NEWSSTAND (7/12): Stoops' turn, hoops weekend, running back developments

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

Podcasting, round table talk and a whole lot more in today's CatsIllustrated.com Newsstand.

Questions for Mark Stoops to answer at SEC Media Days on Wednesday, more on UK's chances to win the SEC East, what Jon Toth is up to these days, a Bryant Koback update and things are heating up with a running back recruiting.

The Fox-Ball conversation is a raging national topic and can be the next great point guard rivalry. Notes on Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks. Basketball recruiting rankings, updates and a preview of Peach Jam and other events.

All that and more in today's edition!

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6-PERCENT?

There seems to be a pretty significant split when it comes to Kentucky this year in the world of public opinion.

While nobody's picking the Cats to finish in the SEC East cellar, there are those who consider the dark horse, and there are others (and an ESPN computer model) that consider Kentucky very much a long shot to make serious noise at the top of the division.

Here, the CatsIllustrated.com staff goes to the round table to talk about the FPI giving the Cats just a 6-percent chance to win the East. Is the number too low? About right?

LINK: Round table discussion of ESPN's FPI giving UK a 6-percent chance of winning the East

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PODCAST

With SEC Media Days here and the college football preseason approaching, CatsIllustrated.com is bringing you a regular podcast feature to help get you ready.

You can listen right here.

LINK: Podcast touches on UK-Tennessee, Cats' depth chart, recruiting notes, that 6-percent number and the formula for winning the East (or listen below)


UK'S NEXT RUNNING BACK?

Kentucky's drawn out search for a running back from the Class of 2018 continues, but developments with Kristian Pechac seem to be promising.

CatsIllustrated.com has the latest on the former Indiana commit.

Pechac ("pronounced like 'paycheck,'" he says tongue in cheek) had been committed to Indiana until earlier this summer. His father is the Director of Player Personnel for the Hoosiers, but Pechac opened up his recruitment and is now entertaining other options.

LINK: Is this Kentucky's running back from the Class of 2018?

GREAT RIVALRY

From The Ringer, the rivalry between De'Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball isn't an imagined thing. Well, it won't be for long. The two players are very different in so many respects that they could have the makings of the next great point guard rivalry.

LINK: De'Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball are different enough to be great rivals

No matter how many outlandish things he says or ridiculous predictions he makes, LaVar Ball won’t define son Lonzo’s NBA career.

De’Aaron Fox will.

The significance of the rivalry between the phenom rookie point guards has gotten lost in the Big Baller din these past few months. But the fun Fox had with Lonzo Ball’s absence for Monday’s Summer League game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers was a reminder that, just as they were in their brief college careers, the two will continue to be each other’s measuring stick.

LINK: De'Aaron Fox, not LaVar Ball's predictions, best measure of Lonzo Ball's NBA career

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SETTLING IN

In keeping with the development of #TheTimeline, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker recently purchased a home in a newer Paradise Valley subdivision. Booker’s purchase ensures that he will be a key piece of #TheTimeline for many years to come, and cannot and will not be dealt by the Suns under any circumstances.

LINK: Devin Booker buys $3.2 million Arizona home

MEDIA DAYS PRIMER

Mark Stoops' fifth appearance at SEC Media Days will take place Wednesday afternoon. Fresh off leading UK to its first winning season since 2010, Stoops should enter the Main Room at the Wynfrey Hotel with more confidence than he’s displayed in recent years. He'll be joined by quarterback Stephen Johnson, linebacker Courtney Love and safety Mike Edwards as representatives of UK.

Although the Wildcats got over the hump and reached the Taxslayer Bowl last season, several questions still face UK going into the 2017 season. Catsillustrated.com takes a look at five UK-related storylines facing Stoops at SEC Media Days.

LINK: SEC Media Days primer in advance of UK's Wednesday appearance

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BUSY WEEKEND

Kentucky's coaching staff is about to be busy. Or busier. In the last month head coach John Calipari (Egypt) and assistant Joel Justus (Argentina) traveled overseas. Calipari coached and Justus recruited, but both will be doing the latter starting tomorrow.

The big three tournament events start on Wednesday stretching from Atlanta, to North Augusta, S.C., to Spartangburg, S.C.

And all of UK's 2018 targets will be on display.

