We’re just 14 hours away from one of the biggest recruiting announcements from an in-state prospect in as long as I can remember. Ryan Timmons, the explosive do-all back/receiver from Franklin County High School, is set to announce his decision at 1:00 p.m in a press conference from the school. He is down to Kentucky, Florida, Ohio State and Illinois.
Kentucky is in good position to win the recruiting battle but the Florida Gators are fresh on Timmons’ mind, after his visit to Gainesville this past weekend. Timmons really enjoyed the trip to Florida — who wouldn’t? — and you better believe Joker Phillips made a strong push to lure him away from Kentucky. Ohio State is also high on Timmons’ list, although reports last week say Ohio State has backed up its pursuit. Timmons likes Illinois, the longshot, for all the same reasons he likes Kentucky — immediate impact, spread offense, potential to save the program. I can’t imagine him picking Illinois over Kentucky.
If Timmons does pick the Cats, as many experts predict, he could be a playmaker in the new Air Raid offense from the moment he steps on the field. Neal Brown already has three receivers in the incoming class and some young talent on the roster in Collins, Robinson, Sweat and Legree, but take one look at Timmons’ YouTube highlights and you’ll see why Kentucky fans are drooling over the thought of him catching the ball in space in Commonwealth Stadium. He gets touchdowns.
Tuesday could be a HUGE day for Kentucky football and a commitment from Timmons would create some late momentum going in to National Signing Day.
Come on down?
South Carolina comes to town Tuesday night, which means someone will tell you Bruce Ellington plays football and Frank Martin will make his debut against Kentucky as an SEC foe. It’s a day we’ve had circled on the calendar since Martin took the job back in March. The most intense coach in all of college basketball will bring his intimidating stare and underachieving basketball team to Rupp Arena in the Wildcats’ first home game since the too-close-for-comfort win against LSU. It’s the first of two very winnable home games before the Cats go down to Florida to see how they stack up against what I believe is the best team in the country. Kentucky needs to win Tuesday night in convincing fashion, demolish Auburn on Saturday, and then play a competitive game in Gainesville. If that’s how it plays out, we’re talking about a potentially scary Kentucky Wildcats team in March. But if they struggle with South Carolina and Auburn and then lose big to Florida, it’s more of the same talk about no fire, urgency, or toughness. Turn that corner, Cats. Turn that corner.
If you saw either of South Carolina’s last two games, you understand how important it is for Kentucky to blow them out. The Gamecocks are on an ugly two-game slide and Kentucky doesn’t need to be the team to make them look competitive again. They’re coming into Lexington off a double-digit home loss to sub.-500 Georgia and a 39-point drumming at the hands of the Florida Gators. There’s no reason why UK shouldn’t pile it on. Vegas expects it, too; the line is -17.5 for the Cats.
John Calipari met with the media on Monday, as he always does before game days, and he didn’t hold back when talking about the mental discipline of some of his players. “Ryan doesn’t have it; (Archie) doesn’t have it; Alex doesn’t have it,” he told reporters. “They’ll play for a little bit, then they just stop. If they do something on offense, their heads go down and then they can’t play defense. They don’t have the mental discipline.” Calipari used Mays as the example of a tough player, made clear in his performance at College Station. “He knew how important it was. The other kids don’t have that discipline yet.”
Cal also addressed lineup issues, specifically the adjustments he’ll make with Willie Cauley-Stein back in the lineup. He said Alex Poythress and Kyle Wiltjer deserve to play more because of the way they’ve played recently, so he’s forced to take minutes away from Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin. That also means Cauley-Stein has to perform if he wants to see the floor. Only Nerlens Noel is guaranteed 35-40 minutes per game. “He needs to be on the floor,” Cal said of Noel. “You can’t say, ‘I’m going to take 15 minutes from Nerlens.’ Ain’t happening.”
Calipari said he still likes Wiltjer off the bench and he thinks Kyle has been great in the sixth man role.
Kentucky received votes in the AP and USA Today college basketball polls this week! The Cats are still unranked, but they’re making a charge. One AP voter had them as high as No. 20.
On the SEC teleconference Monday morning, Calipari said his team has struggled in part because they’ve been in flux for most of the season: “Ryan was out early, now Willie was out. We’re trying to get guys to play up to their abilities, so we’ve been in flux the whole year. We have not settled in to, OK, here’s who we are. We’re playing hard, we’re playing a little tougher, we’re executing a little bit better. Guys, individuals are playing a little bit better, but we’re still in flux.”
So, what he’s saying is, for Kentucky to reach full potential they need to be on Team No Flux.
Ever wanted to hang out with Marcus Lee? This ‘Day In The Life’ feature on Lee is the next best thing:
Oh, so spicy top ramen is the secret to a 27-rebound, triple-double. And cake.
NBA Update: DeMarcus Cousins was ejected at halftime. Ugh.
After he wrapped up his analysis for ESPN College Gameday Saturday night, Jalen Rose went out in Bloomington, got drunk with IU students, and said Michael Jordan was hungover, not sick, in the flu game. Rose also turned down a bong hit at a house party before somehow making his early morning flight to New Orleans. This is quite the story, with pictures.
We already talked about the importance of landing Timmons, and there’s also still hope out there to see Jason Hatcher in blue. Hatcher will make his decision public at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, which just so happens to be when Mark Stoops is scheduled to meet with the media. I don’t know what that means, if anything, but I’ll let you recruiting conspiracy theorists present your ideas. Kentucky is still very much in the mix, though.
I mentioned this about an hour or two ago but it’s worth mentioning again, because it’s awesome news. Tevin Lawson, a top-rated defensive tackle, will wait to sign his letter on intent so he can visit Kentucky this weekend. Lawson committed to his homestate LSU Tigers last spring, but Les Miles has since asked him to greyshirt so he is having second thoughts about the Tigers. Lawson and his mother will meet with Stoops and the staff in Lexington this weekend before deciding what he should do. LSU is close to home, and it’s LSU, but Kentucky has the opportunity to compete right away and Mark Stoops’ track record with defensive linemen speaks for itself.
That’ll do it for now.