Freaking out about what’s going on with Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe? Are you ready to Mark Hamilton the crap out of the next person who talks about how Calipari is turning UK into a revolving door of players? Well, take a deep breath and step into my half-bath time machine, which is going to take you back to April 5, 2009 and a time when optimism and excitement took hold of the Kentucky basketball world. Take a look below….
After enjoying a fairly lazy day, Wrestlemania on the computer, a live blog and the Braves Opening Day victory, one would think that we could just be content at the glorious nature of early April. But we still have UK news to hit, so I spoke with Jon Hood this evening about his feelings on the Calipari era. Here is what he had to say:
What were your thoughts when Kentucky made the decision to hire Coach Calipari?
“Well first, I thought it was really unfortunate what happened with Coach Gillipsie and it really surprised me. But I really like Caoch Calipari and what he does with his offense and the Dribble Drive, Five-out motion.
Did you get to talk to the new Coach, and what did he say to you?
I did get to talk to him, but it was a very very brief conversation. Coach was tired and it was the same day he talked to Daniel in Oklahoma. He said he was very excited to have me and looked forward to seeing me play.
What were you thoughts on the decommitments this week of the future recruits and GJ Vilarino?
Honestly, I havent really followed it. With GJ, I really don’t know what happened there. I havnet talked to GJ in a while and I hope to get to talk to him about it a little bit at the Derby Festival.
There was some talk on the internet that you had communicated with John Wall. What did you say?
Yeah, I sent John a message and said hey buddy why don’t you come play with me and D.O. over here at Kentucky and he just kind of said “I see you recruiting.” He is really a great player. I have talked to a lot of guys….I talked to Eric Bledsoe a little bit when Coach G was still here as well.
What is the status of your injury right now?
I got the boot off on Wednesday and started shooting Thursday and am hoping to get a release so I can be ready to go for the Derby Festival.
What are your thoughts about how you will fit in with Coach Calipari?
When he got hired, I did some research on his offense just so I would know what to expect and I saw that he likes guys who can get out in the open court and finish and make shots and just know how to play. I think I have a high enough basketball IQ to come in right away and try to help.
I can tell by your voice that you are excited to get going. When are you headed to Lexington?
I graduate on May 29 and I plan on coming to UK on June 5th and then classes start very soon after it. I cant wait.
As you can obviously tell from those comments, Jon is a great kid and seems genuinely excited about the prospect of playing for Calipari. He has quickly become one of Kentucky Sports Radio’s favorite players, and it will be great to watch him in the Blue and White.
Some other notes….
— The Cats Pause tonight spoke with the mother of Demarcus Cousins who suggested that they hope to have an idea of his future very soon….like potentially early this week. Cousins is playing in a couple of all star games over the next couple of weeks and thus the time frame to make the decision is short. She said that DeMarcus did have loyalty to Calipari but that she wasnt sure what he would decide. Most feel that he is a UK lean, but at this point with all these Memphis guys, it is up in the air.
— As for John Wall, Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com reportedly said today that he was a Duke lean due to the health condition of his mother. Over the past few days, I have spoken with a number of people about Wall, including the player himself, and virtually everyone seems to have a different take on the situation. Here is what I do know…..Calipari and his staff want Wall bad and are committed to trying and make it happen. April 18th is his game in the Jordan Classic and it was his hope to announce there on ESPN. The next two weeks should be interesting.
— I have been getting a lot of questions about the potential Calipari staff. Here is what I know….no UK player has yet been added to the staff. There had been some rumors of Kyle Macy, Scott Padgett and Tony Delk at various times this weekend, but as of now there has been no new addition. I do think at least one UK player will be considered but the working assumption that most are operating on is that Calipari will bring his entire Memphis staff here. Whether there will be another position or some other type of entry on the staff remains to be seen, but I expect you will see the core Memphis group, including recruiting extraordinaire, Josh Pastner.
— Finally, UK will practice 2 hours again this week as Calipari tries to get a feel for his team. No word on what day that will occur but I expect after those practices and as the semester winds down, we will get a notion of what the roster will look like next year. As I have said a few times, I dont expect to see a drastic overhaul. I do expect a couple of transfers, but I think it remains to be seen who that will be.
Finally a word about this past few days. You have to hand it to the UK media relations folks and Coach Calipari for nailing the publicity this week. Calipari has been everywhere selling the UK “brand” (which needed to be done) and it seems that the basketball program now has a coach who is as forward thinking on media issues as the staff that has been in place. Be prepared for a new era of UK basketball in the national consciousness and it has been a great start towards that goal.
More all day…..