Several notable Wildcats are out of the country and traveling over the next week. Here are a few details on that in addition to a couple of other notes:
- Men's basketball head coach John Calipari is in the Dominican Republic as we speak for his introductory news conference as the new Dominican Republic national team coach. Calipari, in duties that are not expected to affect his role at Kentucky, will prepare and coach the Dominican Republic team in the Jenaro "Tuto" Marchand Continental Cup from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26 and the FIBA Americas Championship for Men/Olympic Qualifying Tournament from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11. Check out updates on Calipari's Twitter account.
- While Calipari is just a short plane ride over the Caribbean Sea, football head coach Joker Phillips, linebacker Danny Trevathan and offensive lineman Stuart Hines are across the Atlantic Ocean in Africa this week. In a continuation of sorts of the Gam3Day Ready Tour from last summer, the Gam3Day Ready staff is in Ethiopia to teach the game of football and do some community service.
- Speaking of Phillips, make sure you become a fan of his Facebook page for exclusive content. There are a lot of UK football and Phillips Facebook pages out there, but the page at the link is the official page of Phillips and the only one endorsed by UK's head coach. You'll want to check out the page for exclusive photos on the trip to Africa.
- If you thought Phillips was far away, UK men's basketball senior Eloy Vargas leaves Tuesday for the Far East. As a part of Reach USA, Vargas, alongside other collegiate players, will travel to Far East May 17 through May 31 to play nine total games against a Lithuanian club team and a Brazilian all-star squad. The release of Vargas' travels can be found here. What the release doesn't point out is this is a similar trip to the one Josh Harrellson and Jon Hood took a year ago. As we all know now, it was one of the seeds of growth for Harrellson and his sensational senior year.
- The lottery for the NBA Draft is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. A bucket full of pingpong balls will determine who picks where in this year's NBA Draft. With a couple of UK players expected to be taken early in the draft -- Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter -- you can expect they'll have a close eye on the lottery. Last year, the Washington Wizards' pingpong ball was surprisingly first, paving the way for the Wizards to select UK point guard John Wall with the top overall pick.
- Josh Harrellson isn't going to go in the lottery or anywhere near it, but David Aldridge of NBA.com believes Harrellson has a very good chance of getting selected and actually has him rated as the No. 3 center in the draft, one spot behind Kanter. Here is what Aldridge had to say about Harrellson:
He won't wow anyone with anything he does. But when you look at the box score at the end of the game, you see that he had an impact most nights. He uses his improved body to move opponents out of the way and gets his hands on a lot of loose balls for putbacks and second-shot opportunities.
Some scouts who saw Harrelson at Kentucky's Pro Day earlier this month (Kanter did not work out then) were impressed with his perimeter skills and believe he could ultimately be a pick-and-pop player. But he'll have to be drafted by the right team and be allowed to grow in a system that will take advantage of his skills. Like many players, he would benefit from going to a good team late in the first round -- with the guaranteed money that first-rounders get as a bonus -- and work on his game for a year or two instead of being drafted early in the second by a bad team where he'd be expected to contribute more immediately.
- Tuesday is your final chance to watch the UK baseball team in action when the Cats host Western Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. in the final home game of the season. Kentucky has been eliminated from the Southeastern Conference Tournament race, meaning this weekend at Florida will be it for the 2011 season.