If we keep putting elite JUCO talent in Kentucky blue, the Franklin family will have to make room for the mascots and the UK pep band at Thanksgiving this year. (Back away from Aunt Julie’s broccoli casserole, Scratch.)
As I mentioned a couple times before, Mychal Mulder, Calipari’s latest addition to next year’s roster, was coached by Todd Franklin, my first cousin, at Vincennes University. Todd has sent countless players on to Division I careers, including all four of his sophomores in 2013-14 and all nine in 2012-13, while winning at least 33 games in each of his last three seasons. This past season, his Trailblazers were 32-0 until the championship game of the NJCAA District 16 Tournament when they fell in double-overtime. Mulder was the team’s leading scorer on the year at 15.7 points per game.
Needless to say, the Franklins are proud of what Todd has accomplished throughout his career and we’re very excited to see one of his own playing for the Cats next season. It’s even got my dad trading in Tennessee orange for a spot in Big Blue Nation. (About damn time.)
But the Franklin JUCO pipeline didn’t stop with Mulder’s commitment in late April. As Mark Stoops would say, we’re just getting started, bro.
This past weekend, Matthew Mitchell received a commitment from the No. 1 JUCO player in America, Evelyn Akhator. Akhator was coached by my other cousin, Greg Franklin, Todd’s younger brother. Greg and his Chipola Lady Indians finished 2014-15 with a 34-1 record and the National Championship, led by Akhator’s 21.2 points and 16.7 rebounds per game. She was named the JUCO Women’s Player of the Year and he took Coach of the Year honors.
Today, Akhator made it official by signing her Letter of Intent to Kentucky. She chose UK Hoops over Tennessee, Texas and Florida State, and let me tell you, folks: she is the real deal. Greg was showing me videos on his phone at Christmas and I couldn’t believe what I was watching. He’s had four players go in the first round of the WNBA Draft and he said she is “head and shoulders better than all of them.” Again, she’s the real deal.
So with two Franklin products suiting up for Kentucky next season, the family is pretty pumped for UK basketball and we have high expectations for Mychal and Evelyn.
We’ll have plenty of new Christmas Day game film to watch, too.
(And yes, that’s a Chia Uncle Si Robertson. I trust it made it to your desk, Todd.)