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Archive for the ‘Basketball Recruiting’ Category

Wildcat recruits on TV

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 12, 2010

Starting at 9PM ET on ESPNU, UK recruits Michael Gilchrist (#1 in 2011) and Doron Lamb (#23 in 2010) will be dueling off when Oak Hill Academy meets St. Patrick’s tonight. These are two of the top programs in the nation and it will show the talents of some of the premiere players in the nation.

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Daily news and notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 9, 2010

– It looks like the Cats long-awaited new jerseys have been released, as they have been seen at local Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across Kentucky. Here are a couple pics:

– UK takes on Alabama tonight (9PM ET) in a matchup between two coaches who are in their first year with their respective teams. The biggest storyline though is DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe taking on their homestate school. Cousins personally has some bad blood with his home state so look for him to come out with a bag of chips on his shoulder.

– International big man Enes Kanter has been a hot commodity since coming to the United States, though his buzz went away for the most part after committing to Washington a couple months ago. Kanter has re-opened his recruitment and is considering the Cats. Kanter posted 50 points and 20 rebounds in his last game, so yeah he’s good.

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Bledsoe a “one-and-done”?

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 21, 2010

The internet has been abuzz with news that Chad Ford and Bill Simmons of ESPN.com saying that many GMs are coming away from Kentucky games and practices raving about Eric Bledsoe. Both Ford and Simmons have said that multiple front office personel have projected Bledsoe as the second-rated point guard in the 2010 NBA Draft—behind John Wall.

If both Wall and Bledsoe bolt to the draft after this season it would once again prove John Calipari’s ability to develop guards like no other coach in the country. In the past two seasons Calipari has sent Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans to the league after just one season in college. Rose won Rookie of the Year in 2009 and it looks like Tyreke Evans is the front-runner for the same award this season.

The only downside to consistently bringing in All-American guards is the pain in losing them many at a time after just one-to-two seasons. It was expected since his senior year in high school that John Wall would be  a one-and-done but if Bledsoe leaves it would be a shock considering he was recruited to be a two-to-three year player at least.

Next season, if Bledsoe goes pro, the rotation will look much different assuming Wall, Patrick Patterson, and DeMarcus Cousins go pro as well.

Returning Players

Sr. Josh Harrellson
Jr. Darnell Dodson
Jr. DeAndre Liggins
Jr. Darius Miller
So. Daniel Orton
So. Jon Hood
Fr. Stacey Poole

That would leave only six scholarship players returning next season and leave sixopen scholarships for the 2010 class after already signing Stacey Poole, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Florida.z

Recruiting Trail

Currently Kentucky is heavily recruiting many unsigned seniors, particularly diverse inside-outside forwards like Terrence Jones and CJ Leslie. As you can see by looking at the returning players, the Cats have a bunch of guards returning but lack legitimate post threats aside from Daniel Orton. Assuming UK lands CJ Leslie, a player that many believe is Kentucky’s to lose, along with another dual-threat guard like Doron Lamb and a point guard like Josh Selby, that will still leave UK very thin in the front court.

Projected 2010 Roster
Starters

G Josh Selby (FR)
G Doron Lamb (FR)
G Darnell Dodson (JR)
F Darius Miller (JR)
C Daniel Orton (SO)

Bench

F CJ Leslie (FR)
G DeAndre Liggins (JR)
G Stacey Poole (FR)
F Josh Harrellson (SR)
G Jon Hood (SO)

It seems pretty obvious that UK will add more players to their roster because teams never leave three scholarships unfilled but as of now it appears this is what the roster will look like. Hopefully Bledsoe returns so the depth can be that much better but it appears that is going to be a smaller issue than the severe lack of front court depth that the Wildcats will have next season.

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Kentucky vs. Florida Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 12, 2010

Tuesday night there is no question that Kentucky will face its toughest road test so far this season. For about three games per year the O’Connell Center in Gainesville can get rowdy and there is no question that the annual game against UK is one of those games.

Florida is coming off a loss in their SEC opener at Vanderbilt and has lost 4 of their last 7 games including losses to Richmond (“neutral site” in Florida) and South Alabama at home in back-to-back contests.

Projected Starters

Erving Walker vs. John Wall
The Verne Troyer of college hoops is averaging just over 11 ppg this season and is coming off his top scoring effort of the season against Vandy (22). Although just a sophomore, Mini-Me is leading the team in minutes per game and has started all 15 games this season. In the two games against the Cats last season, Walker averaged 8.5 points and 1.0 assists per game, not to shabby for someone that will stand a full 8 inches shorter than the opposing starting point guard.

