Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
At the begining of the season, the consensus was that without Enes Kanter Kentucky didn't have a chance. No inside presence is what had everyone worried. The general thought was that if Kentucky had to depend on Josh Harrellson to hold down the middle, they would get abused inside. To be fair, the first few games proved that feeling to be spot on, then came the Louisville game. I'm not sure what happened, but something lit a fire under the man they call Jorts. He came out and played as if he had something to prove scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, and the rest is history. Fast forward to last night, and all of a sudden we are seeing Jorts go from the bathroom stall to getting drafted in the second round #45 to the Hornets (traded to the Knicks) when most mock drafts didn't even have him on their boards.
Without John Calipari this never would have happened to Josh. After a little run in with Calipari over a post on twitter that about led to Harrellson's departure from the team, Calipari done something the last coach couldn't or wouldn't take the time to do. He forced him to improve his game to the point of being a vital reason for Kentucky's Final Four run, and ultimately getting his name called in the draft. What Calipari done to have Harrellson achieve such a big turn around may never be known. But one thing is for sure, without Calipari, this would not have been possible.
Then comes DeAndre Liggins. Again, another player the last coach had given up on, and had everyone thinking he was problem for any team. Enter Calipari, and you have another story of taking a player who just couldn't seem to find his place on a team filled with talent, to turning him into another vital reason for Kentucky's Final Four run. As with Harrellson, I'm not sure what Calipari did to turn Liggins' career around, but he did. Liggins went from being lost as a player to getting drafted in the second round of the NBA draft to the Orlando Magic at #53. That was something that if mentioned at the beginning of the year, you would have been fitted for a straightjacket.
Everyone talks about how many "one and done's" Calipari puts in the draft. But what is never mentioned is his ability to DEVELOP a player to the point of getting a shot to make an NBA team. It's never mentioned how he could take two players that the last coach made bench warmers, and make them the backbone of the team. When you turn two players like Harrellson and Liggins into potential PROS, that speaks volumes about your ability to be a COACH and is deserving of being recognized!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
With the 8th pick in the NBA draft (a little later than expected) the Detroit Pistons pick up Brandon Knight. You can't go wrong with a player like Knight who can score in so many ways, and can hurt you on defense. Despite what the "experts" say, Knight can go off the dribble with either the right or left hand (watch any game in the NCAA tournament for proof) and get to the rim.
When posed with this question "some say your not a TRUE point guard, what do have to say about that?". Brandon fired back with this response, "I think i proved I was a point guard all year at Kentucky while leading my team to the Final Four".
Well put Brandon, well put.
With the 3rd pick of the NBA draft, the Utah jazz took Kentucky's Enes Kanter. When the pick was made, we learned a couple of things. One, ESPN and other talking heads are never going to let the "Enes got paid" go. And two, Enes is one classy guy.
After he was picked, they asked Enes his thoughts of being picked and he had this to say
"First I want to dedicate my first NBA season to the Kentucky fans. They were so supportive of me all year, and they are just great. They'll always have a place in my heart."
Thanks NCAA for not letting the BEST player in the draft play. You not only punished Enes Kanter, but you punished all of college basketball by not letting them see his talents on display.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tomorrow night is the 2011 NBA Draft, and once again we are looking for some Kentucky flavor in the first few picks. Last season we had 5 players selected in the first round (a first for any team) with three of them being picked in the lottery (Wall, Cousins, and Patterson). Kentucky won't have that many in the draft this season (4) with just two being "underclassman". But out of the three in the draft, two are expected to be picked in the lottery (Kanter, and Knight).
Looking at the latest mock draft, Enes Kanter is slotted at #4 to the Utah Jazz, and Brandon Knight is in at #5 going to Toronto. As for the other two, Liggins is predicted at #59 in the second round to San Antonio, and Josh Harrelson isn't even on the board. There isn't a doubt in my mind that given a chance, both Liggins and Harrelson can make a teams summer league and hopefully work into a contract with someone.
Tomorrow night will be another good advertisement for the Kentucky brand, and no doubt Calipari will have his mug on TV for most of the night which is GREAT for recruiting. So tune in and watch as some of Kentucky's own hope to see their dreams become a reality.
Friday, June 17, 2011
This is just an example of how ridiculous some of the rules the NCAA has come up with. Now I'm not saying ALL the rules and regulations are far fetched, but there is a world of difference between a player taking money and giving a kid a ride to school. But, if the NCAA decided to push it, the university and player could get the same punishment for either example. Follow the link and read the article to see how fine of a line it is between breaking rules and playing by them.
