Posts Tagged ‘John Calipari’

Turkish Star Has Amatuerism Questioned

Posted by Alec McAfee on September 7, 2010

From the moment that Enes Kanter arrived in the United States he has been followed.

Followed by NBA scouts trying to gauge his basketball potential, and by journalist trying to uncover his remarkable story.

Kanter came to the United States via Istanbul, Turkey, where he played for a professional basketball club. If you ask Kanter, and those that surround him, you will be told that he never accepted any payment for the professional games that he played in, aside from the usual payments such as room and board, similar to that of an American prep school. Others say that Kanter was payed like any other professional overseas.

“We are renting them a house and giving him pocket money.” Nedim Karakas, General Manager of the Turkish club that Kanter played for, told the New York Times.

The Times states that Kanter was payed anywhere from $100,000-$150,000 over a three-year span, beginning when he was fourteen.

These conflicting reports, coupled with the fact that no official evidence has been provided to the N.C.A.A. send mixed signals to both Kanter and his potential coach John Calipari, who in April told The Sporting News that “We know that, as in any other club, he received apparel. But there was no money, from what we’re seeing.”

Calipari later added that there is “a lot of misinformation out there. You’ve got people talking about it that don’t know, just heard a rumor.”

One reason that Kanter’s situation may differ from that of other European stars who have tried their luck at college athletics in America, such as Deniz Kilicli at West Virginia last year, is that Kanter’s father is a nationally-known doctor and is considered to be very wealthy.

Kanter also has expressed interest in the American way of life as opposed to turning to professionally playing basketball out of high school.

“I know in basketball I can play anywhere,” he said. “I couldn’t get the culture and the language where I was.”

To go along with the amount of financial stability and the will to learn that Kanter has is his desire to experience American college life.

“I wanted to come here and experience the NCAA,” Kanter told Evan Daniels of “My aim was to do this in America. I didn’t want to do this in Europe.”

Whether or not he ever steps foot on a collegiate basketball floor remains to be seen, but his skills will be in the NBA one day no matter the outcome.


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Monday news and notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 1, 2010

There’s been a lot of buzz about UK the past few days in relation to their actions and words on and off the court.

– After an article by Alan Cutler was published quoting John Wall as saying he does not listen to Coach Calipari Wall cleared the air with this interview

– Coach Calipari did the same by responding to questions about his relationship with his star point guard

The new “Bracketology” is out with UK being a #1 seed in the West Region, which would make it seem that they are the lowest of all the #1 seeds

– As with every Monday the new AP rankings were released today with the Cats moving from the top spot down to #4 and receiving one first-place vote

– Tonight on his call-in show, John Calipari confirmed that the Cats WILL be wearing new uniforms next week. It will most likely be next saturday when the ESPN College Gameday crew is in Lexington to call the Kentucky-Tennessee game. The jerseys, according to Coach Cal, are of the LeBron James brand, a branch of Nike

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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 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

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


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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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 “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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The Josh Selby Saga

Posted by ibleedblue040 on July 22, 2009

After deciding to decommit from Tennessee less than one week ago, Josh Selby has been the talk of the basketball recruiting world.

Not only is he an elite talent, capable of being a program changing combo guard, but speculation has it that he backed out of his Tennessee commitment for more reasons than you may think.

Many kids reopen their recruitment because they fear they will not get enough minutes or more prestigous programs begin recruiting them, but neither is a problem for a world class player like Selby. Tennessee insiders say that Selby will most likely choose a school that has a Nike sponsorship, rather than the Adidas sponsored Tennessee program.

Many Tennessee fans have called out Selby for not following his heart and simply being a whipping boy for a multi-billion dollar athletics company.

The schools that seem to have an immediate edge according to people with knowledge of the Tennessee program are Kentucky, Memphis, and Duke, three schools that are all sponsored by Nike.

Once again John Calipari has been singled out as being a dirt cheater who made a few phone calls to Nike to let Selby know it would be in his best interest to decommit. But this theory has been shot down.

The involvment of Kentucky in Selby’s recruitment seems to be unknown at this point. Selby is an unbelievable player who will eventually choose one of the top-notch programs from across the nation, but with UK looking at many point guards for their 2010 class it appears, unless Selby were to make it known he is ready to commit before any of the Cats’ point guard options, that he will not be suiting up for the Wildcats.

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July 2010 Recruiting Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on July 5, 2009

There is no question that July is the most important month in high school basketball recruiting, and with that much just getting under way UKmadness will break down the top 2010 prospects UK will be recruiting and players the Wildcat fans should be on the look out for during the July evaluation period.

