Friday, June 19, 2015

LSU Freshman, Ben Simmons Wants to Beat Kentucky... BAD



Ben Simmons, who has got to be the highest ranked basketball recruit that LSU has seen in the last 50 years is already running his mouth about the up-coming basketball season..... or at least his brother is.

As reported by Zagsblog.com, Simmons' brother, Liam says that Ben would "love nothing more than to go into Kentucky and beat them ... rather than go to Kentucky and win a Championship because that's expected."

I'll take that as a challenge, a compliment and a sign as that he couldn't hang in the Bluegrass... Also BRING IT SON....

Also... I should I add that he said this...

I don’t see why we can’t be the best team in the SEC,” Simmons said. “Kentucky has good players but we have good players, too. It depends what leaders you have, who can lead. Me going to LSU is huge because I have to be a freshman and lead. I could have gone to Kentucky and been one of the other guys just playing there and trying to leave.
“For me, though, I want to leave a legacy — and that’s at LSU.

Again... BRING IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Calipari's PRE NBA Draft Press Conference



Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
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“Let me start by telling you the approach that we take with all these kids. We basically play position-less basketball and have for some time. It’s not trying to pigeon hole any player in one position. I want them all to be multi-position players. When you look at Willie (Cauley-Stein), Karl (Towns) if he had his druthers would’ve been a two-guard. Now you’re talking about a post player who could step out on the court, which was not unanimous. It was other players who were going to be that one pick. Now when you look at it, it should be him. We put Trey (Lyles) at the three position to make him more versatile. Now you’re talking about our guards, who are big. Because of Tyler Ulis, Andrew (Harrison) can play with another point guard. Aaron (Harrison) can play the three if he needed to because of his size. You’re looking at Devin Booker and you’re saying, ‘Wait a minute, that kind of shooting and that size?’ All of the sudden, you get what we were trying to do. Our goal is not just to help guys get into the league; we want guys to become all-stars. We had three last year, and if you took Derrick Rose as a fourth, then our goal would be to say, ‘Hey, half of the NBA all-stars started with us.’ It is about position-less basketball, and when you look at our guys, I think you say, ‘Wow, all of them do have the ability to play two and three more positions than before.”

On what is special about Willie Cauley-Stein ...

“First of all, you get a guy that’s 7 foot – he might be bigger – whose feet and hands are that of a 6-3, super athletic guard, which means he can guard five positions. He can guard a point guard or a big guy. He adds shot-blocking. In the schemes of what I’m seeing in the NBA, which are pick and run to the rim and make them play that guy, putting guys in the dribble drive motion, which you saw in Golden State where guys are behind that backboard. The guys in Utah used to do it. He can do all that. A lot of these kids have been groomed since they were 6 years old. Willie really started playing when he came with us. When I saw him in high school at an AAU event, he had two points and two rebounds in a game and he was from the state of Kansas and Kansas did not recruit him. What I say to you about his offensive game is he’s better than you think and you mold him into what you want him to be. People say, ‘He’s only coming into his own now. Why?’ Because he just started playing. I’m looking at him and saying he’s one of those guys that’ll do the things to get a team over the hump. The other thing that was thrown at me was, ‘Is he really a gym rat?’ I’ve had, in my time, three guys off the top of my head that I can say were gym rats. One was Derrick Rose. I used to drag him out of the gym. ‘You’re in here too much.’ Brandon Knight and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (are the others). Those guys were in the gym too much. But Willie plays and loves to play. He’s coming into his own. Anthony Davis wasn’t a gym rat and he’s OK. I think that’s been overblown and it’s almost like you’re trying to pick something out that he’s not. He hasn’t played as long as some of these guys. He’s going to be one of those guys next year that is well-spoken and the fans are going to love him wherever he goes. I have an idea of the three spots that are looking at him, but I don’t think he’s going to go (past) the third one. I understand the small ball. Small ball is because a 6-7 guy can move his feet and hands like a guard, but now you’ve got a 7-footer that can do the same. In three years, if someone has two 7-footers that can move their feet, then we’re going back to the twin towers. This is a guy that’s a unique 7-footer and can fly up and down the court. I think he’s going to be really good.”

On if he’s talked to Phil Jackson or Derek Fisher (New York Knicks) about Willie Cauley-Stein ...

“We haven’t talked yet. I talked to Mark Warkentien. He and I have known each other for 20 years or longer. When Phil came down, we spoke a little bit, but if they want to talk to me then they’ll call. It’s a little early right now. Guys are still formulating what they’re doing. I talked to a lot of teams about all these
kids, but it’s more background. They haven’t gotten to, ‘OK, if we do this ...’ Those calls will come next week.”

On the versatility of Karl-Anthony Towns ...

