Daily Archives: January 3, 2013
I miss this man so much.
With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in attendance, our Cats rolled out with one of their best performances of the year. The Cats rolled over Eastern Michigan in the game on their way to a 90-38 win; in a game that all seven of the top guys that played with the exception of Noel, scored in double figures.
The stat line of the game: Kentucky shot 18-24 from the free throw line.
After the awful performance from the charity strike during the Louisville game, it is good to see the cats come out and shoot 75% from the line this game.
Overall Kentucky played pretty well, but they still have a way to go before they reach the level Cal and the fans would like for them to be.
Heading into conference play, we are nearly halfway through the season and only three months away from March Madness. For Kentucky to make the late run in March we would all like to see, they still need to make major strides and have Alex Poythress unleash the beast within him that we are all waiting/hoping to see.
In this current day and age of Kentucky basketball, it’s rare to get a player with NBA aspirations to return for a second, or third year. Coach Cal tells them what is in their best interests, and to that point, mostly it involves making the wise business move and getting to the NBA. Especially if a player doesn’t have an opportunity to improve their draft stock, or at least not by much.
Willie Cauley-Stein however, has an opportunity to drastically improve his draft stock, even with a more stocked draft next year.
Well, it’s pretty simple. The 2013 draft is going to be absolutely loaded with big man talent. Archie Goodwin should go to the draft this year for the same reason that Willie shouldn’t, there aren’t a lot of guards and small forwards, but there are tons of Centers and Power Forwards.
Just to name a few, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Isaiah Austin, Cody Zeller and Mason Plumlee will all be taking their talents to the NBA next year. That makes it tough for Willie Cauley-Stein to really move up in the draft with those players getting more of an opportunity to showcase their talents night in and night out. As good as Willie Cauley-Stein is, he’s still raw and has a long way to go. He may sneak in to the lottery, but may have to follow a lot of UK players’ paths to the D-League to work on fundamentals.
But there’s another option.
The 2014 draft, while loaded, is short on big men. If you look at the 2013 class right now, it’s filled with big guards and small forwards with a lot of talent. Be that as it may, it’s very short on quality Centers, which is exactly what Willie is.
With the mass exodus of big men heading to the NBA this year, Willie has a chance to come back, get stronger, work on his fundamentals, and let the play of Andrew Harrison showcase his talent next year without playing next to another Center who gets most of the spotlight. Willie would have an opportunity to soar up draft charts, and move in to the top 5.
According to a forbes.com report (which you can check out here), the difference between the #14 pick, or the last pick in the lottery, to the #5 pick, assuming Willie could play his way up to the #1 big man in the draft, would be over a million dollars. (2.8 million to 1.5 million). Therefore, on the basic 3 year contract rookies get, Willie could make as much as 3.9 million dollars more over his first contract then what he would make if he came out this year and was a late lottery pick. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table just to come out this year.
According to draftexpress.com’s current 2014 Mock Draft, Willie is only competing with International players and Steven Adams for the top big man in the draft, and that’s assuming Adams doesn’t go pro this year (which he’s projected to be a first rounder this year as well). There are a lot of good players on the board for 2014, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the first 5 teams look right past the top big men all for small forwards and guards.
Coach Cal always says he doesn’t push guys to the NBA, but he simply gives them the facts and helps them make the best decision for them. If that’s true, and Willie doesn’t move up draft boards drastically between now this summer, he may need to tell Willie it’s in his best interests to come back next year.
There are things that we all know about Joker Phillips. Among those things, two things are chief:
1) He’s a huge University of Kentucky fan at heart. He’s an alum, and there’s nothing he wants more than for the University of Kentucky to have a successful football program outside of his family’s well-being.
2) He and Mitch Barnhart have a very close friendship.
That’s why it came as a little bit of a surprise that Joker was fired before the end of the season. Well, I guess not really, but still you get the point. The two were close, and Joker loves UK.
At first, it was kind of shocking to hear that Joker had taken the job as Wide Receivers coach at Florida so soon after he had been let go, rather than trying to get a coordinator job maybe at a smaller college. Especially since I mean Brent Pease is well, Brent Pease. Oh and Muschamp face.
But I think we have o take a moment to remember something. Joker Phillips loves UK.
A little know fact, or maybe widely known (depending on your age and UK football knowledge), Joker Phillips actually played for UK on a team that beat Florida. So yeah, it’s been a while. As a reference, Joker is over 50 now.
What is happening now though, is all to obvious.
UK has planted Joker at Florida as a Splinter Cell agent to end the cursed losing streak to Florida.
When the call from Muschamp came to be the Wide Receivers coach, Joker talked to Mitch, and Mitch said it sounded like the right time. Muschamp is far too busy yelling at players and refs to see what would be going on, and Brent Pease would be far too interested in running ridiculous plays that don’t work against SEC opponents. Joker could secretly, covertly, sabotage Florida’s game plans next year. The only thing that stood in Joker’s way was Matt Elam and all his bossness, but he’s going to the NFL now, y’all.
As a test run, he tried it out last night as Florida took on his good friend Charlie Strong. Now, maybe Joker forgot we don’t actually want Louisville winning any games of any importance, but if we can trade Louisville Sugar Bowl for a Kentucky win over Florida, we’ll do it.
Whatever you do though, don’t share this with Florida fans, you guys. It’s top secret.
Jaleel Hytchye, cornerback from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati, is now down to 3 schools:
UK, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh.
Jaleel took an official visit to Pittsburgh last month along with current UK commit Blake McClain. He had been considering UK before the Mark Stoops hire, but has taken a new look at Kentucky since the new coaching staff has been put in place. You got to think it helps that Stoops has coached players like Ed Reed during his time as a secondary coach in Miami.
Jaleel also holds offers from Mississippi State, Louisville, Arizona State, and Northwestern.
He will be making his decision on Saturday.
Coming in to the Portland game this year, Ryan Harrow had been nothing short of bad.
He was not good in his brief appearance against Maryland. Of course he was sick, but still, he didn’t play very well. Then he left the team, and nobody was sure if he’d be back.
Well, he did come back, but he still wasn’t himself. In his first game back against Notre Dame, he wasn’t very good. Against Baylor, he wasn’t much better, but did make a couple of baskets at the end of the game.
Some thought he had turned the corner at that point, and was ready to get on a roll. Then the next game against Samford, he came out and only scored 2 and you had to start wondering if this was ever going to happen for Ryan Harrow.
Even Cal felt like we needed to try and get Archie ready to run point guard, seeing that Ryan was really struggling and it may never happen.
Then, against Portland, Harrow had a semi-breakout performance, scoring 8 points and dropping 6 assists for the game. That was the beginning, and it was just in time for Kentucky.
Since that game, Ryan Harrow has averaged 15 ppg, and 4.6 assists per game, including 4 straight games scoring in double figures and a season high 8 assists last night against Eastern Michigan.
Last night, Harrow talked about the bad habits he had before he came to Coach Cal. How he used to sleep until 5 minutes before tip of AAU games, and slept in the locker room at half time of games. Now, he’s turned it around. He’s found what he needed to change, and he’s made the change, and is playing extremely well.
And with the SEC schedule starting next week, the timing couldn’t be better for Kentucky.
Go Big Blue!