NEWSSTAND (6/28): Football recruiting, scouting Diallo, SEC hoops

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

Lots of football recruiting information and scoop to go along with big topics from top Rivals.com writers, more SEC basketball notebooks and a scouting report on Hamidou Diallo from the USA U19 team trials.

GO PREMIUM AT CATSILLUSTRATED.COM

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THE WAR ROOM!

The first round of Kentucky summer camps has passed and the next round is coming up in a couple of weeks.

Players are committing, others are narrowing their lists, still others are making plans.

We've got it all in this jam-packed edition of the War Room!

LINK: THE WAR ROOM! (6/27): Here's the most extensive, in-depth look at recent UK football recruiting happenings that you'll find online

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SCOUTING DIALLO

In terms of relevance to the 2017–18 college season, the most important thing developing at the U19s may be the relationship between the team's head coach, Kentucky's John Calipari, and Hamidou Diallo, the 6'5" shooting guard who enrolled as a freshman at UK in January and redshirted the spring semester. Diallo, who was Scout.com's No. 10 recruit in the Class of 2017, seems likely to become the Wildcats' highest-usage offensive player, and while he has elite athleticism for a college two-guard and an attack mentality, he'll require some refinement to be an efficient scorer as a freshman.

Diallo has more explosiveness but less offensive polish than recent Kentucky two-guards Malik Monk and Jamal Murray. Diallo's jump-shot mechanics have improved during his time in Lexington, but he's not a knockdown guy from the perimeter, and his aggressiveness—especially in transition during the U19 trials—resulted in more turnovers and forced shots than Calipari will probably tolerate in a college setting. Thus this summer gig is ideal for the Kentucky coach: He gets to spend three extra weeks shaping Diallo into the scoring guard the U19 team needs … which will better position him to be the scoring guard that Kentucky needs in '17–18. Diallo spent his first semester at UK playing on its scout team, emulating opposing wings such as North Carolina's Justin Jackson, but that wasn't a role conducive to significant development. "When a guy's not playing, you're on the taxi squad, and every day [I'm saying], 'You're the best,'" Calipari said of Diallo. "Now, I've gotta coach him."

LINK: Scouting Hamidou and others at the USA U19 team trials

FINDING NEW LIFE

When the buyer of the old Rupp Arena basketball goals purchased the well-used equipment last year from the Lexington Center, he said he really had only one worry.

“My concern was that if UK has a really bad season this year, they’re going to want their old units back,” said Dan Shaw, owner of Mountain States School Equipment in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

Getting them back would be a pretty big ordeal now, however, considering two of them are in the Philippines. Rupp’s third goal (one was a backup) is in a warehouse in Troy, N.Y.

LINK: Rupp Arena’s old basketball goals find new life in a land far, far away

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SEC SUMMER NOTEBOOK

Going into the 2017-18 season there's a big question hovering over the Arkansas basketball program: How will the Razorbacks replace players like Dusty Hannahs, Moses Kingsley and Manuale Watkins?

A fair question, no doubt. But don't forget that Mike Anderson returns a senior-laden team that will have plenty of experience once again.

LINK: Mike Anderson will have a senior-laden team (SEC Summer Notebook)

The SEC got all kinds of positive press for its tournament showing last year. The league has looked good on paper for the 2017-18 season for some time. But only in more recent weeks has Tennessee started to generate a lot of positive chatter.

The Vols can thank James Daniel III for that.

He's only 6-feet and he's only 175 pounds, but Daniel is expected to bring some offensive punch to a Vols lineup that instantly looks better with him in the mix.

LINK: Vols expect scoring boost from new guards (SEC Summer Notebook)

Culture change.

It's an overused cliche in sports and sports writing, but in the case of LSU basketball not too many people would probably argue that the Tiger program isn't in need of a different culture.

Johnny Jones wasn't the first to prove you can recruit elite basketball talent to Baton Rouge, but he did prove that lots of high-level talent can miss out on the NCAA tournament in a more resounding way than many others before him.

LINK: Will Wade eyes a culture change at LSU (SEC Summer Notebook)

Gone is J.J. Frazier.

The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 18.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game for Georgia last season, one year after averaging 16.9 points as a junior.

This week on the SEC teleconference, Georgia head coach Mark Fox made the case that Frazier's departure is an opportunity for younger players, but his absence will undoubtedly hurt.

LINK: UGA will lean on "centerpiece" Yante Maten (SEC Summer Notebook)

RIVALS ROUNDTABLE

Whenever he takes the floor, all eyes are usually on 2018's No. 2 player Zion Williamson. He's a social media sensation, mixtape king and a heck of a competitor to go along with being very talented. But, after missing much of the spring with an injury the pressure will be on Williamson to show up and prove that he has the type of skill that comes close to matching his mind-boggling explosiveness. Compounding this is that others such as Bol Bol, Cameron Reddish and Romeo Langford all have legitimate claims to that No. 2 spot – since as far as I'm concerned Marvin Bagley III is untouchable at No. 1 – and for that reason Williamson is really going to have to produce. (Read more)

LINK: Rivals basketball recruiting analysts look ahead to July live period

THREE-POINT STANCE

Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with a look at a busy week of big-time commitments, the teams that crushed it last week and a warning about reading too much into decommitments.

LINK: Big commits, teams that crushed it, decommits from Mike Farrell

Our weekly #TwitterTuesday file continues this week where you ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell questions via social media. Here are five questions we chose, including Farrell’s take on Oklahoma’s hot start under new head coach Lincoln Riley.

LINK: Twitter Tuesday: Lincoln Riley's start, Gamecocks, Mark Richt

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STARTING FIVE

Coached by John Calipari, USA Basketball's U19 squad was selected last week and will head to Egypt this week for the Fiba basketball World Cup, where they will begin play Saturday. The objective will be to win a gold medal, but there will almost assuredly be some side benefits for Calipari.

Though the majority of the roster is made up of college sophomores and freshmen -- including Kentucky players P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo -- a few notable five-star high schoolers did make the roster.

LINK: Team USA heading to Egypt; Coach Cal's recruiting edge (and other thoughts from Eric Bossi)

We are now just two weeks from the always vital July evaluation periods as we bring to light the class of 2018. In this week’s #TwitterTuesday, we answer questions from Twitter on the recruitment of top-50 center David McCormack, UCLA’s point guard dilemma and what’s in store at Washington.

LINK: Twitter Tuesday for basketball recruiting focuses on UCLA, Washington and Iowa State

HONOR ROLL

Student-athletes from all of Kentucky’s spring teams combined to earn a total of 92 spots on the Southeastern Conference Spring Academic Honor Roll, the league announced Monday.

UK had the fourth-most honorees in the conference. Kentucky placed a league-best 21 baseball players on the list. UK also placed in the top three in softball (12), women’s tennis (6) and women’s golf (7).

LINK: Kentucky places 92 on SEC spring honor roll

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