“He’s developed into a player. He had no real post game, and I told him, ‘You’re going to be a post player that can play out on the floor. You’re going to learn to play pick-and-roll defense. You’re going to have an idea of how to keep a quicker guard in front of you, block shots and play that way. You will fly up and down this court. You have a chance to be the No. 1 pick.’ Earlier in the year he would say, ‘What, Coach? I was an afterthought. They had this guy and that guy.’ I said, ‘You just stay the course. I’m telling you that you can do this.’ At this point, he’s going to have the opportunity as is appears. He’s a great kid and one of the nicest people you’re ever going to meet. He can shoot 3s, but that’s not going to be who he is. You’re going to have to guard him in pick-and-pops or if he’s trailing in the break. He has more ball skills than I would let him show. I told him, ‘You’re catching that ball four feet out and scoring or you won’t be in the game.’ I forced him. He had no choice. All of the sudden he became unstoppable late in the year. Believe me when I tell you, we coached him with the Dominican (Republic National) Team and Del Harris was the first to say, ‘Son, do you think you’re going to be playing if you’re shooting 3s? You have to be able to sit in the post.’ He had nothing then. He works hard and is a great teammate. I read something today that said, ‘They’ll look back on him and ask who the only guy to hold him under 20 points?’ Then they’ll say, ‘Calipari.’ I’ve had good ones, but he’s right there with those guys that you look back and say, ‘Whoever picks him may never trade him.’ There’s only a few of those in the league and he’ll be one of them.”

On Devin Booker’s overall game and what he brings to the table other than his shooting ...

“Devin Booker and Moss Point, Mississippi. I saw him play in the Global Games in Washington, D.C., and he barely got off the bench on one of the regional teams that played. My concern for him was defensively. I knew he could shoot. When we got him, my whole thing was, ‘You’re not going to be a standstill shooter. You’re going to create and go to the basket. You’re going to defend or you won’t play.’ He ended up being a much better defensive player than I ever imagined to where he rebounded. He’s almost 6-7. Everyone that’s brought him in has said, ‘Cal, we thought he was like 6-4.’ We all grew up shooting set shots. Everyone on this phone that’s listening – and you’ll smile right now because you tiptoed shots and you jumped three inches off the ground – and that’s when you really jumped. This kid, when he shoots around the elbow, will jump 18 inches and let it go. We had to get him to get it off quicker. In high school you just jump over them and nobody’s there. In college, if you jump then they’re jumping. You have to get it off quicker because they can’t jump as high moving as you can with the ball. You don’t want to be a guy in that league that is a catch-and-shoot guy because they’ll take that away. In rotations, defensively, you have to be able to get it to the rim. You have to be able to finish when there’s contact. You create the contact and finish. We worked on all of that with him and he came so far, but has a ways to go with that. That’s what the NBA will clean up. You’re talking about a big guard who can shoot, Klay Thompson-ish. That’s what he looks like. The league now is create a rotation defensively and take advantage of that rotation. With him out on the court, either you don’t let him get it and it’s four-on- four or you do let him get it and he’s looking for a pull-up 3 or drive to the elbow. You teach him to finish at the rim and it’s pretty good. In the league at his size, he could end up guarding someone that’s 6-4 or 6-5.”

On his conversations with Aaron Harrison and what feedback he’s gotten from the NBA on the Harrisons
...“I’m not worried. I think he’ll be drafted. And let me say this: I’ll go even further; I think he’ll be in the league for a while. And I believe that because of his ability to play multiple positions. He’s not locked into any position. (At) 6-6 and his size, everyone knows that this kid makes game-winning shots. There’s not a whole lot in the league like that let alone a guy in the draft like that. So I think he’s going to be fine. I think, again, and I’ve said this, I told both he and Andrew that we’ve got to finish this off because if we don’t, you’re going to get the undue criticism. It’s not fair, it’s not right. I’m just telling you. And it happened. But I’ll say this again: Andrew has played well in these things. I’m getting calls. You’re talking in that late first, maybe early second. But I think he’s going to bounce into that early first because everybody is like, ‘We’re not getting this (criticism of him). He’s this big, he’s this athletic, he’s this skilled. Left and right hand. There’s something missing here.’ With Aaron, just so you know, where he’s projected, most guys are worrying about their one pick right now so they’re not zeroed in on as much as, ‘OK, who are we taking at 35 to 45.’ So I haven’t talked to many of those guys yet. They’re more concerned with the guys in front of them.”

On Trey Lyles working out with the New York Knicks today and what they’re looking at from him ...

“I will tell you this: When they came in, they watched practice. Phil (Jackson) watched practice, watched shootaround, watched games. What I’m hearing is he walked away saying, ‘This is the kind of player in the Triangle who has great (size).’ He’s 6-10. We played him at a three. I could have had him closer to the elbows and basket, and he could have scored more and done more, but people that really know the game walked away saying, ‘Wait a minute, the kid can shoot, he can pass. He’s really skilled. He’s got size. He’s physical enough to be able to come in and guard his position right now.’ So I think they really liked him. The one thing people don’t realize about Trey because he is soft-spoken – they think, ‘Well, he’s not assertive.’ Let me just say this: If a fight breaks out, he’s not moving. He will not move. And he’s one that that stuff is in him, and it’s just like, OK, he gets in a competitive environment and it comes out and you go like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ Again, I think he’s a guy that, whoever takes him, they’re going to say, ‘We didn’t realize (he was this good).’ And that’s part of this (what we did this year). No one guy hurt in what we just went through. And everybody has improved their position from where we started to now. And now you’re saying with a guy like Trey, you’re talking the low number into what, 12? And again, he may be one of those guys that people pass on to take a flyer and they make look back and said, ‘Oh my god, 6- 10. In college they played him at the three. He’s a stretch four.’ When you’re talking about these teams that are going small, now you think about your four being a stretch four who can shoot the 3 and play that way, but he’s 6-10. He’s all of 6-10. So I’m not worried about Trey, and I’m also not worried when he gets in there how he’s going to perform because he’s got some fight in him now.”

On Dakari Johnson’s future and how he’s handled things over the last month ...

