NEWSSTAND (7/5): Cats' big commitment; Recruiting mailbag; Washington stars

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

Kentucky football lands a big commitment from sought-after linebacker Xavier Peters and we've got analysis on that. Plus a lengthy (free) football recruiting mailbag.

We've also got more on Calipari's US team's latest win, which was largely powered by P.J. Washington.

Patrick Patterson gets a new deal with the Thunder and more on De'Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball.

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RECRUITING MAILBAG

The future of Kentucky's football program is looking pretty good.

Jarren Williams was impressive at The Opening, highly-touted and sought-after linebacker Xavier Peters committed to the Cats on July 4th, and UK's class is ranked in the top 15 nationally at Rivals.com.

In other words, it's a good time to answer some questions that have arisen recently.

LINK: Football recruiting mailbag answers all the big questions

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PETERS PICKS KENTUCKY

Kentucky and ace recruiter Vince Marrow pulled off a major recruiting victory today when prized Class of 2018 linebacker Xavier Peters picked the program, turning down many offers from nationally-prominent programs.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker is just the latest in an impressive line of Kentucky football commitments this summer.

LINK: Linebacker Xavier Peters commits to Kentucky

IMPACT ANALYSIS

You've been reading and hearing about linebacker Xavier Peters for many months ever since CatsIllustrated.com first mentioned him as a Kentucky target.

Now he's a Wildcat.

CatsIllustrated.com takes a look what it means from every angle, as we always do following a commitment.

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'P.J.'S A BEAST'

John Calipari's USA U19 team will head into the knockout stage undefeated and the champions of Pool D.

The Americans struggled early but cruised by Italy 98-65. P.J. Washington led the Americans with 20 points. It could have been a historic day for Washington if not for foul trouble in the first half. He had 11 points in the first quarter.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday's game.

LINK: T.J.'s Takes: USA finishes pool play 3-0

“PJ’s (Washington) a beast and I don’t know how you guard him,” admitted USA and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. “If he gets an angle by you, he’s tough to stop. And he made his free throws today. He’s playing the way we need him to play.”

Washington made eight-of-nine field goals en route to his 20 points, and while all 12 USA players posted point in the victory, Cameron Reddish (Westtown School/Norristown, Pa.) finished with 15 points and made three-of-four 3s and Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.)contributed 13 points and eight rebounds. Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.) contributed nine points and game-best 14 rebounds, and Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.) had a USA-high with six assists to go with five points.

LINK: "P.J. is a beast and I don't know how you guard him"

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PRESEASON RANKING

Whoever wins the job must provide more through the air. Though the Wildcats averaged 30 points per game and had one of the best rushing offenses in the SEC (234 yards per game), they were unbalanced. The passing game was completely inept in four SEC losses.

Johnson averaged just 7.7 yards per attempt and threw a modest 13 touchdowns in 265 attempts. However, he has the arm strength and can terrorize defenses with play-action passes.

LINK: Hero Sports ranks Kentucky No. 53 in top 100 college football countdown

PATTERSON'S DEAL

Free-agent forward Patrick Patterson has reached agreement on a three-year, $16.4 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, league sources told ESPN.

The deal includes a player option for the third year, league sources said. The Thunder used their full taxpayer midlevel exception on the agreement.

The commitment eliminates the Thunder from contention for free-agent forward Rudy Gay, who visited with the organization over the weekend. Gay is searching for a larger deal than the Thunder were able to pay him, with Miami, Utah, San Antonio and Brooklyn among the teams still interested in Gay, league sources said.

LINK: Patrick Patterson agrees to 3-year, $16.4 million deal with Thunder

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DEEPER THAN BASKETBALL

De’Aaron Fox saw the question coming a mile away.

Sitting in a director’s chair following the premiere of his SLAM/Spalding documentary “Without A Doubt Vol. 2“ on June 19, the former Kentucky Wildcat star was asked exactly what everyone on the second floor of the New York NBA Store wanted to know.

“How’d it feel to shut LaVar Ball up?”, a voice bellowed deep in the crowd.

Fox laughed, looked away and lowered his microphone for a moment. Suspense rose. The 19-year-old had just finished a whirlwind media tour which included appearances on First Take, SportsCenter, The Herd and other industry titans. Now he was at his own documentary premiere.

LINK: De'Aaron Fox says his friendship with Lonzo Ball is deeper than basketball

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