Happy Friday, friends. I’m sure many of you will find excuses to slip out of work early today to go enjoy the opening day of the spring meet at Keeneland, a time of year I get so homesick it hurts. If you do head out to the racetrack today, bundle up; highs are only supposed to get in the low 50’s, but something tells me that won’t stop girls from wearing sundresses and cowboy boots or wedges.
For the rest of us, there’s plenty to do, so let’s run through the agenda.
1. Calipari offered Mark Smith
The recruiting dead period ended yesterday at noon and John Calipari went straight to work to shore up Kentucky’s bare cupboard at guard, traveling to Edwardsville, Illinois to visit Mark Smith. Cal extended a scholarship offer to the Illinois Mr. Basketball on that trip, a sign of how serious this fast and furious this recruitment has become. Smith also has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Missouri, Butler, and Michigan State and is expected to visit the Spartans this weekend. Also of note: Smith will play in the Derby Classic in Louisville later this month.
2. Don’t forget about Jemarl Baker and Cameron Johnson
Calipari is headed to California today to visit Jemarl Baker, a four-star shooting guard that decommitted from Cal when Cuonzo Martin took the job at Missouri. Yesterday, 247 Sports recruiting guru Jerry Meyer told the Herald Leader he believes Baker’s the best fit for the Cats next season.
“I think the idea here is to get shooting, and I like him best as a shooter,” Meyer said. “All three are good, solid players. Baker just makes the most sense to me. I think he’s the better of the three, and I think he’s the better shooter of the three.”
As I told you in the post directly before this one, Kentucky has reportedly also offered Pitt grad transfer Cam Johnson, who will be able to play right away and have two years of eligibility remaining. Not only is Johnson an impressive shooter, making 41.5% of his threes last season, he’s also 6’8″, meaning he has the size Calipari loves. For more on Johnson, read Roush’s profile on him from last week.
3. ICYMI, Isaiah Briscoe is gone
One of the reasons Kentucky needs guards so badly next season is that three of this year’s have announced plans to go pro. Yesterday, Isaiah Briscoe followed in De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk’s footsteps by announcing that he’ll go to the draft and sign with an agent, ending his two-year career at UK. This move doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s talked to Briscoe in the last year, and although he’s not included in any of the major mock drafts/prospect rankings, here’s hoping he lands somewhere good. We know he’s got the drive.
4. Is Isaac Humphries leaving too?
We’ve heard rumblings for a while that Isaac Humphries was thinking of going pro in his native Australia. Humphries told Joe Mussatto that he was rethinking his future at UK during the tournament and Calipari said that an Australian scout watched Humphries in practice last month. Yesterday, Evan Daniels added fuel to the fire when he tweeted that Humphries is “seriously contemplating pursuing professional options.” Daniels said Humphries hasn’t made his mind up, but with a loaded frontcourt coming in, this is something to keep an eye on. Although, it would be such a shame coming off a game after which Humphries would have likely been considered a folk hero had the Cats won.
5. A CNN analyst compared the US bombing Syria last night to Kentucky basketball
After US warships launched at least 50 tomahawk missiles at Syria last night, CNN analsyt Major General Spider Marks compared the bombing to Kentucky basketball in one of the most ridiculous and inappropriate statements I think I’ve ever heard.
Okay, this is a weird comparison. pic.twitter.com/WRcMc5JVDz
– C.M. Tomlin (@CM_Tomlin) April 7, 2017
Stick to war, General Marks, and keep Kentucky Basketball outta your mouth.
6. The Nike Hoop Summit is tonight
If you like your all-star high school basketball late at night, you’re in luck because the Nike Hoop Summit tips off tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 from Portland, Oregon. Shai Alexander and Nick Richards are on the World Team, and will face Jarred Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba, and Kevin Knox on Team USA. Quade Green is also a member of Team USA, but suffered a concussion yesterday and is unlikely to play tonight.
7. Mo Bamba’s wingspan is insane
Yesterday, the Nike Hoop Summit released the measurements for Team USA, and the ones that stand out the most are Mohamed Bamba’s 7’9″ wingspan and 9’6″ standing reach. If you’re looking for a comparison, Wilt Chamberlain’s famous wingspan was 7’8″ and Anthony Davis’ measured at 7’5.5″ at the 2012 Draft Combine and has reportedly grown to 7’7.75″. The largest wingspan in NBA history belonged to 7’7″ Maunte Bol, whose arms spread a ridiculous 8’6″.
Just another reason we’ve gotta get Bamba.
8. I’ll have a review of Calipari’s 30 for 30 for you later
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a screener of Calipari’s 30 for 30 last night and it’s really, really good. I’ll have a complete review for you this afternoon, but until then, do yourself a favor and make sure your DVR is set to record the documentary, which debuts next Thursday night (April 13) at 9 p.m. on ESPN. Here’s the trailer:
One and Not Done. Going to be ðŸ”¥ pic.twitter.com/zzgEmmxuPI
– Dan Bayens (@danbayens) February 3, 2017
9. The Masters rolls on
It’s Friday at The Masters, which means it’s going to on my second computer monitor for most of the day. After yesterday’s windy start, only 11 players are under par, led by Charley Hoffman, who leads at -7, four strokes ahead of William McGirt in second place. Phil Mickelson is tied with Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, and a bunch of players at -1, while JB Holmes is tied for 74th at 6+ after bogeying his last five holes. Ouch.
You can see all the tee times here.