“I talked to Donnie McLean, who is working him out in California, and he was surprised. One, they were surprised at his size and his skill set. When he went to meet with the teams, the teams that I talked to came back with two things: They didn’t realize he was this young. Like, basically he would be a freshman because he reclassified (in high school). The second thing they didn’t realize is how smart he is. He looks older. So you look at him, he looks older. They sat down and they talked to him, and I basically tried to explain what his grandfather was, where he came from. His grandfather was an activist in New York, and I went to the funeral and it was like, who was this guy? And one person after another talked about what he had done for their lives. This kid has learned the right way. In the league right now, everybody is talking about getting smaller. Well, all of a sudden you have a chance late in that first round to get a 7- footer and you’re saying, ‘There’s just not many guys with this kind of body.’ When you talk about – hey, he can go bang with one of these big guys, he can. I think his game is all out ahead of him. From what I’m hearing, it’s late first (round). Maybe something happens where someone goes to those three teams that are saying right now that he’s right there and they get somebody and maybe he drops early second, but I just can’t see it right now. What I’m hearing back there is he’ll be in that late first somewhere.”

On what makes Karl-AnthonyTowns a good fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 1 and his character overall...

“The character, I don’t think there’s any question. Everybody that’s ever come in contact with him (loves him). The Timberwolves have probably contacted, and they’re like, oh my gosh, he’s one of the great kids of all-time – and he is. But there’s two things for Minnesota and Minnesota’s fans: The first thing is he is an unbelievable teammate. I want you to understand he’s the No. 1 pick, he played 24 minutes, and was fine, and cheered on Willie, and did everything he could to get Willie going and was fine with – if Aaron took all the shots, he didn’t care. He was a great teammate. That’s one. The second thing is, he likes
Minnesota. He said from day one, ‘I’ll go to Minnesota. I love it. Let’s build something.’ So I think those are the two things that are so important. And when you’re building a franchise and trying to get it done like Flip (Saunders) and Milt (Newton) are right now, which are with young guys – veteran guys understand how you’ve got to be together and how you have to be a great teammate to make it work. Young guys are going into the league just trying to score and get paid. Karl comes in, he is a great teammate. But more importantly, for the fans and the team up there, he’s fine. He said, ‘Let’s go Minnesota!’ So I think those are the two important things.” 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Calipari Summer Press Conference QUOTES...



                                                           Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari:
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On the loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four ...
“First of all, I never thought we were going to lose last year. When we won a couple of games and how we won them, and then what we did to West Virginia, I just didn’t think we’d lose. It hurts because we had a chance, and even though we made history, we had a chance to be one of those iconic teams. I haven’t spent a lot of time reflecting, but the thing with this job is that stuff never ends. You’re always doing something. Even when I took some time earlier after the season, we were still in the throes of recruiting and I was on the phone, but it hurt us all. We all thought we were winning the whole thing. We thought we were going 40-0.”

On why UK lost to Wisconsin ...
“We didn’t play as well, but Wisconsin played great. Look, every team that we played this year played their best. Wisconsin at their best, they’re good. When you talk about teams last year: Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arizona, us, Duke, maybe one or two more, maybe Michigan State, which was playing well at the end. Those were the teams and we had to go through most of them to get there. The hard thing about that tournament is one game someone plays out of their mind and one game you don’t play up to par. When we had a four-point lead with five minutes to go, I don’t think there was anybody in the universe that didn’t think we were winning the game because we always did. It surprised me how we finished, but it happened. And you gotta give Wisconsin credit.”

On the roster for next season ...
“I feel good about it. I just think we will be different. Kind of excited about it. I think this may be one of those multiple pick-and-roll kind of teams. Could be more of a dribble drive team than I’ve had here in a while. I think we have a little bit of everything, and again there’s no one like anyone else on the team. There are not two guys that are similar. Every guy is different and has his own thing. It’s exciting because we’re still going to be good. I think college basketball will come back a little bit. This past year there were really good teams.”

On why it’s good to have a team with diverse skill sets ...
“Because they can worry about being the best versions of themselves. They don’t have to worry about anybody else. Just be your best and that’s going to be good enough for us and for that player.”

On looking forward to coaching without platooning ...
“That was hard last year. No. 1, I had never done it. And so there were all kinds of things we were dealing with, and not just on the basketball court. You’re basically having to sell how we’re doing this and how it’s going to benefit each player. And it did. Karl-Anthony Towns got better. And now he’s projected as the No. 1 pick. Willie Cauley-Stein got better. If we had play six or seven guys could Willie or Karl done what they had done? I don’t know. I do know this: We got better with the way we did it. Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari (Johnson), the (Harrison) twins, they all got better. So I don’t think anybody was hurt by it and our program obviously wasn’t hurt by it. We set records. We were historic. A little bit short of what we wanted to do, but still a historic team. And our thing every year is how do we just get guys better? How do we play that will benefit these players, which in the end benefits the program and benefits the University and all those things. There was a young woman from the military being interviewed. They asked her, ‘What makes a great leader in the military?’ Without hesitation she said, ‘They love their people.’ And it didn’t say
strategically this. They loved their people and they made decisions based on that. That’s what we do here. It’s not like you can be that way, but not care about results. You can do both. They are when you zero in on those, those get you more than you can get any other way in my opinion.”

