie Allen will also be on campus this weekend.
Lewis is from Hazel Green, Ala. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound guard is one of the fastest players in the class of 2019 and has offers from Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Auburn and Louisville. Lewis Jr. has been on UK’s radar for a few months, but still doesn’t hold an offer from the Cats. He may receive an offer this weekend, but with UK’s roster situation don’t be surprised if the Cats continue to recruit Lewis Jr. but wait to offer. UK could return Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro and Jemarl Baker for the 2019-2020 season. If that’s the case, with already bringing in Tyrese Maxey, the Cats will be limited on scholarships and won’t need guards. However, no one expected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to be a one-and-done so that’s why UK will certainly want to continue to recruit Lewis Jr.
During his trip to Lexington Lewis Jr. told KSR he’s looking forward to getting to know the staff.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the staff and seeing their campus,” Lewis Jr. said. “They haven’t mentioned anything about an offer.”
Lewis Jr. is a typical Calipari guard. He’s fast, athletic and prides himself on defense, so as Lewis Jr. continues to rise in the rankings the Cats will remain interested.
The 2018 NBA Draft is just over two weeks away, and now that the early entrant withdrawal deadline has passed, we can start taking mock drafts a little more seriously (and I do mean “little”).
Since deciding to stay in the draft, Jarred Vanderbilt now appears in all of the major mock drafts that include second rounds, ranging anywhere from No. 44 (Washington) to No. 55 (Charlotte). Consensus continues to be that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will go to the Los Angeles Clippers with the twelfth or thirteenth pick, but the latest Sporting News mock has him sneaking into the top ten, going eighth to Cleveland. Meanwhile, Kevin Knox is still on the edge of the lottery and Hamidou Diallo still trends as an early second round pick.
|Shai Alexander||Kevin Knox||Hamidou Diallo||Jarred Vanderbilt||Wenyen Gabriel|
|ESPN Top 100 (Updated 5/30)||12||15||36||59||—|
|ESPN (Updated 5/30)||12. LA Clippers||15. Washington||35. Orlando||55. Charlotte||—|
|Sports Illustrated (Updated 6/5)||15. Washington||12. LA Clippers||40. Brooklyn||49. San Antonio||—|
|Sporting News* (Updated 5/28)||8. Cleveland||14. Denver||30. Atlanta||—||—|
|Gary Parrish* (Updated 5/24)||13. LA Clippers||14. Denver||—||—||—|
|Matt Norlander (Updated 6/5)||13. LA Clippers||15. Washington||37. Sacramento||50. Indiana||—|
|NBADraft.net (Updated 6/5)||12. LA Clippers||11. Charlotte||54. Dallas||44. Washington||—|
|Bleacher Report* (Updated 6/5)||12. LA Clippers||15. Washington||—||—||—|
|The Athletic (Updated 6/1)||12. LA Clippers||14. Denver||35. Orlando||44. Washington||—|
* First Round Only
Late last week, John Calipari said Vanderbilt was receiving plenty of interest from teams despite his injury. The Athletic’s Michael Sotto spoke with an Eastern Conference executive who confirmed Vanderbilt’s versatility and talent are intriguing enough for a team to take a chance on him in the second round.
“I like him because he does a lot of winning things,” a second Eastern Conference executive told The Athletic. “He can do a little bit of everything. He can defend, rebound and score. I like him because he doesn’t do a lot of turnovers and make mistakes. He’s an energy guy who plays hard. He’s young and only going to get better.”
There you go.
By Nick Roush on ©June 05th, 2018 @ 2:30pm
As the Kentucky football team expands its recruiting boundaries, it’s important to note the Cats aren’t just going to new areas; they’re recruiting at the most talent-rich schools in America.
Mark Stoops’ first act as Kentucky’s head coach was to recruit the state of Ohio. With Stoops and Vince Marrow’s connections to a ton of schools — including their alma mater, Cardinal Mooney — it quickly paid dividends.
Two years ago, they upped the ante by heavily investing in Florida. Eddie Gran brought expertise from South Florida, while his running mate, Darin Hinshaw, took over the panhandle. In their first two full recruiting classes, Gran and Hinshaw have signed 17 players from the Sunshine State.
Recruiting Florida and Ohio makes sense. They are two of the most talented high school football states in America. Two years ago Stoops’ staff made another, more unorthodox change. Stoops has sent coaches to the most talented high schools in two new areas, the “DMV” (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) and Michigan.
A state that has not produced a Kentucky Wildcat in decades, the highest-ranked player in the 2018 recruiting class is from Michigan, nose guard Marquan McCall. The other signee Steve Clinkscale brought from Michigan is outside linebacker DeAndre Square. Square attended Cass Tech, one of the Top 20 Power Five talent producers in America.