LINK: Previewing the very busy weekend of hoops recruiting that lies ahead

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BARRETT'S NUMBER ONE

The rankings for the class of 2019 have been updated and expanded to a top 125 with July’s three live evaluation periods kicking off this week. One thing that remains a constant is that R.J. Barrett tops the list.

Here are five storylines to watch with the latest rankings.

LINK: Calipari probably wouldn't argue with number one in the latest Class of 2019 hoops recruiting rankings from Rivals

RELATED: Rivals top 125 for 2019 | Rivals150 for 2018

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WATCH OUT

The Kentucky Wildcats still have one day of waiting before taking the stage at SEC Media Days, but that hasn’t stopped some of the team’s players from earning preseason praise.

Benny Snell and Jordan Jones were both named to prestigious awards on Monday. On Tuesday, junior tight end C.J. Conrad was the latest player to be considered as it was announced he was named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List for the third straight season. The award is given annually to the collegiate standout at the tight end position for the given season.

LINK: C.J. Conrad named to John Mackey Award watch list

Check out all of KSTV's content at their website here.

MORE NOTES ON FORMER CATS

...Is Patrick Patterson a better NBA player than Krstic? Yes.

Will Patrick Patterson be a more valuable signing than Krstic? Oh my goodness, if he is, the Thunder is in for a fabulous ride, because the day Krstic became a Thunder, the NBA fortunes in our city changed for the good.

LINK: Is Patrick Patterson the Thunder's most valuable free agent ever?

When Jodie Meeks came to an agreement with the Wizards initially, it was at the bi-annual exception to the salary cap, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com at the time. But that's not the case for an important reason now that they had to go into the luxury tax to retain Otto Porter.

Meeks' deal remains the same at two years for $7 million but it'll be slotted as the taxpayer mid-level exception instead.

LINK: Wizards will have to slot Jodie Meeks' contract differently to avoid hard cap

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KOBACK'S STATUS

Bryant Koback was on pace to shatter Ohio rushing records during his senior year at Springfield High School before he went down with a significant injury.

Here's the latest on what we're hearing from sources regarding his status.

Koback had rushed for roughly 1,100 yards in what amounted to about five quarters of action -- yes, you read that correctly -- before he broke his tibia and fibula on his second carry of his team's game against Southview last fall.

LINK: What we're hearing about Bryant Koback's status

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ONE-ON-ONE

Whether it’s playing chess, ping-pong, or his go-to sport, basketball, there are not many more competitive guys than Tyrese Maxey. Known for his advanced scoring abilities and outgoing personality, the top-25 junior touched on his transition to the point guard spot, his college recruitment, who he studies from the NBA level and what it would be like to be recruited by Kentucky.

LINK: One-on-one with 2019 guard Tyrese Maxey

NOT A FLUKE

“I think Mark Stoops should’ve been up for Coach of the Year last year,” former LSU All-American Marcus Spears told SEC Country on Tuesday. “He understands that development that I’ve been talking about. He understands trying to recruit, going into Ohio to get some of those kids to come to Kentucky so they can play in the SEC. This conference gives you an opportunity to recruit; a lot of players want to play in this conference. I think he understands that landscape.”

LINK: Last season wasn't a fluke for Kentucky, Marcus Spears says

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WHAT'S NEXT FOR TOTH?

Why me? Why now?

Those seem like fair, valid questions to ask for former Kentucky center Jon Toth, who was here on one of these Southeastern Conference Media Day stages surrounded by lights and cameras just a year ago.

Why me? Why now?

Invited to the NFL Combine, predicted to hear his name called in one of the later days of the draft, Toth instead found himself watching it while managing severe back pain.

LINK: UK’s Jon Toth was supposed to be in the NFL. He talks about what went wrong and what happens now.

MAKING THE CUT

After spending 10 days training with the 16-player U.S. Women’s Junior National Training Team, Kentucky volleyball players Gabby Curry and Leah Edmond made the cut for the 12-player squad that will represent the USA in the U20 World Championships in mid-July.

“It’s a tremendous honor for these two to represent the USA at the U20 World Championships,” Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner said. “They have elite talent and are great competitors. In May, Madison (Lilley) helped this team qualify in Costa Rica and now these two are going to Mexico. Kentucky fans everywhere should be proud of their Wildcats.”

LINK: Curry, Edmond make 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship Team


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