On comparing the buildup to next season with his previous years at UK ...
“The other years we brought in some pretty good freshmen. We had some pretty good veterans and those were the teams that did well. When you talk about Tyler Ulis, everyone that talks to me about him says that they love him as a player. I was just with Steve Alford and he said, ‘I absolutely loved Ulis.’ Alex is going to be back. Before he got injured, you had people telling us that he was going to have a monster year. You watch him. I’ve had more people come up to me and say that now is Marcus Lee’s time to shine. He’s ready for it. You also look at Dominique (Hawkins) and what he’s been able to do. You have some veterans. Derek Wills, who now should not feel anxiety, but be able to come back and lead a group of young players who are pretty good.”

On Alex Poythress’ rehab ...
“He sent me some videos. He was doing some box jumping, he’s probably running at slow pace right now, but he’s running, jumping, doing stuff. But obviously it takes time.”

On Poythress playing at the No. 4 spot or the perimeter ...
“Depends, but he can do both. It’s nice that you can play, now obviously you guys remember down in the Bahamas where he was in that slot and he was ridiculous. So we’ll see. If that’s where he’s at his best, then that’s where we’ll play him.”

On other coaches hurting him in recruiting ...
“I don’t know if it was that, but there were a lot of things that were thrown, and look, here’s again, I put this out because I had heard LeBron had said it: Where his game changed when instead of worrying about being great, he was worried about the process to be great. It changed him. That’s what happens here. If you’re into ‘I just want to show you what I can do,’ it’s hard. You’re going to be here with six, seven other guys that can all play. If you want to be the only guy that can score. Some people think, ‘Well, my best chance of getting where I want to go is being the main guy and taking all the shots and playing all the minutes.’ Really? Ask Devin Booker. Really? But if you really believe that, and I’m not going to convince you of anything different, you won’t come here. So I don’t think it was just that, but it’s hard for me when 26 in six years, when they’ve had the academic success they’ve had, when they’ve had 14 players have graduated, three in three years. Where it’s more of a college experience for these kids. Where they have a lifetime education, so when they come back they can get their degree and where you come in here and perform and prepare yourself to go forward. You have to admit that our guys in the league have had great success. They’re not flaming out. They’re not all max contracts, but more than anybody else I’d say.”

On negative recruiting against UK given the program’s successes in recent NBA drafts ...
“They’re good. I mean really good. I started talking to a friend of mine and he started coming back with the answers and I said, believe me, I know all that, but this thing is hard because again, a lot of times kids are looking for the easiest route to what they want to do. They think, well, I’m there with seven other guys or six other guys and they all can play, how hard am I going to have to work? I’d rather be my only guy and I will get all of the balls. You try to explain that’s not the path. The path is the process to get better and that that is what you enjoy. What we did with Anthony (Davis) and Karl(-Anthony Towns) both. Karl just phoned me yesterday. He called yesterday and we were talking about we forced him to do stuff he didn’t want to do. Like, you’re going to get in the post and you’re going to become tougher. We did it with Anthony and now look at Anthony’s game. Now they’re all writing about Karl like he’s got all this. Yeah, but you had to have him establish toughness, a post presence, free-throw shooting, all the things like being able to guard pick and roll. So it moved Karl from a guy that they said boy, if only he were tougher. Now all of the sudden he is a lock to be the No. 1 pick.”

What does Mychal Mulder bring to the team ...
“The good news is he’s played in a terrific program where there were other really good players he played with, yet he was still a First Team All-American. He can really shoot. Terrific athletically. We may press more. This may be a team that I press more with. May go back to some of the presses I used at Memphis. But until I get everyone, we won’t know that. But he can, with his length and his athleticism, he gives us that – Charles (Matthews) gives us a different look than he gives us. Charles is more of a slasher. And Mychal is making 3s. They’re both pretty athletic. Mychal is probably more so than Charles. Charles is probably a little tougher. They’re just different, which is perfect.”

On his expectations and outlook for Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins ...
“It doesn’t matter what I envision it’s what they envision for themselves. And they’ve got to come in and do it. Which is why (I made) my comment don’t come here not expecting to play this time. You expect to play. Then you make that happen. You fight for your spot. You improve your skills. ‘Well, if I just had more time.’ No, then you’d be bad for more time. No, it isn’t about more time. It’s you earn your minutes. You – and I’m not saying those two specifically, I’m saying any player. ‘Well, if I just got more time.’ Really? What would you be? 0 for 12 now? ‘Well, you know, I wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake.’ Really? Or would you just make twice as many mistakes? And then the confidence that they have you build that through the process and enjoying the day-to-day grind of the process. Instead of – I’m going to be great, no I’m going to go through the process to be great. And then go into games and perform. You build your confidence. If you’re not confident then no one on the court is confident with you, and the coach is not confident in you. If you’re confident then the players around you are confident with you, and the coach is confident – ‘he’s alright.’ But, you have to be confident and you have to build that yourself. And there’s only one way to do that – through the process of getting better and better and better which brings great joy to you, more than the anxiety of worrying about being great. Just go every day. And then when you get in games – perform. You build your own confidence. So, that’s for all of the guys that we talk about not just Dom and Derek. But, I’m proud of where they’ve gone with themselves as students, with themselves on the basketball floor – how they’ve improved, how much stronger they are, how much they’ve grown and matured. Both of them. Derek has matured more than I can even tell you. Now, he’s got to get on that court and it can’t be ‘Ah we wish he could play more.’ It’s ‘Look at him play. He needs to get more minutes.’ You know?”