Brandon Knight

Rivals Profile
Scout Profile

Knight is ranked within the top two overall in the class of 2010 by both Rivals and Scout recruiting services and for good reason. He is the unquestioned number one point guard in the U.S. and has one of the most complete games on the circuit with his ability to stroke it from outside and also to use his deceivingly strong frame to bully his way to the basket on an array of drives.

He is not in the mold of a Derrick Rose or John Wall but Knight has the potential to be as good as both of these stars.

Knight looks to be leaning towards the academics of Duke and the in-state appeal of Florida but UK should have a say in the end, seeing as their coach will send three straight point guards to top five draft picks once John Wall spends his one and only year in college and becomes a top five pick.


Doron Lamb

Rivals Profile
Scout Profile 

The reason Lamb ranks second on this list is because of the fact that he has publicly stated that Kentucky is one of his favorite schools and the fact that he just made an unofficial visit to the UK campus last weekend.

Lamb is unique in the sense that he actually has a deadly mid range game, an area that seems to be nonexistent in high school players across America for the most part.

Lamb currently plays for Oak Hill (VA) Academy during the high school season, a school that has sent many players to UK over the years, partly because of head coach Steve Smith’s ties to the state—he grew up in the eastern part of Kentucky.

UK assistant coach Rod Strickland also attended the school for his senior season of high school and is from the New York area, as Lamb is.

Look for UK to land Lamb in the end, although this recruitment could be a long, drawn out one.

Joe Jackson

Rivals Profile
Scout Profile

Once thought to be a lock to John Calipari at Memphis, Joe Jackson has stated numerous times that he has large interest in the UK program because of its tradition and the fact that Coach Cal is now the man in charge.

Jackson, a Memphis, Tennessee native, seems to be a strong Memphis lean because of his desire to stay near home but if anyone can snag him out of his home city it is Cal.

Jackson is a small point guard with an unmatched first step and unbelievable athleticism and he has the perfect slashing-type game to play in Coach Cal’s DDM offense. 




CJ Leslie

Rivals Profile
Scout Profile

CJ Leslie is ranked more inconsistently than almost any player in the nation. Some feel that his athleticism is such that he should be ranked quite high simply because of his vast potential, while others seem to think that, because he does not have a top 25 game at this moment, he does not deserve to be considered a 5-star prospect.

Leslie, a former high school teammate of upcoming UK freshman John Wall, has been telling outlets that he loves Coach Cal and is seriously considering the Cats because of that. He also has stated numerous times that Wall has been in his ear telling him how great UK is and that can only help.

Leslie may be the most athletic player in the 2010 class and has a college-ready body that should only progress in his year and a half until he steps onto a college campus.





More to come later on this week.

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Derrick Rose Allegations Hurt Some More Than Others

Posted by ibleedblue040 on June 7, 2009

On May 27 news broke that Derrick Rose, a standout on the 2008 Memphis Final Four team, may have had his academic grades changed during his senior year in high school.

At the time, many people believed this would be an investigation dedicated solely into the Memphis Athletic Department. In the two weeks since the information was released, the bulk of the blame has been placed on former coach, and accused cheater, John Calipari.

Calipari has been called everything from a liar to a greasy slime ball since the allegations of alleged cheating was released.

Many people do not realize the affect that these accusations could have on Calipari and the program he now runs.

It was announced today that Will Barton, a high school senior-to-be and top 10 recruit, committed to the University of Memphis, when it was known that Kentucky was the clear leader for his services.

In an interview conducted after his verbal announcement, Barton stated that coaches at Memphis told him that Calipari was the source of the problem and, were he to play at Kentucky, he would be representing a liar and a cheater.

All the negative publicity and criminal accusations have many Kentucky fans wondering if they missed the news when Calipari was found guilty and to blame for this behavior.

The answer is no, Calipari has not been charged in any way, and in fact, the NCAA cleared Calipari before UK hired him, as these accusations were known for months by the two universities.

As it stands, the old saying ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is not being used in this situation.

It seems the college basketball world is doing all it can to rain on the Kentucky parade.

When Kentucky wrapped up perhaps the greatest recruiting class in NCAA history, there were the Duke, Louisville, and Tennessee fans to crown Calipari a cheater and to announce that there is no way Eric Bledsoe or DeMarcus Cousins could qualify—which they both have.

But where does Memphis stand in all this? The program that let Derrick Rose in, the program that looked at Robert Dozier’s two SAT scores and cleared him, and the program that is currently under investigation has been using the Calipari card the entire time.

Memphis signed Latavious Williams last week, a player known around the recruiting world as having grade issues himself.

They just took Will and Antonio Barton from Kentucky, simply by claiming their own mess was someone else’s fault.

In no way does it appear that Memphis’ reputation will be questioned, but Calipari and Kentucky however, will face the persecution of the nation and will be ushered in as the next band of cheaters who are trying to ruin this perfectly run game.

