An early preview of SEC media days, the latest on the Xavier Peters saga, a detailed look at recruiting under Mark Stoops and lots of NBA news on former Cats ranging from Darius Miller to Rajon Rondo.
It's one of the biggest editions of the CatsIllustrated.com Newsstand yet.
MEDIA DAYS PREVIEW
Next week Mark Stoops and three of his players will show up to talk football and answer questions in Birmingham, Ala.
When the spotlight shifts to them, here's a preview of some of the questions they're likely to be asked and some of the topics that will probably arise.
Kentucky will be represented by junior safety and All-SEC candidate Mike Edwards, senior quarterback Stephen Johnson and senior linebacker Courtney Love.
Edwards has been regarded by Mark Stoops as one of UK's top players for a couple of years now and he's coming off a sophomore season that saw him earn some second and third team all-league postseason accolades. He was the SEC's leading tackler (100) among all defensive backs and had three interceptions on the season.
Johnson guided Kentucky to a 7-4 record as the primary quarterback or as a starter and his crowning achievement may have been besting eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson on the road in the biggest upset of the college football season.
Courtney Love is one of the SEC's top returning tacklers and has been regarded as one of the team's vocal and emotional leaders since transferring from Nebraska two years ago.
This is the second consecutive year for Love representing Kentucky in Birmingham. He was joined by Mark Stoops and then-seniors Jojo Kemp and Jon Toth last year.
MILLER IN NAWLINS
According to a report from David Pick, the Adrian Wojnarowski of basketball insiders in Europe, the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to bring back Darius Miller for a second look in the NBA. Miller played three seasons in New Orleans, although just five games in 2014-15, before heading to Europe to ply his trade for Brose Bamburg in Germany.
Returning to New Orleans also means reuniting with former Kentucky Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Miller played with Davis on the 2012 NCAA championship team, where he averaged close to 10 points per game, and played with Cousins during the 2009-2010 season as a sophomore.
James Young, another former Wildcat, will be playing for New Orleans in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Four-star Kentucky quarterback commitment Jarren Williams covered a range of topics when he spoke with CatsIllustrated.com shortly after returning home to Georgia from Beaverton, Oreg., where he had spent the better part of the last week participating in The Opening.
He covered a range of subjects, from his performance and experience in Oregon to Blue Smith's recruitment and Xavier Peters' uncertain status.
A source close to Kentucky's end of the equation was adamant that Peters will ultimately be signing with the Wildcats.
However, apparently not everyone close to Peters is 100-percent on board with his decision and a family member wants to make sure they're on the same page with him. We can report with confidence that it's that family member's interest in Peters' recruitment that has led to Peters' uncertain status.
Here's the difficulty: Is Peters committed to Kentucky or not? Absent any formal declaration of a decommitment he remains on the commitment list. However, in spite of that and a trusted source maintaining Peters will sign with Kentucky, it is clear that the involved family member has raised an issue that the Cats will need to satisfy to keep Peters on board... (read more)
HALF FULL, HALF EMPTY
We're saving our staff predictions for later when the season is a little closer, but today we're still taking a closer look at each game on Kentucky's schedule.
Here are reasons for hope and reasons for concern in every single Kentucky football game coming up in the 2017 season.
There's something for optimists and pessimists alike.
RONDO, KNICKS RUMORS
The Knicks reached out to Rajon Rondo but have yet to schedule a meeting with the former All-Star, a source told the Daily News.
Rondo is part of a dwindling group of free-agent point guards, and arguably the most accomplished. But at 31 years old, he’s long removed from his heyday in Boston.
The Knicks also were linked to Dion Waiters, but the two-guard has reportedly re-signed with the Miami Heat. Utah Jazz point guard Shelvin Mack is also reportedly on the Knicks’ radar. Waiters would have been a somewhat surprising move since the Knicks already have a starter at that position in Courtney Lee.
It's just the summer league, but Bam Adebayo has put on an impressive display through four games. Adebayo, drafted 14th overall by the Miami Heat, is averaging a double-double in the Orlando Summer League. He's scoring 19 points a game and collecting 10 rebounds.
Any questions about what Pat Riley dug up with Bam Adebayo as the 14th pick in the draft were answered quite succinctly on the very first day of the Orlando Summer League.
“He’s a beast,” said Okaro White, the only member of the Heat roster with NBA experience.
Over the ensuing days, Adebayo has roared, if not always shooting the ball with precision, by making his presence felt consistently with energy, confidence and a sense of where he’s going.
“He’s been impressive,” said one veteran scout for another NBA team who watched Adebayo’s 29-point, 11-rebound display on Monday against Detroit. “He’s extremely active on the offensive glass, very athletic. He can post up a little bit. He blocks a few shots. They are alley-ooping to him. His jumper is a little funny looking; it needs some more rotation. He’s not just going to be a defender; he’s going to be able to score.”
Following a run on summer commitments Kentucky still has plenty of scholarships available for Class of 2018 prospects, but how should (and how will) the coaches use them?
We break it down position-by-position.
For the second game in as many days, Kentucky freshman PJ Washington was a star for the USA Basketball Men’s U19 team.
Led by Washington’s game-high 20 points on Wednesday, USA (4-0) breezed past Mali, 117-69, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Cairo. It was the second consecutive game that Washington scored a game-high 20 points.
“I just felt like I had to be a little bit aggressive,” Washington said. “I felt like I could get by my man every time, so I just tried to do that and make plays for my team.”
KNOX THE QUARTERBACK
Kevin Knox Sr. doesn’t mind talking basketball when it comes to his son, Kevin Knox Jr. He’s one of the top incoming players for Kentucky coach John Calipari.
But he does a different type of talking with his longtime friend, Kentucky football recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow. He’s giving him Florida football recruiting tips.
“Vince is one of the best recruiters in the nation, but I can give him some insights and a few names to recruit around where we live (Tampa),” Knox said.
It wasn’t too long ago that Frank Mason and De’Aaron Fox were battling each other in primetime as the college basketball world watched to see whose team would prevail in a blue blood battle between Kansas and Kentucky.
The two dynamic point guards will now get to resume that clash behind the scenes — potentially for years to come — as teammates with the Sacramento Kings.
AD TO BOSTON?
The Boston Celtics took a giant step forward on Tuesday in their quest to become an NBA super team, but they are still one big trade away (Anthony Davis?) from truly being able to go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors.
The Davis to the Celtics rumors have been whispered about for a few months now with C’s TV play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman casually dropping Davis’ name during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich around the time of the NBA Draft Lottery. Gorman is tied in to the Celtics’ brass, and was the first one to mention that the Celtics weren’t head-over-heels in love with Markelle Fultz as the No. 1 overall pick. He clearly got some good intel there.