On what Derek Willis has to do to get more playing time and what he meant when he said Willis doesn’t have anxiety anymore ... “Well, they all do (have anxiety). Anyone that’s trying to break their way through and doesn’t know exactly how it’s all going to play out, you have anxiety. I think he’s gotten better and better. He’s done great in school. And he and Dom are on, like, a normal college path. I mean, the first couple of years you don’t play a whole lot, you’re trying to bust through your third year, and you’re trying to make sure your senior year is, you know, you’re fulfilling your own dreams. But they’re on a normal path. It’s just, for some reason here, it doesn’t seem normal but it is normal.”

On fighting the perception of what’s wrong with a player if he stays more than one year ...
“They tried to say that with Willie. Willie went from where he was to being more prepared. I mean, it’s all in each individual player, but yeah, they would feel that. But it’s not just here; it’s everywhere. If a kid was a really good player and he went to a school saying, ‘I want to be the only guy that can play,’ and he gets in there and they start double
teaming him and now all of a sudden he’s there three or four years, did he fail or did you pick the wrong school? Or did you have the wrong idea of how you were going to get there? Or did you really fail? Or did you do it the right way? I mean, each kid is different, and Dom and Derek came in on a different track than some of the other kids. But I’ll tell you what, they both have gotten better. They’re both great kids and great students, and I’m rooting for them. They know that. And I told them, ‘You better come back here expecting to play.’ I told them that at the end of the year: ‘You come back here expecting to play.’ Now you go make it happen. I can’t do it for them. They’re going to have to do it.”

On his expectations and outlook for Willis and Hawkins ...
“It doesn’t matter what I envision. It’s what they envision for themselves. And they’ve got to come in and do it. Which is why (I made) my comment, ‘Don’t come here not expecting to play this time.’ You expect to play. Then you make that happen. You fight for your spot. You improve your skills. ‘Well, if I just had more time.’ No, then you’d be bad for more time. No, it isn’t about more time. It’s you earn your minutes. You – and I’m not saying those two specifically, I’m saying any player. ‘Well, if I just got more time.’ Really? What would you be? 0 for 12 now? ‘Well, you know, I wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake.’ Really? Or would you just make twice as many mistakes? And then the confidence that they have, you build that through the process and enjoying the day-to-day grind of the process. Instead of I’m going to be great, no, I’m going to go through the process to be great. And then go into games and perform. You build your confidence. If you’re not confident then no one on the court is confident with you, and the coach is not confident in you. If you’re confident then the players around you are confident with you, and the coach is confident – ‘he’s alright.’ But, you have to be confident and you have to build that yourself. And there’s only one way to do that: through the process of getting better and better and better, which brings great joy to you, more than the anxiety of worrying about being great. Just go every day. And then when you get in games, perform. You build your own confidence. So, that’s for all of the guys that we talk about not just Dom and Derek. But, I’m proud of where they’ve gone with themselves as students, with themselves on the basketball floor, how they’ve improved, how much stronger they are, how much they’ve grown and matured – both of them. Derek has matured more than I can even tell you. Now, he’s got to get on that court and it can’t be, ‘Ah we wish he could play more.’ It’s, ‘Look at him play. He needs to get more minutes.’ You know?” 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Jamal Murray Talks To Zags Blog About Kentucky Visit



According to ZagsBlog.com, Jamal Murray enjoyed his recent visit to Kentucky, but is still looking at his options.

Murray said he liked what UK had to offer and also said "They get guys to the NBA quick and they really develop each individual to the best of their abilities."

When asked what Kentucky would do with three point guards next season (Briscoe and Ulis being the other two), Murray said "We didn’t really discuss that. We’ll be good in the backcourt. I would complement them. We’ll complement each other." He also went on to say what Coach Cal liked about his game saying "He likes my shooting ability, my range, whatever I do on the court, he likes.  My playmaking ability."

When it came to the question of whether he was going to reclassify to this years class or not, Murray said "My dad’s taking care of it. That’s a choice for my dad to make." He also went onto say that there was no timetable for a decision. Check out the full article on ZagsBlog.com

Kentucky's NON-Conference Schedule



Seventh-year head coach John Calipari demands the gold standard in every aspect of the Kentucky men’s basketball program. The Wildcats’ 2015-16 schedule will once again meet that demand as Calipari announced a 13-game non-conference schedule on Thursday that features 10 games against teams who advanced to the postseason a season ago.

That list includes national champion Duke in the third game of the season at the Champions Classic in the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 17. In all, the Wildcats will take on six NCAA Tournament squads, two NIT participants and two teams that advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The average final RPI of the teams comes in at 105, with five teams in the all-important top 50 of the RPI.

“Putting a schedule together, especially one like this, is fun,” Calipari said. “Having to play those games is a different story. To understate it, this will obviously be a challenging schedule for a young team like ours, which lost more than 85 percent of its scoring and nearly 80 percent of its rebounding. We’re excited for the challenge.”

In addition to Duke, the Wildcats will also take on powerhouses such as UCLA, Ohio State, Kansas and the annual rivalry game with Louisville. Along the way, UK will make marquee stops in the aforementioned United Center, Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, and Miami in the Heat’s American Airlines Arena. Furthermore, the schedule features road trips to storied buildings such as Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse and the first-ever meeting against the Bruins in 
Pauley Pavilion.

