If you want to get your Easter weekend off to a fun start, hit the #AskEmmert button on Twitter, or search the hashtag.
The NCAA had the bright idea of taking Twitter questions for NCAA president Mark Emmert Friday morning on ESPN’s Mike and Mike. And Twitter all but exploded.
You can also listen to Emmert’s interview.
Big Blue Links for Friday:
At his press conference Thursday morning, John Calipari said that the NCAA blocked an idea in which the Kentucky coach and his wife would set up a fund to help the education of his former players’ children. The NCAA deemed that an extra benefit.
Mark Story writes that Calipari also presented the case Thursday that it’s OK for his players to return for another year. “Most were shocked when Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein announced Monday that he would not enter the 2014 draft and would return to UK for his junior season. The 7-foot shot-blocker was being projected as a certain first-round pick, even given some chance to make the back end of the lottery. Calipari asked reporters for a show of hands on who was surprised by Cauley-Stein’s decision. The coach then raised his own.”
Peyton Manning was among Nick Saban’s spring guests at Alabama.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has improved this spring. All Marshall did last season was take the Tigers to the national championship game.
Kentucky’s four basketball signees will be on display tonight in the Jordan Brand Classic. Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker have all been in Brooklyn this week.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Frank Haith and Missouri was a marriage of inconvenience. Now Haith is headed to Tulsa. “Haith’s teams were allegedly out of control on offense and indifferent on defense. Flip Pressey hijacked the 2012-13 team. This season’s bunch played with little obvious passion. After attendance dipped dramatically at Mizzou Arena, failing to land an invite to last month’s Big Dance put the head hoops coach on notice.”
Meet Tennessee’s one-man search committee for finding a replacement for departed basketball coach Cuonzo Martin. David Climer gives the lowdown on Dave Hart. “Hart has been down this road before. His search for a football coach was a bit of a mess, but it turned out fine. He spent far too much time pursuing Mike Gundy, who wasn’t going to leave Oklahoma State, and then made the mistake of offering the job to someone he assumed — incorrectly — would accept it: Louisville’s Charlie Strong.”
James Young to the NBA was almost a dead-solid certainty. Kentucky announced Thursday afternoon that the freshman guard will put his name in the draft. The Michigan native is the first Cat to make it official.
Expect Julius Randle to follow suit soon. And there are reports that the Harrison twins are giving serious consideration to returning to Lexington, but I still think that the duo will decide to move on to the play-for-pay game next season.
After that, word is that Alex Poythress is giving serious consideration to moving on to the professional ranks, be it NBA, overseas or even the D-League. We could know more of Poythress’s plans after his weekend.
There has also been talk that with Willie Cauley-Stein announcing his return, and signee Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. set to arrive on campus in the fall, Dakari Johnson might decide to take the leap. I don’t think that will happen, however. I think Dakari knows he needs some work and look for John Calipari to use a lot of twin-tower sets next season.
This week appears to be “Escape from the SEC” time for league basketball coaches. First it was Cuonzo Martin exiting Tennessee. Now it’s Frank Haith exiting Missouri.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reports that Haith is in final negotiations to accept the head-coaching job at Tulsa, which opened when Danny Manning left to become the new head coach at Wake Forest.
Why would Haith leave an SEC school for a AAC school? Well, he loses Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross from a team that made the NIT this past season. Zach Price, a transfer from Louisville, was booted off the team after getting into altercations with Ross, his roommate.
In three years, Haith went 76-28 at Missouri, with a pair of NCAA Tournament bids. But the Tigers underachieved. As a No. 2 seed, they were upset by Norfolk State in the first round of the 2012 tournament. In 2012-13, Missouri’s first season in the SEC, the Tigers were a mere 9-9 in the conference and were bounced in the NCAA’s round of 64.
Many observers think Martin left Knoxville for the University of California because of weak fan support and the prospect of a down season in 2013-14. Same goes for Haith, thus his apparent switch to greener pastures.
John Calipari is meeting with the media this morning at 10:30 a.m. You can also follow along on Twitter.
Rajon Rondo used his shoes Wednesday to honor Boston Marathon bombing victims.
Big Blue Links for Thursday:
The big Kentucky football news from Wednesday concerned Jalen Whitlow’s transfer after the quarterback was asked to move to wide receiver. ”He’s talented and he does have the skill set to run the football, and throw it at times,” Stoops said of Whitlow, who accounted for 36.7 percent of Kentucky’s offense and nearly 40 percent of its touchdowns last season. “He’s maybe not as consistent as we’d like to be in the pass game.”
A four-star UK football recruit also backed out of his commitment Wednesday. Defensive back Marcus Wilson, class of 2015, said Kentucky is still No. 1 on his list but that he is no longer committed to the Cats. He wants to look around.
Is Kentucky really interested in former Alabama basketball player Devonta Pollard? There are reports that UK has shown some interest in Pollard, who left Bama after he was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Analysts say the Harrison twins are not hearing what they want to hear from the NBA with regards to the draft. I still think the duo will depart, but we shall see.
As for Alex Poythress, the junior-to-be is trying to decide his future as well. Heard last week that Poythress was leaning toward leaving, but he is expected to meet with his family this weekend to talk things over.
Archie Goodwin scored a career-high 29 points Wednesday night to lead Phoenix past Sacramento. The Suns won 48 games and missed out on the playoffs.
I’m in Cincinnati today at Great American Ball Park for Reds-Pirates, but the news from back in Lexington that Jalen Whitlow has decided to transfer from the Kentucky football program is not a surprise.
Whitlow started 15 games over the last two seasons at quarterback – seven as a freshman for Joker Phillips; eight last year for Mark Stoops – but it was obvious that going forward offensive coordinator Neal Brown no longer saw Whitlow’s run-pass ability as the best option for his Air Raid offense.
Big Blue Links for Wednesday:
Big Blue Links for Tuesday: