NEWSSTAND (6/26): Debating Calipari, some higher on UK football than others

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

Discussion of John Calipari's approach to the NBA Draft, football recruiting news and Brent Musburger is high on Kentucky football in 2017 but not everyone agrees.

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STILL POLARIZING

At Kentucky, where the Wildcats under John Calipari readily embrace the one-and-done culture, players and the coach have likened NBA draft night to their “graduation.”

In a season when freshmen dominated the NBA draft as never before, it’s easy to draw that comparison.

But Calipari’s high-profile appearances at the NBA draft helps his own future as well. Given the high visibility that Calipari and his young draft picks get during the night, it’s easy to see that Kentucky has figured out how to use the NBA draft as a recruiting tool.

LINK: Kentucky’s John Calipari a huge success in draft, but not everyone likes his style

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STILL STANDING

St. Petersburg (Fla.) Admiral Farragut Academy offensive lineman Samuel Baker isn't ready to make his college decision.

But he was ready to cut his list this weekend.

LINK: Florida offensive tackle lists Kentucky among seven favorites

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RECRUITING NOTES

There has been some significant turnover at the receiver position in UK's 2018 class already, with a couple of decommitments, a recent commitment (Akeem Hayes), one player who has stuck around (Marvin Alexander) and a lot more that remains to be determined.

The best bet, from what we've heard, is that Kentucky lands Meechi Harris and Terez Traynor. The latter is likely to make a decision sometime around the middle of next month when he visits again right around the time of UK's next night camp, while Harris' timetable is less certain.

LINK: Football recruiting notes (6/25): Updates on top targets

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PERSONAL BEST

Kentucky track and field junior Kayelle Clarke claimed the Trinidad and Tobago silver medal, and the spot on her national team for the IAAF World Championships that goes along with it, by running a 200-meter personal best 22.94 in the semifinals and then 22.97 in the final on Saturday.

Clarke ran the third leg on Kentucky’s NCAA Champion 4x100m relay team earlier this month. She transferred to UK from New Mexico Junior College before this season.

At the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, UK volunteer assistant coach and Jordan athlete Kori Carter took bronze with a personal best in a historically fast 400m hurdles final. Kentucky signee and Olympian Sydney McLaughlin finished sixth, lowering her world under-20 (formerly known as junior) record to 53.82.

LINK: Clarke Makes T&T 200m Team, Historic 400H Concludes USATF Championships

ALL IN FUN

Since the Ball Family released Lonzo Ball‘s first shoe in the ZO2, there has been plenty of reactions on bottom ends of the spectrum stemming from the price of the product and the overall design.

In light of that, former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox recently took a playful jab at the design of Ball’s new shoes subtly stating during a recent pre-draft interview with former NBA player Brian Scalabrine for Slam Magazine that he has copied the look of Kobe Bryant‘s sneakers.

LINK: De'Aaron Fox playfully jeers Lonzo Ball for ripping off Kobe shoes

NOT EVERYONE'S SOLD

Not everyone's bullish on the Cats this year. From Saturday Down South ...

"It’s going to be hard for the Wildcats to scratch the surface of being bowl eligible, even though they’re coming off a seven-win regular season and have eight returning starters on offense and nine on defense. The schedule will pose an issue for fifth-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops. ..." (read more)

LINK: SDS says UK's bowl prospects are "iffy"

BUT ... MUSBURGER BELIEVES

“You can’t consider LSU a dark horse, so you can’t go there. I would go to Kentucky,” Musburger told SEC Country on Thursday. “A little bit of a sleeper. They’re going to win some big games under Mark Stoops.”

The legendary broadcaster, who hosts a show called My Guys in the Desert for the Vegas Stats & Information Network, is wild about the Wildcats after Kentucky finished 7-6 last season. It was the Wildcats’ best year under Stoops since the coach arrived before the 2013 season.

LINK: Musburger calls Kentucky the SEC's dark horse in 2017

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COUSINS' TRANSFORMATION

New Orleans Pelicans DeMarcus Cousins has been known to carry a bit of weight on his frame. He is currently listed at 6-foot-11 and 270 pounds.

It appears that last bit has significantly changed over the off-season.

Cousins has reportedly dropped quite a bit of weight during his off-season regimen, eating right and even hiring the personal trainer who made Julius Randle look so good in just a short amount of time for the Los Angeles Lakers.

LINK: Demarcus Cousins has dropped a ton of weight this offseason

Alvin Gentry sat down with Fletcher Mackel of WDSU Sports on Friday and answered several relevant questions. In addition to describing why New Orleans chased Frank Jackson in the 2017 NBA Draft and hoping Jrue Holiday’s offseason workouts at the Pelicans practice facility are a good sign, the head coach talked at length about DeMarcus Cousins.

“Do you like this term or dislike this term: Boogie is a point center, kind of like {Nikola} Jokic was in Denver for Coach Finch?” asked Fletcher.

“I think so,” responded Gentry. “He’s a tremendous passer, a very good three-point shooter. If we could take away the two bad ones that he shoots every game, he could probably get close to 40%. He shot 36%, and he is a tremendous passer. I think that our cutting and our easy baskets got a lot better when he got here.”

LINK: Gentry confirms point forward role for Cousins next season

DAVIS IN DEMAND

Now in the offseason, players are having more time to relax and sit back at home. While they’re at it, these players have also taken the opportunity to be more active on their social media accounts.

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has been doing just that, answering questions thrown at him on Twitter.

He was recently asked who he prefers to play for his team, if he had a chance to choose anybody from the league’s current stars. Lillard was honest to reveal quickly that it is New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, who he wants to see in a Blazers jersey for a long time.

LINK: Damian Lillard prefers Anthony Davis as long-term addition to Blazers

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