Monday, October 31, 2011

Newest member of 2012 recruiting class

Last night Kentucky got its second commitment for their 2012 class in Willie Cauley.
Cauley a 7 foot center ranked by rivals as the #39 best player in the class, and the #6 best center. He held offers from Kentucky, Florida, K-State, and Alabama.

He is known for his defense, shot blocking to be exact. But his offense will need some work as he is lacking in that category. But he will be a good 3-4 year player and will have plenty of time to improve his game.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blue White Game

Last night, we finally got a look at what this Kentucky team may look like in somewhat of a game setting. Granted, there wasn't much defense played (the cut above Kyle Wiltjers' eye would disagree), but I can't recall a blue white game in recent memory where a team looked this good. Usually in a blue white game, there is lots of turnovers, missed shots, and just looks of confusion during the game. That's to be expected in a preseason scrimmage with a team that is freshman heavy. But not this time.

This time the team looked like a.... Well.... A team. It was good to see how they already understand how to play together. And you could tell, they actually have fun on the court together. Not that the past two Calipari teams didn't have fun, it just took them a few games to look this good and comfortable on the floor together. But this team is just different, and it's a difference that you can see immediately. They have all the tools unlike the previous two teams who seemed to be just missing something. Whether it be outside shooting (which this team has), or an inside presence (this team also has).

Calipari's first year, he had a very talented team in Couisns, Wall, Bledsoe, Orton to go along with Patterson and company. But what was missing from that team, was what eventually left them short of a final four. Outside shooting. That is not a concern for this years team as they have several guys who can step out and hit the long ball. And that was on display last night as guys like Wiltjer, Miller, Lamb and even Terrance Jones drained it from long range numerous times, and with ease. The most impressive of the four was Kyle Wiltjer. The kid has one of the smoothest shooting strokes from outside on this team. Sure it's kind of a slow release, but at 6'9 he would be tough to block.

The second edition of a Calipari led wildcat team saw a good outside shooting team, with a ok to decent inside game. Which eventually is what led to their ousting in the semi-finals last year against UCONN as they had no one to defend the basket when someone got beat off the dribble. Again, this years team looks to have an remedy for that as well. There are many defensive weapons on this team from Darius Miller, to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Just about every guy on this team is a good defender, and if someone actually gets lucky enough to get past the half court stripe, they will have the likes of Terrance Jones, Anthony Davis, and Kyle Wiltjer to deal with around the basket. And believe me, after last night, that does not look like an easy task. Davis is so long his arms stretch from baseline to baseline. So, good luck with that.

The freshman showed why they were ranked the nations #1 recruiting class. And after Vanderbilt's coach Kevin Stallings comments (I don't know much about Kentucky's team, they are all freshman) at SEC media days, he will be wishing he had chosen his words differently. Because after SEC play starts he will be greeting them with a MR. in front of their last name.

Of course the story of the night was Terrence Jones' record setting 52 points which he scored in every way possible. This kid has improved and looks to be on a mission this season. He dominated everytime he touched the ball, and had just one thing in mind, ripping the rim off everytime the opportunity presented its self. He is going to be a joy to watch this year if he keeps up this type of aggressiveness.

Judging by last night, this is going to be an exciting season with one of the most talented Kentucky teams (at least on paper) in history. The early season battles with Kansas, North Carolina, and Louisville just can't get here soon enough!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The day after the Madness

The picture above was the best moment of the night, but more on that later. Let's get to what we all really tuned in for... The men's basketball team.

Last night was in my opinion, one of best BBM's in recent history. The thing that made it one of the best, besides Matthew Mitchell's MJ impression was the return of the former players to Rupp. Think about this... Rondo, Cousins, Meeks, Knight, Liggins, Prince, Mohammed, and John Wall were all invited back by Calipari to be honored last night. Oh, and did I mention that all those guys came back to take part in this on the same night that Kentucky is hosting the Who's Who in terms of the best high school players in the country for a visit? That is why John Calipari can virtually take his pick year in and year out of the best recruits in America. Because he gets it. Reasons like last night is why he is known as one of if not the best recruiter in the country.

It was also great to see guys like Rondo, Prince, and Mohammed finally invited back to be honored at something like Big Blue Madness. Rondo done a little interview on TV while Madness was going on, and if I'm not mistaking, he said that this is the first time they have all been invited back. If my ears weren't deceiving me, and that is in fact what he said, then that is a disgrace. It takes a coach in John Calipari, who might I add never coached Rondo, Prince, Meeks, Mohammed to invite these guys back for the first time since they left. That is why John Calipari is perfect for this job.