Good read, but kinda surprising to see Kentucky ranked 5th behind the likes of Wisconsin, and New Mexico? But I will agree that the atmosphere in Rupp could stand to be a little more intimidating for opposing teams. Follow the link for the entire list
Friday, June 10, 2011
University of Kentucky Atheletic Director Mitch Barnhart took to twitter today to assure Kentucky fans that he had no interest in the now vacant Tennessee AD job. While addressing his future at Kentucky, he also discussed the status of John Calipari's contract.
@UKMitchBarhart: "We are working on an extension with Cal to ensure that he has a long tenure at Kentucky"
@UKMitchBarnhart: "Cal and I are the same age and share some of the same thoughts on our careers, and I'd like to align his contract with my current 8-yr deal."
@UKMitchBarnhart: "Once we get a finalized contract, we'll make a formal announcement."
Barnhart didn't mention when the contract would be complete, but there have been assumptions that it could be by the end of the month, before Lee Todd retires.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
It appears that Kentucky head coach John Calipari has been nominated for a Regional Emmy Award for his involvement in the "Hoops for Haiti" benefit that he helped put together. The benefit raised over 1.3 million dollars from donations from Kentucky fans, ex Kentucky coaches, and others.
Sure it's just a "regional" Emmy, but still an Emmy, and imagine the outcry from rival fans and media (UofL, Forde, Thaymel) if he would happen to win the award.
But in all seriousness, Congrats to Coach Cal and all those involved for raising that amount of money for the people of Haiti in their time of need. It's something that in my mind never got the national recognition that it deserved.
Mike Decourcy of Sporting News ranks Kentucky the 4th best college coaching job in America. Who is the three above UK?
The only one on the list above Kentucky I agree with is UNC, but UCLA and Texas? UCLA maybe, if it was in the 60s and 70s, but they haven't been much to talk about as of late. Texas? That is a complete joke, but his reason for Texas at 3rd is a good one "there's so much talent and money - and minimal pressure to win it all. What more could a coach want?" True there is minimal pressure, but I'm just not sure if that is reason enough to rank them at 3rd.
I think Kentucky's rank at 4 is about right, except I would have them one slot higher at three behind UNC and Duke. Speaking of Duke, they have a right to be offended where Decourcy has them ranked (8th).
If Duke isn't one of the top three coaching job's in America, then I don't know who is.
Either way, follow the link for his entire top 10
According to Yahoo Sports Jason King, Doron Lamb is one of the most underrated players in the country. I have to say that I agree. Follow the link for the full story...
Thursday, June 2, 2011
This little debate has been making it's round since Steve Spurier made the suggestion at the SEC meetings in Destin Florida yesterday. Everyone has been giving their opinion on the matter, so I figured it was time for mine.
Student athletes have been earning universities BIG money for years, with no finical benefit coming to the STUDENT ATHLETE. I know they are SUPPOSED to be there for an education and some are, but let's be honest. The ones who are gifted enough to achieve the ultimate goal of "playing for pay" aren't really there for the academic benefits the school has to offer.
Just about every kid who is fortunate enough to actually play division 1 basketball, has the dream of going to the next level. Although most don't succeed in reaching that dream, they work their tails off to have a chance. All the while, the big name university sets back and rakes in piles of cash from jersey sells, ticket sells, and TV programing that the student athlete made possible. And what does the student athlete get in return? Don't give me the " a free education" argument, because the other students get the same education (when on scholarship academic or other) and don't have to put in near the work.
As a "student athlete" you are expected to go to practice, attend all team functions (weight training ect.) and not to mention all games, home and away. But still have time to go to class study for tests and then attend your tutor sessions. Oh, and did I mention that as a "student athlete" your scholarship is good on a year to year basis. Though most coaches never revoke a scholarship for not producing on the court, field what have you, the option is there.
When coach Spurier brought up the idea, he said he thought that the athletes should get paid $300 a game for every game they play. That doesn't go for all sports, just the ones that actually produce a revenue. I tend to agree with this, because let's face it, the rifle, swim badminton teams will never produce the amount of money that football, basketball, baseball teams do.
Not to mention while playing football or basketball (not sure about other sports) it is against NCAA regulations for you to have a job, in fear of the place of business over paying the student. So really, the NCAA has brought this on by limiting the ("student athletes) ability to make money on his/her own by honest work.
By paying the kids the $300 as suggested, it would also curb the temptation to take money from agents or some other outside source as has occured in the past, and no doubt still does.
So, in my opinion pay the kids for the work they put in and dedication they show the universities that they represent with pride. Give them some money to go out on dates, buy clothes (the honest way) and quit making the money that the boosters wave in front of them appear so tempting. It will help in the grand scheme of things.