James Young to the NBA was almost a dead-solid certainty. Kentucky announced this afternoon 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 though there are reports the Harrison twins are giving serious consideration to returning to Lexington, still believe that in the end the duo will decide to move on to the play-for-pay game next season.
After that, word is 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’ plans after his weekend.
There has also been talk that with Willie Cauley-Stein announcing his return, and signee Karl Towns, Jr. set to arrive on campus in the fall, Dakari Johnson might decided to take the leap. Don’t think that will happen, however. 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 Earness 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 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:
Montrezl Harrell tweeted today that he is returning to Louisville for his junior season.
So John Calipari said Monday on CBS This Morning that the “tweak” that turned around his Kentucky basketball team in the post-season was getting Andrew Harrison to pass the basketball more.
Now that’s coaching: Instructing your point guard to pass the basketball.
Thing is, the media guessed that from the beginning, only to be told by the Kentucky coach that we were way off base.
This from the post-game press conference after UK beat LSU in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Atlanta. If memory serves, Brett Dawson of Rivals asked the question.
Q. Andrew, the tweak, it looked like a lot of it was with you tonight to sort of penetrate, to kick out, and then really open up the offense. How much more comfortable did you feel executing that tonight?
ANDREW HARRISON: We were all playing as a team.
COACH CALIPARI: That’s not the tweak. (Laughter.) Keep guessing though.
Of course, Cal said he didn’t want to reveal the tweak because he didn’t want opposing coaches to know.
He also has his book, Players First, to sell, which is why he is making the media rounds this week.