Ok, we got our first glimpse at what the next 5 months or so may look like. And what I noticed was the ridiculous amount of athleticism on this team. I mean come on... when a 6'10 Anthony Davis is as fast and can handle the ball as good as some point guards, you know you have something special. Davis took the ball up the court on a few occasions last night, and the only people beating down the floor was Kidd-Gilchrist and Twany Beckham who by the way was a surprise to say the least. We also got to see what kind of range Anthony Davis has when he stepped outside and drained a three from the top of the key. Now don't get me wrong, he isn't Ray Allen or anything, but it's nice to know that at least he is capable of hitting the shot if needed. Davis will be the best player on this team.

Kidd-Gilchrist looked very good just like he has since about the 3rd grade. He is strong as an ox, and can finish very well around the rim. He will be hard to handle once he gets used to Cal's system, Which by the way he will fit into extremely well. He was built for the DDMO.

Kyle Wiltjer plays like he is from the 1970s. I'm not putting the kid down, that's what I love about him. Hell, it's what I loved about him when he committed to Kentucky. He has some things in his arsenal that you just don't see anymore. When was the last time you saw a player actually give a head fake behind the three point line and move in for a better shot instead of just launching it? When was the last time you seen someone use the "skyhook" who isn't at least 50 years old? Kyle does all that and more. He can take some defenders off the dribble, or he has the ability to step outside and knock down a three. He will be around 2 years or more, and will get better with every season. Last night he didn't do too much, and I think nerves may have got the best of him. But don't worry, he will come up huge this season for the cats.

The only other players that really stood out was Terrence Jones and Darius Miller. Jones once again looks like he is going to start the season playing like Karl Malone, let's just hope he can maintain the intensity we saw last night the whole year. And Darius Miller shot lights out from deep. I hope he finally has a break out year and shows everyone what he is actually capable of.

All in all, this team looks impressive, and is going to be a match up nightmare at every position for just about any team. The first game can't get here soon enough.

Oh, and the best moment of the night for me was Matthew Mitchell doing one hell of a job with his impression of Michael Jackson. If you missed it, go to youtube now! You wont be disappointed. Mitchell is another coach who understands how to relate to his kids, and can get down on their level and gain their respect and trust. He has done an amazing job coaching the women's team, and will continue to do so. Won't be long before he will have the women's team hanging Final Four banners.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just about that time

(photo courtesy of Caine)

Well kids, it's hard to believe but it is once again time for Big Blue Madness . After what seemed like the longest offseason in history, this Friday night it begins. We finally get to see the outstanding recruiting class that Coach Cal has once again lined up for this coming basketball season.

With his 3rd #1 recruiting class in a row, Cal will have his best chance at a National Title this season. Not saying that they will win it for sure, but this will be the best chance Kentucky will have had in years. This team will be without a doubt one of if not the most talented teams in the country. And I for one cannot wait to get this season started.

So get ready, because Friday night Kentucky will show the rest of the country what they have to look forward to come March. Until then, the countdown to #8 begins now!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Apple confirmed the sad news of Steve jobs passing this evening. The man that brought you the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and changed everything about technology as we know it has died.

There was a day when you saw someone talking on a flip phone you were envious. I remember my first cell phone. It was the size of a football and weighed about 4 pounds. Now we walk around with a little flat piece of glass that works as a phone, computer, radio and anythig else you can imagine.

In 1997 ( the year I graduated high school) if someone would have told me that we would have something like the iPhone, or a little piece of square metal that holds about 4 billion songs called an iPod, I would have called them insane. Then you bring in another flat piece of square metal that operates like a computer but is touch screen, and anyone (not just James Bond) could have it and call it an iPad, that's just crazy talk.

Well, here we are in 2011 and most everyone has at least owned or used one of the above inventions that was the vision of Steve Jobs. The things he was able to accomplish is astonishing to say the least. He completely changed the way we communicate and live our daily lives. To think that all of this was made possible by a man that spent one semester in college, and started an unknown computer company named Apple in his basement is impressive.

He had a way of knowing what the CONSUMER wanted in a product (something companies today seem to ignore) and was always a step ahead of everyone else in his field.

R.I.P Steve Jobs thanks for everything!