When Vince Marrow went to the DMV, he went to Maryland’s most-talented school, Our Lady of Good Counsel. There Marrow successfully signed offensive tackle Naasir Watkins and future superstar defensive end Josh Paschal. According to research by the College Football Data Lab (@redmondlonghorn), Good Counsel has produced the fifth-most Power Five college football players since 2004.
A look at Kentucky signees that have come from the most talented high school football institutions in America, based off players that signed with Power Five schools:
|Kentucky Players from Top High School Football Programs|
|Player (Recruiting Class)||School||Region Rank (National)|
|Austin MacGinnis (13)||Prattville, Al.||3|
|Marcus McWilson (13)||Cardinal Mooney, Oh.||13|
|Jaleel Hytchye (13)||LaSalle, Oh.||15|
|Dorian Baker (14)||Cleveland Heights, Oh.||26|
|Dorian Hendrix (14)||Wayne, Oh.||25|
|Jared Tucker (14)||Stephenson, Ga.||2 (8)|
|Mikel Horton (14)||Lakota West, Oh.||19|
|Kobie Walker (14)||Good Counsel, Md.||N/A (5)|
|George Asafo-Adjei (15)||Lakota West, Oh.||19|
|Kei Beckham (15)||Trotwood-Madison, Oh.||8|
|Jordan Jones (15)||Cardinal Mooney, Oh.||13|
|Sihiem King (15)||Colquitt County, Ga.||24|
|Kayaune Ross (16)||Lakota West, Oh.||19|
|Tobias Gilliam (16)||Wayne, Oh.||25|
|Gunnar Hoak (16)||Dublin Coffman, Oh.||23|
|Roland Walder (16)||Trotwood-Madison, Oh.||8|
|Jaylin Bannerman (16)||Pickerinton Central, Oh.||20|
|Lynn Bowden (17)||Warren G. Harding, Oh.||24|
|Naasir Watkins (17)||Good Counsel, Md.||N/A (5)|
|Josh Paschal (17)||Good Counsel, Md.||N/A (5)|
|Sebastian Dolcine (17)||Miramar, Fl.||17|
|Chris Whittaker (17)||Chaminade-Madonna, Fl.||19|
|Josh Ali (17)||Chaminade-Madonna, Fl.||19|
|Jordan Wright (17)||Dillard, Fl.||22|
|Jamari Brown (18)||Blanche Ely, Fl.||24|
|Davoan Hawkins (18)||Chaminade-Madonna, Fl.||19|
|Marvin Alexander (18)||Chaminade-Madonna, Fl.||19|
|Akeem Hayes (18)||Chaminade-Madonna, Fl.||19|
|Nick Lewis (18)||The Bolles School, Fl.||18|
|Stanley Garner (18)||Dillard, Fl.||22|
|Bryce Oliver (18)||Dillard, Fl.||22|
|DeAndre Square (18)||Cass Tech, Mi.||2 (17)|
|Brenden Bates (18)||Moeller, Oh.||6|
|Darrian Kinnard (18)||St. Ignatius, Oh.||5|
What Does This Mean?
There’s no denying Kentucky has stepped up its recruiting game under Mark Stoops. Kentucky used to beat out MAC schools for recruits; now they’re beating out the big dogs. That’s an obvious metric of improvement.
This analysis proves Kentucky football recruiting took the next step in the 2017 recruiting season, the first class after Kentucky played in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Of the 34 players signed from the nation’s top schools, half have come in the previous two recruiting classes. Not only are the Cats recruiting the best players against the best colleges, they’ve established a brand that is recognizable at the nation’s top high schools.
Kentucky might not always be able to land the best player from the best school (a la Josh Paschal), but if the Cats can get the second or third-best player from that school, it’s still a significant battle won in the recruiting war.
The world lost a great man with the passing of former UK athletics director C.M. Newton, whose impact on basketball spans far and wide, more so than many even realize. Not only did Newton do wonderful things for the University of Kentucky, he also left his mark around the Southeastern Conference and on the way the college game is played today.
So as those who knew and admired him mourn his death and reflect on his career, we too will celebrate all he accomplished and the legacy he leaves behind. It’s hard to imagine anyone else contributing as much as he did to college athletics — from coaching to integration to rule changes and nearly everything in-between — which is why his passing touches so many people everywhere.
Learn all about his impactful 50-year career as a player, coach and administrator:
He was a two-sport star at the University of Kentucky.
As a basketball player, Newton was a member of Kentucky’s national championship team in 1951.
As a baseball player, his pitching helped UK reach the NCAA tournament before he signed an MLB contract with a New York Yankees farm system.
He recruited the first black player at Transylvania. And again at Alabama.
Newton’s coaching career began at Transylvania (thanks to a recommendation from Coach Rupp), where he recruited the school’s first black basketball player.
Then in 1969, as the head coach at Alabama, Newton once again signed his school’s first black player, Wendell Hudson.