Wall comes in as the front-runner for National POY and has a sickening advantage athletically and size-wise against Walker. Nothing more need be said.
Edge: John Wall, UK

Kenny Boynton vs. Eric Bledsoe
Even through this tough patch in the season Florida does have some players playing at a very high level. One of the best and most underrated freshmen in the nation, Kenny Boynton, has been tearing it up for the Gators averaging over 16 ppg over his last five, including a 28 point output against the Commodores. Odds are Eric Bledsoe will begin the game guarding Boynton to keep John Wall out of potential foul trouble and it is key he keeps his eyes on Boynton all over the floor.

Bledsoe is the laziest Wildcat in the starting lineup and could be pulled quickly if he does not come out with defensive intensity. He frequently goes under screens and almost assumes other players will pick up his man on screens and when his defender moves. Bledsoe has the length and quickness to contain Boynton but it is easier said than done.
Edge: Kenny Boynton, FLA

Dan Werner vs. Darius Miller
Werner has been the most disappointing Gator player so far this season. Granted, he was never very good, perhaps even bad, but he has gone down in almost every single offensive category even though his minutes have increased this season. Darius Miller has the pleasure of matching up against the Gators’ worst starter and will hopefully come out and dominate this matchup.

This matchup is pretty even in terms of size and importance to the outcome of the game. Miller is clearly the better player but has played perhaps his worst two games as a Wildcat in the last week, scoring 0 and 5 in his last two outings.
Edge: Push

Vernon Macklin vs. Patrick Patterson
Vernon Macklin has been one of the best transfers in the nation this season—his first since transferring from Georgetown. He is averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game but also is second on the team in fouls. Macklin has started every game but one only shoots 67% from the free throw line, leading one to believe he won’t be on the court during crunch time.

Patterson is one of the best players in the country and is able to draw fouls at a terrific rate. He completely dominates players that are physically smaller than him and averaged a double-double in his two meetings with Florida last season. Being the emotional leader on the team, it is important that PPat stays out of foul trouble, something that he has greatly improved on this season over his previous two, and stays on the floor in the second half.
Edge: Patrick Patterson, UK

Alex Tyus vs. DeMarcus Cousins/Daniel Orton
Odds are DeMarcus Cousins will pick up two fouls before tip time so when he sits on the bench it will be up to the bigs on the bench—Daniel Orton and Perry Stevenson—to  come ready to play, something that they haven’t been doing lately. Alex Tyus makes his impact based off pure athleticsm and energy but against mountaints like Cousins and Orton it will be very tough to have the sort of results he is accustomed to. Cousins is easily the best rebounder in the nation, averaging over nine rebounds per game in only 2o minutes an outing.
Edge: DeMarcus Cousins


One of the most intruiging matchups this evening will be between the head honchos on the sidelines. Donovan will try to prove that he made the right decision by staying at UF when it was safely assumed he had first dibs at the UK job last year. Calipari has really nothing to prove accept that his young Cats can win on the road in a hostile environment.

In other (and more important) news it is being reported that Erin Andrews will be on hand to work the sidelines at her alma mater. Widely considered the cream-of-the-crop amongst ESPN sideline analysts, Andrews should more than triple the viewership of the game in the state of Florida to at least 24 people because of her “appeal”. If you are not familiar with Erin Andrews and her god-given talent it is time to get familiar.

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UK/Georgia Post Game Notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 10, 2010

First off, its great to be back writing the blog since I have been away for many many months. The Cats pulled out another game against a far-inferior team, again showing their ability to close out games better than UK has in the past five years. Ashley Judd was in the house for her first game of the season and many top recruits were there as well—CJ Leslie (2010), Quincy Miller (2011), Nick Johnson (2011), as well as the entire Word of God and Quality Education basketball teams.

Now, onto the notes:

– I was very impressed how the Cats were able to get out to a quick start against a team that tried to slow the pace as much as Georgia did, granted it did not always look pretty, UK still took an early 11 point lead before letting UGA take a 1 point lead into halftime

– DeMarcus Cousins again was not able to stay out of foul trouble, getting two fouls in the first 11 minutes of the game. But even through the foul trouble “Big Cuz” still managed 16 points and 7 rebounds

– Although he was not his usual, flashy self, John Wall still played a great game in my opinion. With 3 turnovers in this game, Wall has only 11 turnovers over his last four games, as opposed to 18 in the previous four.