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Calipari: Looking Ahead Towards The Future Of Kentucky Basketball

Posted by ibleedblue040 on May 13, 2009


Calipari looks towards next season

Calipari looks towards next season

When John Calipari was first brought on as the University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach he said said numerous times that he is ‘day by day’. “If you want something to happen in a year, do not hire me.”


But for the first time since his hiring on April 1, Calipari talked about next year.

Calipari addressed the media on numerous topics looking forward to the upcoming season. A season that already has Cats fans anxious because of the sudden high expectations.

He would not say what his expectations for this team going next season are, other than it will be a learning process. “Then by March [we] are playing [our] best basketball”.

Calipari expects to be playing great basketball in March partially because of the announcement that Patrick Patterson will be returning to Kentucky for his junior season.

“I’m excited about [Patrick returning],” Calipari explained, “I wanted him to know that he is coming back for himself and to help the university”.

Coach Calipari also detailed how surprised he was with Patterson and some of the things he could do on the basketball floor that he was not aware of.

“One of the things was that I didn’t realize how fast [Patrick] was,” Calipari smiled, “He also shoots the ball better than I thought, and handles it and passes it better than I thought.”

Another crucial topic of discussion was the incoming recruits. Eric Bledsoe will play a very crucial role on a team in desperate need of a point guard and play making ability.

“When I recruit players, I want to make sure that they play big and are big. If a guy is 6-foot-4 and plays 6-foot-2, then he is not big. If a guy is 6-foot and plays 6-foot-5, then he is big… Eric is probably 6-foot-1 maybe, but he plays big. He is fast and very physically strong and tough. He has great vision on the court, and in this offense you have to be able to react.”

Another freshman who has to step up under Calipari is Daniel Orton. Orton, an Oklahoma native, appears ready to make the jump to the college game alongside Patterson and fellow freshman DeMarcus Cousins.

“Daniel Orton is going to be terrific, because he has great size, really long arms and he is skilled. You can play him inside, or outside and he is a terrific passer,” Calipari noted. “He also has the skills that if you want to play two big guys you can. There is DeMarcus [Cousins] that you can play with him and together.”

There is no question that Kentucky is going to be a very good team under Calipari, but Coach Cal has warned the media numerous times already that this is a step-by-step process that will take time.

“But when we get it right, you notice we’re No. 1 in the country, we’re No. 1 seeds, we’re playing in Final Fours when you get it right.”

Extra News and Notes

The schedule situation was brought up today and Calipari explained it to the media that there is still two games to schedule but the rest is pretty much done. He said they got a call from Texas for a Houston-site game. Also looking at Cincinnati or a Nashville-site game.

Also talked about wanting Midnight Madness in Commonwealth Stadium (Kentucky football stadium). Said it would be great to get 70,000 people to come and have Ashley Judd and Justin Timberlake there. He said the biggest issue would be predicting the weather in the middle of October.

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Patterson will return for junior season

Posted by ibleedblue040 on May 11, 2009

Kentucky Wildcats sophomore forward Patrick Patterson announced today that he is returning for his junior season after taking his name out of the NBA Draft.

Patterson, a 6’9″ Huntington, West Virginia native, returns following a season that saw him average a team-high 9.3 rebounds per game. Patterson also ranked near the top of Division I with a .603 field goal percentage.

Patterson made his decision late last week and decided to come back because of three reasons. “An opportunity to get a degree next year… It also means a lot for me to come back and get the chance to play for Kentucky… I also like Coach (John) Calipari’s offense and playing for him and (the thought of) him helping me improve and get better.”, said the All-SEC big man.

Many believed Patterson would remain in the draft if he were a guaranteed first-round pick, although he was told by scouts he would have been had he kept his name available. “Anywhere from 14, 15 to 20…in that range but guaranteed first round.”

Patterson returns to a team that has the potential to reach its first Final Four since 1998, or at least its first Elite Eight in five seasons. “Looking at the team we could possibly have next year, with all the people we have coming in…all the weapons we have coming in that helped a lot. With the caliber of the team we could have next year and competing for a national title hopefully.”

John Calipari’s reputation for developing players for the NBA also played an integral role in Patterson’s decision to come back. “It helped a lot. I looked at all the players he sent (to the NBA) back in Memphis, (Chris) Dorsey, (Chris Douglas) Roberts, Derek Rose, just everybody who he’s helped… I know playing for Coach Calipari I will progress.”

With the possibility of Jodie Meeks returning for his senior season, along with prep target John Wall, Patterson’s decision makes Kentucky the legitimate preseason favorite in the Southeastern Conference as well as a front-runner for the top team in the country. “Hopefully (Kentucky can) be a top contender and win a national championship.”

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