The schedule includes eight home games highlighted by dates with Louisville and Arizona State. The Sun Devils and newly hired head coach Bobby Hurley, who directed his former team Buffalo to one of the more exciting games against the Cats in 2014, will come to town on Dec. 12. The matchup with the Sun Devils begins a three-week stretch against power five conference opponents, followed by Ohio State in Brooklyn on Dec. 19 and the annual matchup with Louisville on Dec. 26 in Rupp Arena in a series in which the Cats have taken six of the last seven meetings.

The season kicks off with home games on back-to-back days for the first time since Dec. 6-7, 2008. UK will open the year against America East champion Albany on Nov. 13 before hosting NJIT the following day. The Highlanders are aCollegeInsider.com semifinalist and a team that upset Michigan in Ann Arbor a season ago.

The Wildcats will venture to Chicago for the Duke contest before returning home to host Wright State (Nov. 20) and Boston (Nov. 24) for the second consecutive season. A matchup with Illinois State concludes the month of November, while UK will have three home games in the month of December beginning with the second consecutive meeting against EKU on Dec. 9.

UK’s 2015 Southeastern Conference schedule will feature nine home games and nine away games, which will be announced at a later date. It’s the fourth straight year the SEC will feature an 18-game schedule.

Big Blue Madness, the Blue-White Scrimmage, exhibition contests, and complete game times and TV information will be released at a later date.
A complete team-by-team breakdown of UK’s non-conference foes is below:

ALBANY (Rupp Arena, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015)
Kentucky and Albany will meet for the first time in program history on Nov. 13, 2015 in Rupp Arena in the season-opening game. Albany is coming off its third consecutive American East Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. The Great Danes were a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament after earning an automatic bid on a game-winning shot in the league’s championship game. This game will be a part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.

The Great Danes were 24-9 overall in 2014-15 under the direction of Will Brown. Brown has guided Albany to five NCAA Tournament berths in his 14 years as head coach. The No. 14 seed was the highest in the five tournament berths under Brown. The 2015 American East Coach of the Year owns the most league championships of any American East coach and is 5-0 in conference tournament championship games. The Great Danes will return two of their top three scorers from last season in Peter Hooley (13.7) and Evan Singletary (13.0).

NJIT (Rupp Arena, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015)
NJIT will mark the second first-time opponent for the Wildcats to open the season when the Highlanders visit Rupp Arena on Nov. 14. NJIT is coming off a 21-12 overall record in 2014-15, which included an upset at No. 17 Michigan. The Highlanders participated in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and advanced to the semifinals before falling to Northern Arizona, 68-61. This game will also be a part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.

The Highlanders are coached by Jim Engles, who has been with the program since 2008-09 and helped the school to the Great West Conference championship in 2013. Damon Lynn and Tim Coleman highlight the returning players. Lynn was the team’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game, while Coleman was one of four Highlanders to average double-figure scoring in 2014-15.

DUKE (United Center, Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015)
Kentucky will take on the reigning national champions in Duke at the Champions Classic in the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 17. It will mark the 21st meeting between the two bluebloods and the first since a neutral-site meeting during the 2012-13 season in Atlanta. The Wildcats own an 11-9 overall record in the series, but the Blue Devils have won each of the previous three meetings.

Duke is coached by Mike Krzyzewski, who has garnered more than 1,000 career wins and four national titles. The Blue Devils will be paced by returning players Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones, who all played more than 20 minutes in the national title game.

WRIGHT STATE (Rupp Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015)
The Wildcats will take on Wright State in Rupp Arena on Nov. 20. It will mark the fourth game in the series and the first since 1999. Kentucky is 3-0 all-time in the series with two of the three previous meetings taking place in Lexington.

The Raiders are coming off an 11-20 overall season under the direction of sixth-year head coach Billy Donlon. Donlon was named the Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2013 after the Raiders were picked to finish last, took the third seed in the league tournament and finished the season at 23-13, tying the school record for Division I wins and advancing to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational. Wright State returns its leading scorer in senior forward J.T. Yoho, who averaged 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior.

BOSTON (Rupp Arena, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015)
Kentucky will entertain Boston for the second-consecutive season and the third time under Calipari on Nov. 24. UK is 4-0 all-time against the Terriers, which includes an 89-65 victory a season ago. Junior Dominque Hawkins had a career-high seven points in the win, including a highlight-reel alley-oop dunk in the second half. This will be the third game as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.

The Terriers are led by fifth-year head coach Joe Jones. Jones has guided Boston to a pair of postseason appearances and a regular-season Patriot League championship in 2014. The Terriers will return leading-scorer Cedric Hankerson (15.9) as well as John Papale, who shared team most valuable player honors with Hankerson. Papale averaged 9.2 points and dished out a team-high 102 assists a season ago.

SOUTH FLORIDA (American Airlines Arena, Miami, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015)
Kentucky will travel to Miami to participate in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the American Airlines Arena on Nov. 27. UK’s opponent will be South Florida under the direction of former assistant coach Orlando Antigua. It will mark the first meeting between the two schools, as well as the first meeting between Antigua and his mentor in Calipari. Antigua spent six seasons as an assistant under Calipari including the first five years at Kentucky and one more at Memphis.

Antigua led the Bulls to a 9-23 record in his debut season in South Beach. The Bulls have nine returning players off of that roster, including Chris Perry who was second in scoring a season ago at 10.8 points per game. 