– I was very disappointed in Darnell Dodson AND Darius Miller today. Dodson took a few bad shots, which is nothing new, but also played probably the worst defensive game a Wildcat has played this season. He consistently allowed his man to beat him off the dribble and to gather offensive rebounds around the basket. Miller still needs to be much more aggressive offensively or Ramon Harris and DeAndre Liggins will take his minutes.

– That brings me to my next point, DeAndre Liggins. Liggins was the most impressive player in the game to me. He had six points and three steals in only 14 minutes and was again the best on-ball defender today.

– The last note. I was disappointed in the overall rebounding by the Wildcats today. UK has been one of the best, and most dominating, rebounding teams in the nation to this point but got outrebounded by a small Georgia team. One excuse is that both DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton got in foul trouble and Perry Stevenson has never been known as a dominant rebounder.

Recruiting News

Quincy Miller, a 5-star combo forward out of the 2011 class, was sitting behind the UK bench rocking a UK hoodie today. He was joined by the Cats top 2010 target CJ Leslie. Leslie was a teammate of current UK star John Wall last season at Word of God Academy (NC) and has said that Wall has been recruiting him to choose UK.

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Jackson, Christmas cut lists

Posted by ibleedblue040 on August 11, 2009

Two top prospects have cut their lists this week and neither included the University of Kentucky.

Joe Jackson, a top point guard in the 2010 class, narrowed his choices down to Memphis, Tennessee, and Kansas. Kentucky was thought to be in pretty good position for Jackson and he was thought to be attending Big Blue Madness in October. Being a Memphis native it is believed Jackson is a heavy Memphis lean, he has already visited the Tigers campus and facilities many times and feels comfortable with the program.

Rakeem Christmas, the best low post defender in the 2011 class, narrowed his list down to eight teams, none of which are Kentucky. Many people around the country are surprised with this decision because it was thought that UK was perhaps the leader—or one of the leaders—for Christmas’ services. Dave Telep, the lead recruiting analyst for Scout.com “tweeted”, “I would have bet my son’s college savings that Kentucky made Rakeem’s Christmas list of 8”.

Many people believe that UK IS still in the mix and it is odd that he would not list them. Either way it would be a big blow if UK were eliminated while Coach John Calipari is in China.

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Tobias Harris visits UK campus

Posted by ibleedblue040 on August 5, 2009

One of the top rising players this summer has been SF/PF Tobias Harris. Harris shot up the rankings with his summer AAU performances after beginning this summer over 15 pounds lighter than the previous year. Harris is a mismatch nightmare for opponents and manhandled junior phenom Michael Gilchrist on national TV two weeks ago.

Harris is on campus today and will stay overnight until at least thursday with his father as they check out the Kentucky campus. It has long been said that Syracuse and UCONN lead for his services but teams like UK, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech are making tremendous efforts as well.

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Fab Melo to Syracuse

Posted by ibleedblue040 on August 4, 2009

A little cross town news, Fab Melo, a consensus top 10 recruit has chosen Syracuse over UCONN and Louisville.

Many people at UofL felt that they were the leaders but word is he is heading up north.

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Brandon Knight visits Kentucky

Posted by ibleedblue040 on August 3, 2009

Word around the UK program is consensus top 5 high school senior Brandon Knight had his mother on the Kentucky campus yesterday and met with Lee Todd and the UK staff. It seems that she was very intruiged with what he saw—I’m guessing that means the Joe Craft Center and possibly the Wildcat Lodge along with some academic facilities.

Many reports have indicated that Kentucky already leads for Knight, a player many consider the best in all of high school basketball, and now with this visit it seems they may even have a very distinct advantage.

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2010 Kentucky Recruiting Breakdown

Posted by ibleedblue040 on July 31, 2009

Point Guards

Brandon Knight Considered by many to be the top recruit in the nation, Knight brings a high level of offensive skill to the table to go along with having a great basketball IQ. At about 6’3, Knight has great size for the point guard position and loves contact around the rim, something that fits perfectly with the dribble drive motion offense. Knight is without question the top priority for UK at both the point guard position and overall.

