Big Blue Links for Thursday:
As the Commodores prepare to play Kentucky on Saturday, the Vandy rape case from this summer won’t go away. In the latest legal manuever, a court filing seeks text messages from Vanderbilt football coaches.
Tony Gonzalez of the Tennessean writes: “The filing by attorneys for one of the players offers the first suggestion in court proceedings that members of the Vanderbilt football staff might have had some level of involvement in the incident that would be relevant to the criminal investigation.”
Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader writes on UK defensive end Bud Dupree, the team’s best player in this 2-7 season. Each week Dupree’s coaches come up with new schemes to try and take advantage of the junior’s talents. The Georgia native talks about what it’s like to navigate the game plan.
Two days removed from Kentucky’s loss to Michigan State, Jerry Tipton reports that the defeat illuminated ways the Cats can improve. Jerry examines three ways, including free throw shooting, which was off target Tuesday in the United Center.
My notes column has some leftovers and impressions from Chicago. An important one is that the Champions Classic has to be a tremendous recruiting tool. Look at the way it spotlighted freshmen talent — Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker — on Tuesday. No wonder it has been renewed for three more years.
Ben Roberts of the H-L has the rundown on UK’s quartet of early basketball signees. Meanwhile, Stanley Johnson will announce his college decision on Friday.
Vanderbilt football has converted 14 of 19 fourth-down opportunities this season. That’s one reason the Commodores can clinch their third consecutive bowl bid with a win over visiting Kentucky on Saturday.
Mark Stoops talked a lot about leadership after Wednesday’s practice. Guy Ramsey reports: “Jason Cummins was hired earlier this year to lead the UK Athletics Impact Leadership Program and works closely with the football program. On Wednesday, Stoops spoke about it for the first time.”
Jen Smith’s blog has the transcript from Mark Stoops and Neal Brown as they talk Vanderbilt. Brown on Jalen Whitlow: ““I think he’s got to be consistently accurate with the football. I think that’s – and he knows that. He’s been inconsistent passing the ball. But there’s signs in every game that he’s played that he’s capable of doing that. We’ve just got to get him, from a fundamentals standpoint, to do that consistently.”
Alex Forkner of the Kernel writes that Stoops aspires to be the next Vanderbilt. UK has lost by a combined count of 78-8 to the Commodores over the last two years.
Adam Himmelsbach of the Courier-Journal writes that Julius Randle made a big impression on Michigan State’s Tom Izzo on Tuesday.
Rick Bozich of WDRB says that Randle, Wiggins and Parker are all living up to the early hype. ”Here’s a more remarkable number: Randle is also giving the Wildcats 14.3 rebounds per game,” Rick writes. “Anthony Davis (10.4) is the only UK player to average double figures on the glass since 1985, and Randle’s average is the best since Bob Burrow in 1956.”
Kentucky-Michigan State was the second-highest rated non-conference basketball game in ESPN history. John Calipari was involved in the No. 1 game, as well.
Bleacher Report has a look at how Kentucky must adjust after the loss to the Spartans.
If you missed this:
Photo of Aaron Harrison by Mark Cornelison/Herald-Leader