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Jon Rothstein on Kentucky’s freshmen and 11th and 12th players


After sitting in on Kentucky basketball’s Monday practice, CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein was a guest on KSR this morning to elaborate on some of the things he tweeted yesterday about the Cats.

The first order of business was responding to his prediction of Marcus Lee in the starting five, to which he admitted he tends to lean toward returning players over incoming freshmen. “I still think it remains to be seen which bigs can play together for Kentucky,” he said. “The surplus of bigs Kentucky has is unlike any other frontcourt in college basketball this season and probably any other frontcourt college basketball has seen in quite some time.”

Rothstein then went on to rave about Karl Towns, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker, UK’s three participating freshmen, plus Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins, the projected 11th and 12th guys in the rotation. I transcribed his comments for you below, because I’m a nice guy…


Karl Towns

“I gotta tell you, the buzz, I think outside the Kentucky program, isn’t really palpable right now surrounding Karl Towns, but inside Kentucky’s program, the buzz is beyond palpable. And the different thing about Karl Towns versus other big men that have played for Kentucky is he has the ability to extend the defense from the four or the five spot. He’s a skilled big man that’s going to bring the opponent’s four or five away from the basket — like a Frank Kaminsky, like a Walter Pitchford who excelled this past year for Nebraska. So it’s a different type of look for Kentucky and — I tweeted this and I said it because I just made the parallel during practice — he’s a little bit like how Channing Frye was when Channing Frye was at Arizona and how he’s been in the NBA: a nice pick-and-pop threat from the four or the five spot.”

Tyler Ulis

“I was really impressed with Tyler Ulis’ ability to read situations within the defense. He’s different in the sense that he is a table-setter; he is going to be the person that gets people baskets. And one thing I think is really going to stand out for Kentucky fans: Tyler Ulis knows how to read the defense in-between the three-point line and the foul line. He knows where to pick his spots — whether it’s better to use a lob for a big man, whether it’s better to just pull up and take a shot from in-between the foul line and three-point line. His feel and ability to shoot the basketball I think are beyond what people would expect.”

Devin Booker

“I don’t think there is anybody, in the gym yesterday or from what I’ve heard throughout the summer, that is shooting the basketball better than Devin Booker. It’s going to be really tough to keep him off the floor. You know, teams are probably going to try and zone Kentucky this season to slow them down because of their size and athletic ability; you won’t be able to zone Kentucky if Devin Booker is on the floor.”

Derek Willis

“I gotta tell you this, there are probably 50 to 70 BCS programs that Derek Willis would start for right now.”

Dominique Hawkins

“Nik Stauskas was slicing up Kentucky like a side of fries in the regional final last year — he had 18 points in the first half — and John Calipari’s decision to put Dominique Hawkins on Nik Stauskas in the second half changed the game. I don’t think, without Dominique Hawkins, Kentucky goes to the Final Four. And Dominique Hawkins, I can tell you this, is a better offensive player than he was at the end of last season.”

Exciting stuff from Rothstein on the younger Cats. The entire interview will be available a little later on the site when the podcast is uploaded.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

16 Comments for Jon Rothstein on Kentucky’s freshmen and 11th and 12th players

  1. Joe Westerly
    11:39 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

    Please put the audio up. thanks

    • Drew Franklin
      11:44 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

      Please read.

    • Joe Westerly
      11:52 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

      My bad. I used the word “audio”, but I guess that was lost.

    • Joe Westerly
      11:53 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

      You should stick to entertaining me for free.

  2. Joe Westerly
    11:40 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

    BTW, I came in from working outside today and my wife made spicy chili.


  3. Joe Westerly
    11:41 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

    At least she does anal i guess.

    • Wt....
      12:20 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t get this “moderating” thing on this site. I posted a comment with nothing rude or sexual in it, it gets deleted upon moderation. This genius posts an anal comment and apparently the moderator has no problem with it.

  4. Dan
    11:47 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

    I really feel like Devin Booker will end up being like a Doron Lamb type of player for us.

    • Dang
      12:42 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

      Profound stuff, Dan. Keep it coming.

  5. Dan
    11:48 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

    I think Karl Towns is like a slightly more athletic version of Dirk Nowitzki.

  6. Joe Westerly
    11:55 am July 29, 2014 Permalink

    For those that don’t want to wait for KSR to upload it

  7. SoCalCat
    12:07 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

    Ah, the hype of late July! 🙂

    • M
      12:20 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

      Seems a little more fitting now with a game in 12 days.

  8. Jud
    12:53 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

    40-0, no doubt. Mark it down – It is a done deal.

  9. bigbluetruth
    10:33 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

    Some say it’ll never happen again, I’m not so sure. You take this group of CATS with all but 2 of it’s core players back from last year, the trip to the islands including the extra practices and the class coming in with players like Ulis, Lyles, Booker and Towns this team could make it happen. An early tough game against a very good Kansas team could be tough and it’s always tough to beat the LOSERVILLE TURDS in the chicken bucket with all the convicts mugging the players every trip down the floor. But, get past those 2 early tough games and I believe it’s possible. It’ll be great beating the Gators 3 times this year and then sending SLICK RICK home again from the NCAA’s (if they make it that far) and hang #9.

  10. bigbluetruth
    10:42 pm July 29, 2014 Permalink

    I love the fact that Kansas, Arizona and PUKE are getting more attention from their cheering sections over at ESPN than the CATS are getting. I guess it’s UK against the field in their eyes, it’ll take that to stop the BBN, Coach Cal, WCS, LEE, Willis, Hawkins, Towns, Ulis, Lyles, Booker, Johnson, Alex, Andrew, Aaron and last but not least Tod, Brian and Sam. And watch out for that BLUE MIST.