Josh Selby Since Josh Selby’s decommitment from Tennessee last week, Kentucky has shown as much interest as anyone across the country. UK has been listed on the short list of schools that Selby will be legitimately looking at and with Selby’s high level of skill there is no doubt the feelings are mutual.

Joe Jackson Jackson has long been called a Memphis lean, but do not underestimate the power of John Calipari on the recruiting trail. Calipari has been to many of Jackson’s games this summer, clearly solidifying the thought that Jackson is one of the top targeted players for the Cats out of the 2010 class. Though he is just 6’0, Jackson has elite quickness and athleticism as well as being able to finish with contact around the basket.

Kyrie Irving The only reason Irving is listed fourth on this list is because it seems less likely that UK will land him than the other three prospects ahead of him. Irving was one of the premiere players at the Orlando AAU Super Showcase and was able to score over 30 points on multiple occassions, including a 39 point outburst. As well as being a big player, Irving is a team player who gets his teammates involved throughout the entire game. Irving has ties to both UK and Indiana so this should be a fun recruitment to watch unravel.

Shooting Guards

Doron Lamb Although he has been forgotten about over the past week or so, Doron Lamb still is one of the most highly touted players in the country and perhaps the best senior-to-be in the state of New York. Lamb has strong ties to the UK staff with assistant coaches Orlando Antigua and Rod Strickland being from New York City, as well as Rod Strickland being an Oak Hill alum, the same high school Lamb currently attends. It is very possible Lamb could be donning the blue and white in 2011.

Tyler Lamb No there is no relation between Doron and Tyler but there is no doubt they both can ball. Doron and Tyler are both silky smooth with great shooting abilities, although Doron seems to play with more of a “swagger” than Tyler. Tyler Lamb has definitely burst onto the seen this summer after getting only minimal looks from mid-majors prior to July. After a stellar showing in multiple events earlier this month, Lamb walked away with a valuable scholarship from UK as well as receiving one from UCONN. There is no doubt in my mind at least ONE of the Lamb’s will be apart of the 2010 class.

Small Forwards

Harrison Barnes It seems unlikely that Barnes will have Kentucky on his final list, but that has not stopped the UK staff from showing up at many of his games so far this summer. Barnes is ranked as the #1 player in america by Rivals.com and Scout.com, the two major recruiting websites in the country. A very talented and smart player, Barnes is clearly the most consistent prep player in the land and already looks physically ready to play in college. Look for him to look hard at Duke, Kansas, Stanford, and North Carolina.

Cameron Clark No forward as burst onto the scene quite like Cameron Clark, a 6’6 Texas native. Clark, like many UK targets, is a long body with a very polished and smooth game for a kid his age. Kentucky has already been known to be recruiting Clark as hard as anyone but many Big 12 schools are coming hard for him too.

Power Forwards

CJ Leslie Compared by many to a young Kevin Garnett, Leslie possesses unreal athletic ability and a wingspan that spreads over seven feet. Leslie is about as intimidating a player as you will find, because at 6’9 he has the skills to go around you or simply go over you with a furocious array of moves and dunks. Leslie is a former high school teammate of incoming UK freshman John Wall and has been quoted as saying Wall has been in his ear about UK.

Tobias Harris After a disappointing summer last year, Harris has dropped some of his “baby fat” and become the most versatile power forward in the nation. Fresh off a stellar performance against the top junior in the nation–Michael Gilchrist–Harris is one of the most highly recruited big men in the nation and appears to have strong interest from Kentucky. Harris is one of the few players who have a formal scholarship offer from the Cats but word is he will be hard to get from Syracuse and UCONN.

Dominique Ferguson Once thought to be one of the top 10 players in the nation, Dominique Ferguson has been riddled with injuries this summer. Although he decommitted from Kentucky after Billy Gillispie was fired, Ferguson has still listed the Cats on his list of suitors and has been told by the staff he is a very high priority at the small forward and power forward positions. Ferguson will be playing his senior season at Hargrave Military Academy because of higher competition and to learn the discipline that his father believes he needs.

Centers

Adreian Payne Because he plays alongside Jared Sullinger and JD Weatherspoon, Payne does not get the credit he deserves for being a terrific talent. Payne is very athletic and can finish around the rim with the best of them. He does not have much of a perimeter game just yet but he is improving every day and appears to be headed toward greatness. He is really the only center that Kentucky is pursuing for the 2010 class as of right now.

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