ILLINOIS STATE (Rupp Arena, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015)
UK will meet its third first-time opponent of the season in Illinois State on Nov. 30 in Rupp Arena. The Redbirds earned a 22-13 record in 2014-15, advancing to the second round of the NIT after falling short in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Redbirds upset No. 8 Wichita State during their MVC Tournament run, and ISU has beaten at least one top-25 team in each of its last four seasons.

The Redbirds are led by fourth-year head coach and former Illinois State star Dan Muller. In his first three seasons as head coach, Muller has upset three top-25 ranked teams and is the only coach in program history to achieve that feat. Senior guard DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell highlights the returners for Illinois State after ranking second on the team with 12.8 points per game in 2014-15.

UCLA (Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015)Kentucky and UCLA signed a two-year home-and-home series in December of 2014 set to begin on Dec. 3, 2015 in Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA. It will mark the Wildcats first visit to UCLA's storied facility. UCLA will return the trip on Dec. 3, 2016 in what will be the first matchup of the two bluebloods in Rupp Arena history.

The Wildcats own an all-time record of 7-4 against the Bruins, which includes an 83-44 win in 2014-15 at the United Center in Chicago. UK’s Tyler Ulis scored seven points and dished out six assists in that meeting. UCLA went 22-14 overall a season ago and advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the two seasons under the direction of head coach Steve Alford. The Bruins will be led by junior guard Bryce Alford who averaged 15.4 points per game as a sophomore.

EASTERN KENTUCKY (Rupp Arena, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015)
UK will take on EKU for the second consecutive season in Rupp Arena on Dec. 9. The Wildcats are 11-0 all-time against the Colonels with all but one meeting coming in Lexington. UK claimed an 82-49 victory a season ago. Kentucky’s Marcus Lee scored a season-high 10 points in the victory to help lead the way for the Cats.

Eastern Kentucky went 21-12 this past season and made its third straight appearance in a postseason tournament. Eastern finished first in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division and the Colonels have finished in the top three in the conference each of the last three seasons. First-year Eastern Kentucky head coach Dan McHale is a Kentucky graduate, and the former men’s basketball manager will face his alma matter for the first time this season. The Colonels have 10 returning players from its 2014-15 roster.

ARIZONA STATE (Rupp Arena, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015)
Kentucky is set to host Arizona State under the direction of first-year head coach Bobby Hurley on Dec. 12 in Rupp Arena. The Wildcats own an all-time record of 3-0 against the Sun Devils with the last meeting coming in 2003 in Maui, Hawaii. The teams have met just once before in Lexington in a 94-68 win during the 1991-92 season.

Hurley takes over the Sun Devils program after leading Buffalo to its first-ever Mid-American Conference title and NCAA Tournament berth. His 42 wins at Buffalo were the most ever for a head coach through their first two seasons, including a record-tying 23 wins in 2014-15. Hurley’s Bulls lost to the Wildcats in Rupp Arena, 71-52, in 2014-15. Arizona State earned an 18-16 overall record a season ago.

OHIO STATE (Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015)
Ohio State and Kentucky will meet in the second annual CBS Sports Classic in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Dec. 19. UK owns an 11-8 all-time mark against the Buckeyes with the last meeting coming in 2011 during the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats knocked off the No. 1 seeded-Buckeyes in that meeting to advance to its second consecutive Elite Eight and eventually its first Final Four under Calipari.

The Buckeyes were 24-11 overall in 2014-15 before falling to No. 1 seed Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State lost its top two returning scorers from a season ago, but head coach Thad Matta is a proven winner who has led the Buckeyes to nine NCAA Tournament berths and an NIT championship as he enters his 12th year as head coach of the program.

LOUISVILLE (Rupp Arena, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015)
The Wildcats will host instate rival Louisville on Dec. 26 in Rupp Arena. UK is 33-15 all-time against the Cardinals and has won seven of the last eight meetings in the series, including two wins in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky and Louisville met for the first time as top-five ranked teams and unbeatens in 2014-15 and UK prevailed in the Yum! Center by a 58-50 score. Ulis enjoyed the best game of his young career with a career-high 14 points and two assists.

Louisville went 27-9 a season ago and advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to Michigan State. Rick Pitino’s top four leading scorers will not be among roster members in 2015-16 but reinforcements are on the way with a highly touted recruiting class. Pitino will enter his 16th year with the Cardinals’ program and has led them to 12 NCAA Tournaments, including the 2013 NCAA title.

KANSAS (Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016)The two winningest schools in NCAA Division I history will meet during the 2015-16 season when Kentucky plays Kansas as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 30. The Wildcats will visit Lawrence, Kan., for their first trip to Allen Fieldhouse since 2006 and just their second since the 1989-1990 season. Kentucky is 22-6 all-time against the Jayhawks, which includes last season’s 72-40 win at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Returning Wildcats Hawkins, Alex Poythress, Ulis and Derek Willis combined for 17 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and three steals in that victory.

The Jayhawks were 27-9 overall in 2014-15 and advanced to their 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament after winning their 12th consecutive Big 12 title under 13th-year head coach Bill Self. Leading scorer Perry Ellis (13.8) will pace the returning players in 2015-16.


Tony Barbee Named NEW Men's Basketball Assistant Coach



Barbee, a former head coach at UTEP and Auburn, will rejoin the bench as an assistant coach, a role in which he has served for nine years under Calipari’s tutelage throughout his career. Barbee will fill the vacated position of Barry “Slice” Rohrssen, who accepted the associate head coach position at St. John’s last month.