Integration was very important to Newton.
He led Alabama to its first two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Newton was brought to Alabama by Bear Bryant (through another Rupp recommendation) in hopes that Newton could turn the Alabama basketball program around. He eventually guided the Crimson Tide to its first two NCAA appearances while winning three straight SEC titles in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
He also led Vanderbilt to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Newton left Alabama to become assistant commissioner of the Southeastern Conference in 1980, but was convinced to get back into coaching, at Vanderbilt, only a year later. He coached the Commodores to a 129–115 record in eight seasons with two NCAA Tournament bids.
He hired Rick Pitino, Hal Mumme, Tubby Smith and more.
Newton’s alma mater came calling in 1989 to pull its storied basketball program from the ashes. Newton took the AD job at Kentucky and his first move was the hiring of Rick Pitino, the savior of UK basketball in the early 90s. Pitino of course went on to win the national championship, UK’s first in 18 years, in 1996.
Newton also hired popular coaches Hal Mumme and Tubby Smith, as well as UK assistant Bernadette Locke-Mattox, only the second female assistant coach in Division I men’s basketball history.
With the hirings of Smith and Locke-Mattox, Newton is responsible for hiring UK’s first African-American men’s and women’s basketball coaches.
The shot clock, three-point line… He was behind those, too.
Newton served as the chairman of the NCAA Rules Committee from 1979 to 1985. During that time, college basketball added the shot clock, the three-point line, and the coaches’ box.
“What had happened in college basketball is we had gotten to where everything was a post-up game,” Newton explained. “And that’s why I favored the trapezoidal lane, to force the big guy to learn how to play basketball. Our coaches were all doing the same thing. They were putting a big guy on the box and keeping him there and it became a wrestling match. As a consequence you had more sloughing, sagging-type defenses. The three-point shot opened that up.”
He was director of the original Dream Team.
When USA Basketball introduced the “Dream Team” in 1992, Newton was the director of the program. He was vital in the U.S. Olympic team’s transformation from college stars to professionals, which included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, among many others you already know. The Dream Team dominated Barcelona in Newton’s first year as director.
He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Newton was a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2000 for all of his accomplishments across the game. He was inducted as a “contributor” for all he contributed to the sport.
By TJ Walker on ©June 04th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
I hope everyone had a good weekend! Last week we were anxiously waiting to hear from P.J. Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt. Washington was the only one to return but there are still questions surrounding next season’s team, but we will turn most of our attention to the 2019 class.
Reid Travis: We reported over the weekend that Travis may have more of a connection to Villanova than we previously thought. Travis’ younger brother played at Harvard from 2013-2015 with a friend who is now a graduate-assistant at Villanova (Read that here). While that’s interesting and it doesn’t hurt Villanova’s chances, that shouldn’t change your optimism about Travis joining the team in Lexington.
Remember, the Travis rumors have been in circulation for months and Duke was always thought to be a major target. All we heard was that Travis was boys with Tyus Jones (both from Minnesota) and Travis would want to play with Jones’ little brother (Tre) at Duke.
That obviously won’t/didn’t happen.
I’d be shocked if Travis didn’t end up at UK. There were some reports that Travis would visit UK over the weekend, and while that didn’t happen it may not take long to get him on UK’s campus. It may be better because now UK’s players are on campus and classes start this week. Expect things to move quickly for Travis (a few weeks at the longest).
(UPDATE: Jon Rothstein is reporting Travis will visit both UK AND Villanova after Stanford’s graduation (6/17))
Reid Travis will visit both Kentucky and Villanova after Stanford's graduation on 6/17, per a source. No visit dates are set yet. Immediately eligible for next season. #BBN
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 4, 2018
I’ve been asked a few times how the starting lineup would look if Travis ends up at UK. Here’s my opinion:
I would be stunned if Travis came to UK and didn’t start. I would expect Richards/Montgomery to come off the bench and still receive plenty of playing time.
Maxey: Get on the hype train. I *very* rarely over hype a recruit and I *generally* try to have fans keep expectations in check, but let’s go wild with Tyrese Maxey.
Maxey will almost certainly make the USA U18 team coached by Bill Self and was considered one of the best players in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately I wasn’t there, but by all reports Maxey put on a show.
Tyrese Maxey is fast … pic.twitter.com/eFWtIJD0gL
— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) June 2, 2018
Another strong showing from Kentucky bound guard Tyrese Maxey with Calipari on hand today. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl again good. Bryce Wills has the makings of a super productive Stanford guard. Will Baker showed value as a deeply underrated frontline passer
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) June 2, 2018
Kentucky bound junior Tyrese Maxey having a nice bounce back tonight. Energy and confidence is there and so is the bounce in his step. Looking very good during the third session of the USA under-18 trials
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) June 2, 2018
And Maxey is turning heads while playing with/against Cole Anthony and Jalen Lecque, two of the best guards in the class of 2019.
