The sweet satisfaction of lading a top 50 basketball recruit is something Kentucky fans have grown accustomed to since John Calipari arrived in Lexington a decade ago. That satisfaction is only amplified when said recruit was previously committed to a rival.
Once a Louisville commitment, Bryce Hopkins saw the light and joined the Big Blue Nation. By forsaking the dark side of Bluegrass basketball, Hopkins continues to give Calipari a leg up on the Cardinals. Rick Pitino, Chris Mack, it doesn’t matter — Kentucky eats first. Louisville gets the scraps. This metaphorical main course can be an exceptional playmaker for the Wildcats in 2021.
A 6-foot-7 athlete from the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Hopkins is a consensus top ten power forward. His high school coach, Staunton Peck, described Hopkins as a position-less basketball player that’s only scratched the surface os his potential.
“I think he’s got tremendous upside, I don’t think he’s reached the potential he can reach. He can get even stronger and more athletic with a college strength and conditioning program, which will make him even better,” Peck told KSR. “… I know with Kentucky, the one-and-dones have been big news for them. Bryce, I don’t think that’s absolutely what he’d be, but I do think he’s an NBA talent. His upside is huge, so I wouldn’t be surprised if by his sophomore or junior year, he was one of the best players in the country. That’s my feeling.”
Joining Nolan Hickman as the second player in Kentucky’s 2021 recruiting class, Hopkins’ commitment comes less than a week after Skyy Clark picked Kentucky. Before the week concludes Calipari could add another piece to the puzzle.
Champions Classic Looking for a Home
The Orlando Bubble is no longer an option after ESPN pulled the plug on the season-opening basketball event just one month before it was set to begin. There’s enough money in play to motivate the four-letter network to find a new venue. Nevertheless, it’s frustrating to get this close to the start of the season, yet still have no idea exactly when we’ll see this Kentucky team in action.
Don’t go, DeGregorio!
UK walk-on Isaac DeGregorio joined the program in April. He is now leaving the program before ever suiting up in Kentucky blue. We’ll never know what the bench would’ve looked like with DeGregorio sitting on it.
Rupp Arena Restrictions
The home of Kentucky basketball did not make an official attendance announcement on Monday, but one Kentucky politician did take to social media to complain about the planned 15% maximum capacity at Rupp Arena this season. That means only about 3,500 fans will be able to watch the Wildcats in-person at home.
John Calipari said he never saw the video Chris Mack released that stoked the rivalry’s fire. Okay, Cal, sure you didn’t.
“Do you guys really think I watched that video? You guys know me, “Calipari said. “I didn’t. Somebody told me about it. I can’t even remember who told me there was a lot of whining going on, I don’t know… He and I have talked since then. It never even came up.”
Open Competition at Quarterback
There were three significant changes to Kentucky’s football depth chart after the abysmal outing at Missouri. True freshman Mike Drennen moved into a starting role at slot receiver, and the infamous “or” was inserted next to the names of running back Chris Rodriguez and quarterback Joey Gatewood.
Who will get the start against Georgia? Mark Stoops did not share what he’s looking for this week from Gatewood, although he did say Beau Allen is also in the mix as Terry Wilson missed Monday’s practice with a minor injury. This could be a tactic used to light a fire under Wilson, or the start of something new on Kentucky’s offense. The only certainty in this open competition is that whoever is taking snaps on Saturday will be facing the most difficult defensive challenge of the season.
Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran may provide a little more clarity on the quarterback situation when he speaks with the media around 5 pm ET this evening.
A New World Series Crown?
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from their first World Series victory since 1988. Winners of the NL Pennant three times in the last four years, LA has a 3-2 advantage over the Tampa Bay Rays entering game six. If starter Tony Gonsolin can secure the win, two Kentuckians will become World Series Champions, catcher Will Smith (Louisville) and pitcher Walker Buehler (Lexington).
— The Masters (@TheMasters) October 26, 2020