“I’m excited for Tony, who has been a part of my basketball family for more than 20 years,” Calipari said. “Tony has proven himself to be one of the top coaches in the country. The knowledge and experience he brought to our staff last season was invaluable. To have him be a part of our staff is a blessing for all of us.”

In his first season with the Wildcats, Barbee served as the special assistant to the head coach where he assisted Calipari in a multitude of roles, including game-plan preparation, practice plans and administrative duties within everyday basketball operations.

The Wildcats enjoyed one of the most storied seasons in program history in 2014-15. UK became the first team in NCAA history to begin a season 38-0. The Wildcats also claimed the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament crowns, while also advancing to their 17th appearance in the Final Four in school history.

“I really enjoyed my first season in Lexington and I’m looking forward to returning to the bench as a coach,” Barbee said. “I’m grateful to Coach Cal for giving me the opportunity to represent this prestigious program and university in this capacity.”

Barbee was previously the head coach at UTEP and at Auburn and has served as either a graduate assistant or assistant coach under Calipari for nine seasons. He also played for Calipari at the University of Massachusetts before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the UMass staff in 1995-96. The Minutemen advanced to the NCAA Final Four in Barbee’s first season as a member of the coaching staff.

He served as an assistant coach for two seasons at UMass before taking an assistant coaching position at Wyoming. Barbee rejoined Calipari as an assistant at Memphis for six seasons beginning in the 2000-01 season.  The Tigers earned a 20-win season in each of his six years on staff. The Tigers claimed a pair of Conference USA titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times during his tenure, including an Elite Eight run during his final season.

Barbee was hired as UTEP’s head coach in 2006. During his four-year tenure at the helm of the Miners’ program, he averaged 20.5 wins per season and exceeded his win total from year to year. His most prolific season at UTEP was his last in which he led the Miners to a 26-7 overall record, a C-USA regular-season title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10.

He became Auburn’s head coach prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. He spent four seasons with the Tigers and amassed an overall 131-127 record during his two head coaching stints.
As a player, Barbee helped lead the Minutemen to a pair of Atlantic 10 championships and two NCAA Tournament berths. UMass went 91-39 during his four-year career. Barbee still ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories, including scoring with 1,643 points. He was a Second Team All-Atlantic 10 player in 1991 and 1993 and an A-10 Freshman Team selection in 1990.

The Indianapolis native played professionally in Spain and France after his collegiate career. He earned a bachelor of arts in sports management with a minor in African-American studies from UMass in 1993. He and his wife, Holly, have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra, and a son, Andrew Marsh.


Tony Barbee's All-time Record:


Head Coaching Record
Year
School
Record
Pct.
Conf. (Finish)
Postseason/Notes
2006-07
UTEP
14-17
.452
6-10 (10th)
2007-08
UTEP
19-14
.576
8-8 (t-6th)
College Basketball Inv. semifinals
2008-09
UTEP
23-14
.622
10-6 (t-4th)
College Basketball Inv. runner-up
2009-10
UTEP
26-7
.788
15-1 (Champions)
NCAA (First Round)/C-USA Coach of Year
2010-11
Auburn
11-20
.355
4-12 (5th, Western)
2011-12
Auburn
15-16
.484
5-11 (10th)
2012-13
Auburn
9-23
.281
3-15 (14th)
2013-14
Auburn
14-16
.508
6-12 (12th)
Total
131-127
.508
57-75 (.432)
Assistant Coaching Record
Year
School
Record
Pct.
Conf. (Finish)
Postseason/Notes
1995-96
UMass (graduate asst.)
35-2
.946
15-1 (Champions)
NCAA (Final Four)/A-10 Tour. Champs
1996-97
UMass
19-14
.575
11-5 (3rd, East)
NCAA (First Round)
1997-98
UMass
21-11
.656
12-4 (t-2nd, East)
NCAA (First Round)
1998-99
Wyoming
18-10
.643
7-7 (t-4th, Mountain)
NIT (Second Round)
1999-2000
UMass
17-16
.515
9-7 (3rd, East)
NIT (First Round)
2000-01
Memphis
21-15
.583
10-6 (2nd, National)
NIT (Third Place)
2001-02
Memphis
27-9
.750
12-4 (1st, National)
NIT (Champions)
2002-03
Memphis
23-7
.767
13-3 (1st, National)
NCAA (First Round)
2003-04
Memphis
22-8
.733
12-4 (co-Champions)
NCAA (Second Round)
2004-05
Memphis
22-16
.579
9-7 (t-6th)
NIT (Semifinals)
2005-06
Memphis
33-4
.892
13-1 (Champions)
NCAA (Elite 8)/C-USA Tour. Champs
Total
258-112
.697
123-49 (.715)
Collegiate Playing Record
Year
School
Record
Pct.
Conf. (Finish)
Postseason/Notes
1989-90
UMass
17-14
.548
10-8 (6th)
NIT (First Round), Atlantic-10 All-Freshman
1990-91
UMass
20-13
.606
10-8 (t-3rd)
NIT (Final Four), Atlantic-10 2nd-team
1991-92
UMass
30-5
.857
13-3 (Champions)
NCAA (Sweet 16)/A-10 Tour. Champs
1992-93
UMass
24-7
.774
11-3 (Champions)
NCAA (2nd Round), A-10 2nd-team;Tour.Champs
Total
.700
44-22 (.667)