Lost in all the hubub of Kentucky basketball recruiting and made-up tea parties has been the proliferation of pirates onto the national culture. Now if you are like me (and I certainly hope you arent), you long ago thought that we would never have to hear the word “pirate” again. In fact, I was of the belief that pirates were akin to unicorns, made up creatures that really never existed and only were around to somehow play to our childish wishes for adventure. But recently, piracy has returned with the new gang (not including Andy Van Slyke) from Somalia, wreaking havoc on the open seas. This brand of pirates however is not nearly as glamorous as the type that I was convinced roamed the ocean blue. I see no parrot, no peg leg and certainly no “ARRRRR” when they speak. Rather I simply see poor people with expensive guns on cheap rafts, somehow causing destruction to the shipping industry and world security. I dont claim to know how to stop piracy (although having the Navy Seals shoot them in the head seems like a good start), but I do admit to being disappointed at what we now refer to as a “pirate”. Whats next, a Viking without Horns and a fur pelt? Please….
To the news….
(1): Today was the last practice for UK before the NCAA outlaws the practice for the summer and there was much news. Official friend of the site, Dave Baker of WKYT called us with his impressions of the practice, and this is what he said:
— According to Dave, the most notable thing about the practice was the new tone of the program. “The players smiled more today than in the last two years combined.” Baker said it was upbeat throughout, with players giving constant energy and layups again the focus of the work.
— Baker noted (as many have) that Darius Miller seems right at home here. Calipari told Baker that what Darius has that no one else does is the “mid-range floater” that is a perfect weapon for the Dribble-Drive Offense.
— In terms of who played well, according to Baker Pilgrim and Liggins stood out as improved from last season and both seem to fit the system well.
— Calipari told the players and media that basically ten players would get time in practice and that others would be there to give breathers during the time. Guys like Landon Slone saw virtually no time in practice.
— Ramon Harris has a mohawk. He rules.
— The topic of who would stay and who would go came up a lot. Josh Harrellson is still up in the air on his decision and will make a determination some time after meeting with Calipari this week.
— Calipari told Baker that he would have Patterson “playing like a guard”, a sentiment he repeated on Pardon the Interruption this afternoon. If Patrick chooses to come back, expect a much more versatile game from him next season.
— Scott Padgett and Kenny Walker were at practice today.
— Finally, Baker (who has been around this program as long as anyone) said that Calipari is “doing absolutely everything right.” From off the court to on the court, there is a new energy around the program that is almost unbelievable and practice reflects that. A tremendous positive and improvement to all who attend.
We thank Buzz for giving us the info and letting us know how practice went down. Being away all day and missing the press conference and practice hurt, but not as much as the hurtin’ Jones and Bruce put on those who dare go against us in the law game….
(2): We did get the news that we expected today that Patrick Patterson has put his name in the draft. That news was not unexpected and is a rational decision for the young man. He will be able to go through workouts and not hire an agent, thus giving him the ability to determine whether staying in the Draft is a good decision. I spoke today to a couple of media folks, a couple of UK folks and an NBA guy and all seem to suggest the same thing. It is likely and probably necessary, that Jodie Meeks will return and play another season. It is much tougher of a call for Patterson. If he projects late lottery, most believe he is gone and he is right on the brink of that area of the Draft. I will say however that I have no real inside info personally on what Patterson will do, and I would suspect that no one else really does either. As a UK fan and follower, you would definitely want him back, but he also should do what is best for him. The next few weeks will tell us what that decision ultimately should, and will, be.
(3): Interesting comments today from Deandre Liggins, who acknowledged that he would not have returned if Gillispie did, but saying that he is excited about the new regime at UK. Liggins has some work to do academically, but his game would seem to be a good fit for Calipari’s offense in Lexington. He has been singled out a couple of times by people who have attended practice as being much more relaxed and improved during the drills this Spring. His comments however showcase that much of the information that we gave all year, about his likelihood of leaving and his general unhappiness, which was discounted by die-hard supporters of Gillispie, was true. Another lesson in the continued value of not just bashing news that seems negative, simply because you dont like it…..a lesson folks should apply to our friend Bomani Jones when he talks about John Wall’s interest in schools that arent Kentucky.
(4): On the good news trip, Xavier Henry’s father suggested to the LHL that Henry should go to UK, and that either way, the decision would be made soon. The Henry recruitment is one that has been downplayed by the local media, but definitely should not. With it becoming more clear that Nolan Dennis likely will not be a Cat, Henry becomes an option for UK that could pay immediate dividends. Plus his brother CJ is often forgotten and has the ability to be a PG immediately, and could even see a great deal of playing time if he is granted a transfer waiver and John Wall does not come. The Henry decision will be the next big news splash on the UK radar….stay tuned.
(5): Finally, Calipari said today that he was looking to add two or three more players to the roster. As we detailed last night, if we assume Donald Williams will not be on scholarship next year (and all indications seem to be that is the case), then as of TODAY, there are 13 scholarships for 13 players:
If Calipari is planning on adding two, the logical players to leave would be Stewart and Harrellson. If he is planning on adding three, another spot would have to be made….possibly by Meeks or Patterson staying in the Draft, Orton heading off to Kansas, Liggins academic issues, CJ Henry walking on (via his pre-college baseball deal) or some other issue. My guess is that the “two” of the “two or three” belongs to the Henry brothers….and the “three” would be John Wall. We will keep the scorecard handy as the next few weeks develop.
I am back in Louisville today and will keep us up on all the happenings that go on….stay tuned……..