If you like score-first point guards you will love Maxey. He has the talent to put up 30+ points in a game and the Cats really haven’t had a point guard like Maxey in years.
It’s rare that UK has a five-star player locked up so early, so UK fans should try to check out Maxey this summer and during his senior season if you have a chance. Watch him in Peach Jam in July or go to a game during his high school season if you live in Texas. Maybe he will get to play a high school game or two in Kentucky?
One complaint I hear from Kentucky fans is that they never get to the know the players, which I understand. We have/will continue to learn more about Maxey and the more you know about him and watch his game the bigger fan you will become.
Also, I had someone close to UK that said they think he can be one of John Calipari’s best point guards. I’ve posted that before, but it’s worth repeating.
Maxey committing early gives you a chance to get to know him better, but he’s also doing a good deal of recruiting for the Cats. He will be a big part of the 2019 recruiting efforts and what if he helps brings in James Wiseman? Or Cole Anthony? Then Maxey becomes a star in more ways than one. Get to know him because he should/will be a fan favorite.
Cole Anthony: Credit the Lexington Herald Leader’s Ben Roberts because he was able to get a piece of information from Anthony that few have been able to get. Anthony and his dad hardly talk about recruiting but Anthony said that the Cats will be in the mix and will be considered.
“That’s my boy,” Anthony told Roberts (here). “Me and Tyrese, we talk a lot, obviously. He keeps pushing Kentucky on me. Obviously, we’re going to consider Kentucky. But there are no frontrunners in this. I don’t even have a list. Tyrese, love his game. I could obviously see myself playing with him.”
Whoa. Huge news. UK has been incredibly quiet regarding Anthony, which is the way UK generally likes to operate. The quieter the better for Calipari, so I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that UK is possibly in a great position.
However, Duke seems to always be mentioned as the leader for Anthony, but maybe that shouldn’t be the case?
Although I’m a huge Maxey fan, Anthony is widely considered to be the better guard. If Calipari could land both it would lead to his best backcourt at UK.
Don’t sleep on UK’s chances with Anthony, although things will remain quiet.
Guards for 2019-2020: UK has landed Tyrese Maxey and possibly Cole Anthony could follow, but I’m curious how UK’s going to sell amazing guards like Anthony, Lecque, Scottie Lewis, Kira Lewis, and Bryan Antoine when the Cats could return almost all of their guards after this season.
I don’t expect Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green, Jemarl Baker or Tyler Herro to go to the NBA Draft after the 2019 season. Of course I didn’t expect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to make the jump after this season, so there can always be a surprise.
I do expect Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson (wing) to leave, along with a couple frontcourt players.
So, if Maxey joins Quickley, Green, Baker and Herro, that doesn’t scream minutes for an Anthony or other guards. Anthony would likely be the best of the bunch, but I’m curious what you all would do if you were UK.
Do you push out a current player with hopes of landing a five-star player? Or let a five-star target go to a rival because you’re comfy with the players that weren’t good enough to go the NBA Draft?
Calipari’s strategy has always been to bring in the best talent possible and things will work itself out when the dust settles. I wouldn’t expect it that to change. Maybe Quickley or Green will take a major jump? Maybe Herro will have a Devin Booker like season? Regardless, it’s going to be a question that UK’s staff is asked.
I look at it as a win-win for the Cats. If UK could have those players return as sophomores/juniors that’s great. If some leave and you can bring it star recruits, that’s good, too.
Jalen Lecque: Reports from the weekend indicate that Lecque is going almost certainly going to stay in the class of 2019. That’s better news for UK’s chances because there was no way Lecque would end up at UK if he moved to the class of 2018.
I still think out of most of UK’s guards option Lecque seems like one of the least likely. He’s super athletic and bouncy, but I think other schools lead.
Visits: UK is set to host Dontaie Allen this weekend and the plan is for Kira Lewis to visit, too. These visits in the summer aren’t always as significant as they may be in the winter or fall, but I’ll be watching to see if the Cats throw out some scholarships.
As I mentioned, there may be a logjam in 2019 when it comes to guards, which wouldn’t really impact Allen, but it could make UK be careful with offers because the uncertainty of who stays and who goes.
My guess is Lewis gets an offer, but I hope the Pendleton County star receives an offer, too. Shockingly I’ve heard WKU is in a great spot for Allen. Pesky Rick Stansbury.
However, UK should land Allen if the Cats offer.
James Wiseman: I don’t really have anything new on Wiseman besides I still think UK leads. Things may be somewhat quiet over the next month with Wiseman (and other recruits) but don’t fret. The Cats are still in a great spot and the 2019 Super Class is still very much a possibility.
How about some highlights?
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) May 27, 2018