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Cal: “It’s really more than just playing basketball if you come to Kentucky”

We’ve heard it from Cal time and time again: Kentucky isn’t for everyone. The Cats are searching for not only the most talented players in the country, but also those capable of handling all the fishbowl lifestyle that comes with being a Kentucky basketball player. Some players have flourished under the spotlight (MKG, John Wall, Anthony Davis) while others have wilted (freshman Alex Poythress, Ryan Harrow). In order to curb the latter, Cal is preparing recruits he offers for the intangibles early. 2015 guard Charles Matthews got an offer from Kentucky last month, and in an interview with the Courier-Journal’s Steve Jones, says that Cal told him “it’s really more than just playing basketball if you come to Kentucky.”

Matthews is considered the 13th best player in the 2015 class by Rivals, and is one of two guards the Cats have offered in 2015, along with Malik Newman. He says Cal would like him to play both guard positions at UK and that he’s thankful for the offer, especially since Kentucky doesn’t normally offer players this early. The 6’5″ 175 lbs. Matthews praised Kentucky’s tradition and Calipari’s expertise when it comes to guards, and says that above everything, he’s a competitor:

“I’m a competitor, and I like to compete. The main thing I’m focused on is improving my game and helping my school to be a winner. I want to be a great player, and all great players have something in common — they win. I want to let my game help the team be wining.”

Will to win? Check. Oh yeah, he loves the BBN, too:

“I see that BBN Nation … is very heavy on Twitter. I think I gained like 300 followers in that one day or two. Also, all the other schools that offered me, their fan support started increasing as well after the Kentucky offer.”

Watch him work:

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

18 Comments for Cal: “It’s really more than just playing basketball if you come to Kentucky”

  1. tltaworl
    10:40 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    Poythress hasn’t “wited”! He didn’t blow it away and earn a lottery spot in the draft as a freshman so his name gets brought up like this. Absurd.

  2. lonnieb
    10:42 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    Im not saying he didnt struggle at times last season…but lets not say poythress wilted. He averages 13ppg and 8 rebounds and shot 60% from field and 40% from 3. He may have not been ready for the spotlight…but he did fine for a freshman. We are just spoiled rotten because a few freshman have been ready recently for all that comes with playing at uk

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      10:45 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

      Settle down, folks. There’s a reason I said “freshman Alex Poythress” and not just “Alex Poythress.” Even he admitted at the end of the season that he hadn’t given his all at times. Sophomore Alex Poythress will be a different story.

  3. Philuk18
    10:46 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    As the others pointed out, pretty disrespectful to Poythress to say he wilted last year. He averaged 13 and 8 on a team where he got very little help. Sure he wasn’t a lottery pick, but had he been on a more successful team and put up the same numbers he very well could have been.

  4. lonnieb
    10:48 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you 1….I was in process of typing same thing.
    Harrow wilted…..antoine barber wilted….a bunch have wilted but poythress is not those guys….his numbers for a freshman are legit…he just was not ready to be the leader

  5. lonnieb
    10:50 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    It would not had mattered if you said junior high poythress…..he didnt wilt. He just was not ready to be the man

  6. AirRaid
    10:51 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    4 if he had been on a more successful team he wouldn’t have put up those numbers with the little effort he gave. He would have played a lot less minutes with that lack of hustle, but we couldn’t do that since our bench was so thin. Hopefully Sophomore Poythress will show more heart.

  7. M
    11:06 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    #7) It could also be argued that with more talent (an actual point guard that could create for other’s, and a two guard that could shoot and spread the court) that AP would still put up those numbers and play better with less pressure of being one of the few scoring options. He’d get easier looks, and thus put up similar numbers.

  8. Bret
    11:18 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    It could also be argued that Poythress would have got less playing time on a better team with a deeper bench. Yes, his numbers were good as a freshman, but his effort was poor sometimes. He definitely wilted under the pressure of the spotlight and starting spot on a UK basketball team.

  9. Kev
    11:39 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    BBN Nation?

  10. lonnieb
    11:41 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    wilted and effort are not the same. He actually had some of his best games at key times….20 against Duke. He basically won the mizzou game in the second half in a must win. Its just a poor example of wilting. Lack of effort, not agressive at times, unaware of court dimensions….and not ready to be the man are better descriptions…but not many freshman are ready to be the man as a freshman.

  11. people
    11:56 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    I am a BBN member for life, but what i don’t care for is the elite attitude some people have. Poythress is a young man and put numbers up that many picks in the draft didnt! He did it under pressure of being a cat and playing competition that is some of the best in the country including non-conference, remember,”every team brings their best” when they play KY. This kid doesn’t deserve to be tagged just because we can’t handle seeing him grow. He is a Cat and because of that he deserves better and more thoughtful examination.

  12. M
    11:58 am July 8, 2013 Permalink

    #9) I think there were times when he lacked in effort, but I don’t think the pressure got to him. If they had a bench, I think it would still be conceivable for him to average the same point and rebound totals because A) he’d have to give a little more effort to stay on the court, and B) he’d have people around him that would make it easier for him to get looks. He just wasn’t aggressive and the offense had no rhythm because the pieces weren’t there. I would say he played like a freshman, but I don’t believe it’s fair to single him out.

  13. UK
    12:37 pm July 8, 2013 Permalink

    I’m gonna talk about the person that the post is about.

    Matthews is a combo guard and Malik Newman (the other guard we offered) is also a combo guard. You get those two together on the same floor when they can both play either the point or shooting guard…..WOW!!!

  14. bbr
    1:12 pm July 8, 2013 Permalink

    The problem re Poythress, is that the writers for the site get a few talking points that they use repeatedly. The ‘lack of effort by Poyhtress’ and the ‘Julius Mays was a leader’ are two fot he top examples. Both of these are absurd and inaccurate. Sure there were tims when Poythress’ effort was not what it should have been but his freshman numbers were on par with a lot of great UK players. As for Mays as a leader, leaders do not throw their teammates under the bus during games and in post-game interviews. Unfortunately, the writers on the site have to have their talking points to cover their lack of real journalistic research and creativity in so many instances.

  15. Sam
    2:44 pm July 8, 2013 Permalink

    As far as Alex “wilting,” perhaps something we could all agree on is that he shied away from the physical play, esp inside the paint. Wilted? I think so.

    But 13 and 8 are damn good numbers for a freshman.

    I think he, like Harrow, weren’t ready for the physicality of Div 1 ball, and tried to avoid contact.

    That is why we all love Julius so much. He not only will not avoid contact, he will be the one creating contact. That’s what we asked of Harrow and Alex, and neither one of them delivered on that.

    Effort? I think Alex’s body language told the real story on that. We need him to show interest in the game while playing. No more of the laid back demeanor that people can interpret, right or wrong, as “wilting” or as having a lack of fire/ desire/ and passion for the game/ or effort.

    We want more of the dunking and screaming that we saw against Duke.

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  17. Revolving Door of Recruits
    4:26 pm July 9, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, Cal, so much more than just basketball.